Sending cash (and paying your dorm bill) with an ATM

11 November 2010

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Sending cash (and paying your dorm bill) with an ATM

The hitotsubashi international village dorms are really cheap (thanks to being subsidized), but you still have to pay about $150 per month. Here’s how I managed to do that. / / / /First, I’d get a monthly bill in my mailbox: / / / /The amount to pay is here: / / / / / […]

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Getting cash from the ATM

11 November 2010

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Getting cash from the ATM

Cash is important in Japan. You almost never use a credit card. / / / /Soon after I arrived, exchange students staying more than one semester were advised to open a Japanese bank account. (They gave detailed instructions about this.) But I only signed up for one semester, so I’ve been accessing my American bank […]

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McDonald’s Golf

11 November 2010

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McDonald’s Golf

While you’re in Japan, I encourage you to play a spirited game of McDonald’s Golf. You get one point every time you eat at McDonald’s, and just like golf, you want to have the lowest score possible. / / / / / / / /I think I’ve done pretty well, but sadly my score is […]

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Japan Time

11 November 2010

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Japan Time

Random tiny tips about time: / / / /Japan is all one time zone, and shares the same time zone as North and South Korea / / / /Japan is normally 14 hours ahead of my native Chicago. But there’s no such thing as daylight savings time in Japan, so recently Chicago just dropped back […]

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What to do if you lose your bike key

10 November 2010

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What to do if you lose your bike key

In Japan, your bike is very important. So don’t lose your bike key, ok? / / / / / / / /First off, you should have a spare key someplace. They usually give you two or three keys when you buy the bike. I had two keys. But then I lost one, and then I […]

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Alien Registration Card

4 November 2010

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Alien Registration Card

If you’re in Japan on a non-tourist visa, you need an Alien Registration Card. (If you’re an actual sci-fi alien in Japan, please come visit me before I head back to America.) You have to get one with 14 days of arriving, and if you ever change addresses you need to get it updated within […]

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Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor

4 November 2010

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Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor

If you plan to be in Japan for more than a couple of months, I strongly suggest you sign up for the national health insurance plan. / / / /Like most government-sponsored health plans in the world, this one puts the United States to shame. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s effective. (And yes, I’ve […]

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Conbini (convenience store)

4 November 2010

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Conbini (convenience store)

“Conbini” is the Japanese word for “convenience store”. Conbinis are all over the place. One popular chain is Lawson. / / / /Here’s a brief tour: / / / / / / / /Conbinis often have a couple things that American convenience stores don’t. Namely: / / / / If you buy something online, you […]

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Odd Thing #13: A place for pets

3 November 2010

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Odd Thing #13: A place for pets

Sometimes, near a row of trash cans, you’ll see something like this: / / / / But despite appearances, this is not a convenient place to stash your dog, cat or parakeet. / /”Pet” in this case derives from “petroleum”, as in oil, which is the main ingredient in standard plastic bottles. So “pet” means […]

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Noodle Shop

31 October 2010

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Noodle Shop

Ah, the noodle shop. Classic Japan. / / / /First, you need to find a shop. They’re all over, especially near the train stations. / / / /Japanese food places are often denoted by these big lamp-things (chyouchin), as well as this sort of short curtain-thing by your head (I’m still not sure what it’s […]

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