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Helpful Tips for Traveling and Living in Japan
Paying your bills in Japan
My first thought when first getting settled in Japan was "How am I going to pay bills if everything is in Japanese?" Don't worry. Depending on the company, you will typically have an assistant for support with this and your bills will most likely be able to be paid at the convenience store. Yes, you heard me right. You can pay most of your bills at the convenience store. All you have to do is go the convenience store and they will scan and stamp the bill for you. There's a button to press for you to confirm payment and that's it. Below is a sample bill and the source is an article on paying bills in Japan.
Sample bill in Japan
Getting your mail redelivered
If you get mail and need to have the delivery rescheduled, don't panic from all the Japanese on the slip. There's an automated number, just press the number for the right day and time and you're good to go. There will also be a number for an English line although I cannot access it with my current phone plan. There should be a slip of paper that looks like a receipt stapled to your delivery slip. The big number at the top is used on the Japanese Post website for re-delivery or for calling the line for re-delivery. My best recommendation would be to reschedule on the Japanese Post website here.
Sample Delivery notice
Tips for exploring the and getting settled in
As far as A/C goes, be prepared for a wall unit as central A/C is not common. You will probably have a fairly small apartment with no stove. Keep in mind the average size for an apartment in Japan is roughly 200 sq ft. However, you may get some furniture such as a coffee table and a TV. You can buy mattresses, and some places will come with beds, but your most economical option will be a futon. In my next article, I will talk about common chain stores in the area more in depth. For now, NAFCO is great for common household items; Trail is a 24/7 grocery store, think like a Japanese Walmart; and Best Denki is an electronics store.
My biggest difficulty in the beginning was getting around. The train isn't too bad as most of the signs are in English and Japanese. However, the bus schedules are all in Japanese. For anyone who is traveling to Japan for a visit, this website may help for getting around. I will also include a video further down to cover some basic verbal communication to help you get around.
If you are planning on living in Japan you may want to get a transportation card. Depending on the card it may not work for all methods of transportation but it will work for any buses in your area. I use the Nimoca card which works for most buses and trains in the Kitakyushu area. You can find out more about the Nimoca card here. The website is in Japanese, but if you are on a laptop you should get an option for google translate to translate the page for you. It has all information on where you can buy an use the card. For me it was 2000 yen to get the card or roughly $19 USD. 1500 yen goes on the card for transportation and 500 is to pay for the card itself. You can also use the card at some stores which can come in handy as many shops here do not accept credit or debit cards from my experience.
For anyone planning to live in Japan or just visit, here are some good words to know for getting around:
どこ- doko: Where
駅はどこですか:Eki wa doko desu ka- Where is the station?
バス Basu: bus
列車 Ressha: train
バス停-Basutei: Bus station
鉄道駅 Tetsudō-eki: Train station
往復-Ōfuku: round trip
フェリー Ferī: Ferry
地下鉄 Chikatetsu: Subway
That's all for today. Keep an eye out for my next article about what to expect in an apartment and some chain stores you will want to know about.
Matana ne- See you later!
The Train museum
Kyushu railway history museum
What's your favorite type of transportation? Let's hear a locals opinion
Your thoughts on transporation
What is your favorite method of transportation?
My opinion on transportation
Personally, the train is more convenient for further distances, but it can get expensive quickly. I take the bus to school because my closest train station is about 2 kilometers away. The Shinkansen/bullet train is great for longer distances, but it can sometimes be more expensive than flying, so I recommend looking up the price for both.