Tokyo Orientation is over! You've stepped off the airplane at Komatsu or Noto airport. What's next?
This is a helpful guide on what to expect from a Japanese apartment: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2207.html
If you are moving into an unfurnished apartment - fear not! There are inexpensive ways to fill it.
Ask your predecessor before coming to Japan whether or not you will have to pay Key Money (rēkin, 礼金). Key Money in Japan literally means "gratitude money" and is a one-off, non-refundable payment you have to pay your landlord on moving into an apartment. Usually it is the equivalent of 1-3 month's rent, but it can be as much as six (6) month's rent.
Sometimes your rent will be subsidized by the Board of Education (your employer) but it varies depending on your location.
Resident Card 在留カード, Zairyu Ka-doEdit
According to the new system of Residency Management in Japan, all foreign residents will be issued with Resident Cards. It is possible that you will recieve your card if you enter through Narita, Kansai, Haneda or Chubu airport. If there are issues in processing then your card should be sent to you within two weeks of your arrival in Japan. A Resident card is required for many activities in Japan such as purchasing a mobile phone or opening a bank account. You must also keep your Resident Card on you AT ALL TIMES while you are in Japan.The Resident Card (在留カード Zairyu card, handled by the central government via local immigration bureaus). Please note, like the older Alien Registration Card, the Resident Card must be carried with you at all times. The most recent information from CLAIR says that the Resident Card will feature the following: photograph, name, date of birth, gender, nationality, passport number, Residency Status, Period of Stay, expiration date of Resident Card, etc. This information will also be encoded onto an IC chip embedded in the card.
The card also acts as a re-entry permit.
If you have a valid passport, a valid Resident Card and leave Japan, in principle, you will no longer require a re-entry permit to re-enter Japan with the same Status of Residence as long as you re-enter within one year from departing and your Period of Stay does not expire while you are outside of Japan. Be sure to show your Resident Card when exiting Japan. Your Period of Stay cannot be extended while outside of Japan. Please note, the criteria for applying for the Pension Refund have not changed.
Further information can be found here: Residency Management System
Residence Record (Juminhyo) 住民票Edit
The Residence Record is part of a registry of current registered addresses kept by municipal governments. Under Japanese law, all citizens are required to report their address and related matters to their municipal government who then compiles the information for tax, insurance and census purposes.
New JETs arriving after 9 July, 2012 will be required to notify their municipal government of moving in (転入届, tennyu-todoke) within 14 days of arriving in Japan and will receive a Residence Record accordingly. One of the first things you will do on arrival in Ishikawa is apply for your card. Your supervisor will most likely take you to the Municipal Office to complete the application form.
There are cases in which you may be asked to provide your record as proof of residence. You can apply for these at most local councils in your area.
Health Insurance CardEdit
You should receive your National Health Insurance Card within a few weeks of arriving in Ishikawa. It is important to carry your National Health Insurance Card with you AT ALL TIMES as you will have to present it at a hospital or clinic should you require medical treatment. Insurance coverage may be refused if you are not carrying your insurance card.
For more information visit the Insurance section of this Wiki.
You will receive a blue Pension Book within a few weeks of your arrival. It is very important that you keep your Pension Book safe. After leaving Japan, JET participants are entitled to get a portion of the money back that they have paid into the pension plan while in Japan. This can be quite a significant sum of money, depending on how many years you stay in Japan.
For more information on claiming your pension refund, visit the Leaving Japan Section.
Shortly after arriving in Ishikawa, someone from your school or contracting organization should take you to set up a bank account so that you can be paid. Most likely you will not have a choice in which bank you may use as your contracting organization will choose the one through which they do most of its own banking (Most Ishikawa JETs use Hokkoku Bank [北國銀行]). However, you are free to open a separate account with another bank if you so wish.
Banks vs Post Office: Where to put your hard earned yen
For banking, some people swear by banks while others solely utilize the post office bank—Yūcho Bank (ゆ うちょ銀行). In bigger cities, there are more branch offices of a bank than post offices, while in other places the post office may be the only place to do your banking. In general, post offices offer slightly higher interest rates and offer a nation-wide banking system. Which service you use depends on your daily needs.
Banks in Japan offer little or no interest so most JETs send their extra money home or invest their money elsewhere. However Japanese bank accounts are handy for paying utilities, transferring money domestically and using the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine). Generally, banks are open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 15:00, and are closed on all public holidays and also over the New Year's holiday period.
Bank Branch Offices
Many banks in Japan are regional and do not have branches all over the country. However, you should be able to use your ATM card to withdrawal money from ATMs of other banks. These transactions will cost ¥100~¥300.
Many JETs use Hokkoku (北國 - the green bank), Hokuriku (北陸 - the red bank), or Noto-Shin (のとしん - the carrot bank) to do their banking because they have a large number of branches within the prefecture.
Opening an Account
For banks, there are two types of accounts:
- - Ordinary Deposit (futsū yokin, 普通預金) - Withdrawals and deposits available at any time in banking hours.
- - Fixed Term (tēki yokin, 定期預金) - Deposit term is fixed, no withdrawals or deposits until maturity. More interest than an Ordinary Deposit.
Other kinds of accounts are available at different banks. Personal checks are not common in Japan and have high service charges.
To open a bank account you require:
- - Identification (Residence Card, National Health Insurance Certificate or passport)
- - Hanko (also called inkan) - This is commonly used in place of a signature.
- For more information on banking and finance visit the Money Matters Section of the Wiki.
Mobile / CellphonesEdit
Once you are in possession of your Residence Card and your bank card you can buy a mobile phone / cellphone. The most common provider for JETs in Ishikawa is Softbank, although some JETs use AU or Docomo. The quality of coverage may vary depending on your location, so talk to other JETs in your area before making a choice.
If you choose to go with the Softbank White Plan, phone calls and text messages (SMS) are free to other Softbank users 01:00 - 21:00.
Prepaid phones are not common in Japan and it may be difficult to get one in Ishikawa.
This website provides useful information on how to get an NTT landline telephone connected:
Payphones (Kōshū denwa, 公衆電話)Edit
When using a public telephone, insert a ￥10 coin to get a dial tone. You do not have to dial the area code if it is a local number.
Magnetic telephone cards (terehon kado) may be used to make phone calls at public telephones. You can buy them at most convenience stores, department stores and sometimes vending machines.
Phoning Home / Making International CallsEdit
Purchase an international telephone card (kokusei terehon kado) from a convenience store or department store to make international calls.
- Dial the international dialing access code (010).
- Dial the country code of the country you are calling.
- If the number starts with a 0, drop the 0 and dial everything else.
You cannot make international calls from all public telephones. Please check to see whether 'International and Domestic Card Telephone' is written on a gold plate on green public telephones. You can also make calls on gray international public telephones.
Antigua and Barbuda
Trinidad & Tobago
This BBapply site provides an excellent guide that will talk you through all the steps required to get fixed-line internet in your apartment: http://www.bbapply.com/jet/index.html
Asahi Net is a major award-winning Internet provider in Japan that provides English signup and English customer service for their broadband mobile (pocket wifi and SIM card) as well as fiber-optic lines throughout Japan: http://asahi-net.jp/en/
You can also apply for internet with most of the major phone companies. In some case they will offer discounts if you purchase your mobile phone plan through the same company.
Depending on your location and how many schools you have to visit, getting a car in Ishikawa is something you may need to consider. Visit our Driving Section for more information.
In order to drive for your first 12 months in Japan you require a Driver's License from your home country and an International Driver's Permit (IDP). Apply for an IDP before you leave for Japan:
What to carry with you AT ALL TIMESEdit
- Your Residence Card
- Your passport (if you haven't yet received your Residence Card)
- Your National Health Insurance Card
- Your home country Driver's License and your International Driver's Permit (if you are driving)
This is taken from the JET Programme General Information Handbook 2010
- Get a job description of the ALT/CIR/SEA position in your Contracting Organisation and find out expectations concerning your job
- Review your terms & conditions
- Get examples and an explanation of your predecessor‘s work duties
- Ask for a seating plan/staff name list
- Make a list of who to see for what
Forms and Procedure
- Tax documents (read the tax section of this book)
- How to take overtime holidays (if applicable)
- Annual leave (nenkyu, 年休) 年休
- Sick leave (byōkyu, 病休)
- Attendance book (shukkinbo, 出勤簿)
- Business trips (shucchō, 出張)
- Procedures for entitlements and travel costs
- Schedule board (yotēhyō, 予定表)
- Application form for JET Programme Japanese Language Courses
- Get clarification of insurance policies
- Know how to make a claim
- Find out which doctors in the area accept your insurance
- Emergency Contact Numbers
- Supervisor (after-hours)
- Prefectural Advisor (PA)
- Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)03-5213-1729
- Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) (English only)03-5774-0992
- Inochino denwa (Japanese only) Tokyo 03-3264-4343 Osaka 06-6309-1121
- AJET Peer Support Group (PSG) 050-5534-5566
- Ambulance/Fire Department/Police
- Embassy/Consulate for your home country
Housing and Lifestyle
- Tennnyuutodoke (転入届) - Moving in Form: You must submit one within 15 days of your arrival in Japan.
- Have a personal seal (hanko [判子]/inkan [印鑑]) made; this will be used in place of your signature. It is possible to have more than one (e.g. one for the office, bank, etc.).
- Have business cards (meishi, 名刺) made. You may or may not want to include your home contact details.
- Register family members (dependents) for National Health Insurance System (seifu kanshō kenkō hoken, 政府管掌健康保険) if applicable.
- Find out where the nearest hospital is.
- Memorise your address in Japanese.
- Open a bank account and get a cash card. Learn how to use the ATM/bank machines. Ask if your salary can be deposited and bill payments withdrawn automatically.
- Get a phone line and a phone (read Section ―4. 3. Computer and Telephone).
- Prepare an emergency kit (in case of an earthquake, etc.)(read Section ―5. 3. Fires, Natural Disasters and Contact Information).
- Prepare for self-introductions, speeches, etc. (read Japanese for JETs, Lesson One).
- Get an explanation and clarification of deposit/key money for apartment..
- Find out garbage days and procedure (separation of garbage, recycling, etc.).
- Find out about public transport in your area.
- If you want to drive, find out about driving, driver‘s licence, shaken (vehicle inspection), types of car insurance, etc.
- Orientation of the neighbourhood: where to shop, eat, etc.
- Join a club/find an interest: martial arts, tea ceremony, calligraphy, cycling, mountain climbing (this is easiest to do when you have just arrived and provides a great way to get to know people in your area).
- In case of an emergency, please exchange home country/ family contact details with another JET participant near you.