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uthinkimlost?
March 12th, 2014, 08:35
So I just found out today that I was selected for early departure and will be leaving April 8th. Apparently I'm going to be located way down in Nagasaki Prefecture. I was wondering if we could start a thread about what advice people had on packing.

That isn't a bad idea, but it is pretty simple:
-Don't pack things you can buy cheaply/easily here. Pretty much everything you need for daily life can be bought here easily. Bring what you need to survive for a couple of weeks.
-Do bring a good towel. (You can buy good ones here, but they are not particularly cheap.)
-If you are a man and wear a size XL or above, pack as many dress clothes as you can get in there. Same if you are a woman over size M/L. Options will be limited.
-Bring small things from home you'll miss. Comfort food, a favorite book... Whatever you can use as a security blanket.
-An ereader is a good idea, if you like books. Otherwise you will be at the mercy of the bookshop's English section and the ALT book swap.
-Omiyage is completely optional. I brought it, lots of other people did, but by no means is it expected. If you do bring it, something small is best.
-If you are from the US or Canada, most of your electronics will be okay without an adapter, unless they have a three-prong plug. A couple of adapters for those are a good idea.
-Do bring portable electronics.
-I personally wouldn't bring a desktop, since you can build a new one here for a reasonable cost.
-Do rip your favorite TV series and movies and place them on a hard drive.
-Don't bring uncensored porn. (Apparently this was an issue a few years ago?)
-In the end, just think about what it takes for you to get through the day. If you think you need something specific, ask us and we'll tell you whether or not it is available or if you should bring it.

Gizmotech
March 12th, 2014, 08:57
I like UTILs list, but I'll warn you that there aren't many ALT book swaps anymore. Most of us in my prefecture have some sort of e-reader device now. Hell, I used to buy books from amazon.jp until I got my iPad and haven't purchased a hard copy of anything since then (that was 2 years ago).

johnny
March 12th, 2014, 09:05
That's a good list.

The point of bringing a ereader and some movies and tv shows is a good one. It's hard to know what your situation is, but you might be without the internet for as much as a month (though it will usually takes less if your supervisor is willing to help you), so know that having that entertainment will be really nice.

The towel is a good idea too. Seiyu department stores do carry proper towels if you end up being near one, but I haven't seen another department store carry good ones.

I would add that it will get hot not too long after you arrive. A pair of shorts for your off-work time will be a must. You'll also likely be able to wear short-sleeve collared shirts at work, so be sure to have those.

Keep in mind that you only need to bring these if you're a bigger guy. Smaller and thinner fits are widely available here.

Uniqlo does carry larger sizes though.

Also bring a phrase book. It will be handy if your Japanese level is low.

As for toiletries, deodourant brands available here are limited and weaker. If you have something you like, bring it.

If you like toothpaste with fluoride, bring it.

Also, maybe the most important of all, if you have big feet, bring your shoes for the year.

I'll post more if I think of it.


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johnny
March 12th, 2014, 09:07
I like UTILs list, but I'll warn you that there aren't many ALT book swaps anymore. Most of us in my prefecture have some sort of e-reader device now. Hell, I used to buy books from amazon.jp until I got my iPad and haven't purchased a hard copy of anything since then (that was 2 years ago).

The only hard copy books I've bought have been Japanese history books unavailable on Kobo. The selection is great though.


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therealwindycity
March 12th, 2014, 09:20
Stock up on deodorant. That's the only daily life item I haven't been able to find here. If you're the type to use stickers or stamps, it might be good to bring some that represent your home area, but otherwise I wouldn't bother bringing a lot of stuff for the kids. If you bring stuff for coworkers and acquaintances, edible things are probably best.

I second the ereader advice - they're also great for studying Japanese. Kindles come with a built-in dictionary and the kindle store selection in Japanese is steadily growing

Ini
March 12th, 2014, 09:22
your pred will be able to tell you what clothes to bring as they will know the dress code at your school. No point bringing 5 suits if you are mainly at ES and will be in a tracksuit 95% of the time but you dont want to turn up with only the ill fitting suit your wore to your grandmothers funeral 3 years ago if you are at an academic SHS.

a phrase book? this was good advice in 1989 but these days I'd just get an app for your phone.

johnny
March 12th, 2014, 09:28
The phrase book isn't that useful once you're have your smart phone, but mine was really helpful for the first two weeks before I got my phone. It was more than worth the 15 dollars.

The Lonely Planet book also gave a good introduction to Japanese grammar. It was done better than the stupid Clair books.


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Ini
March 12th, 2014, 09:32
bring your current phone but disable the data connection. it'll be useful to have a dictionary, phrasebook, currency convertor etc. use wifi to load up google maps so you dont get horribly lost when you leave the hotel. Turning up in a foreign country with no smartphone? are you amish?

Jiggit
March 12th, 2014, 09:35
Be warned it is entirely possible that your predecessor lived in Japan for a few years and been completely oblivious of their own strange behaviour.

Mine told me that I should give gifts to the principal, VPs and JTEs. That is not how "omiyage" works. If you bring something, bring some kind of sweet or snack that is individually wrapped and leave it in the staffroom so that everyone can try it. Be warned that if you do bring anything you'll have to listen to the chuntering chorus of "gaikoku food is too sweet sasuga" because apparently Japanese polite omotenashi doesn't extend to accepting gifts graciously and not shit-talking your ALTs culture.

Wizzle86
March 12th, 2014, 09:50
I remember this was a huge question in my mind when getting ready to leave for Japan... There wasn't much available on advice on HOW to pack, so during my first couple years on the JET Program I made Video Blogs about the entire JET Process from applying all the way till... well... all the way till I ended up not updating my blog and videos anymore. haha

Anywho, I'm not sure how much this will help, but I made a Video Blog about HOW I packed for my trip to Japan. Packing rules could have changed and I wouldn't know much about that as it has been 4 years since I made the video, but if this helps you in any way feel free to take a look at the video. It might give you some tips on HOW to pack all the stuff that people are recommending above!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRglPHI3-WQ

P.S. This is my first post on ITIL

word
March 12th, 2014, 09:55
Hmm yeah, most folks here have already covered the essentials. I would second deodorant, towels, and especially shoes. OMG shoes. If you wear anything larger than a men's US size 10 or so, bring shoes. Ideally, bring a couple of pairs of shoes that can be slipped on with relative ease (regular laced shoes will work if you loosen the laces just right).

Antonath
March 12th, 2014, 10:05
I will add my voice to those saying deodorant. Specifically, anti-perspirant deodorant. There are plenty of things that will help you smell ok (or at least not smell of sweat. Describing Axe as "smelling ok" seems wrong), but there is next to nothing that will actually stop you sweating.

Wizzle86
March 12th, 2014, 10:07
"Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady"
- Old Spice Man

coop52
March 12th, 2014, 10:37
Ladies should probably bring bras, especially if they're bigger than a B cup. Japanese bras tend to have a shitton of padding and frills and lacy bits. Also, you should bring pants if you have any sort of hip/ass at all or are taller than 5'4".

As for other lady needs, Japan does have menstrual products, just a smaller selection. Most women here use pads. Tampons are available, but there aren't many brands. Bring some if you're attached to a particular brand for some reason, but Japanese period stuff works fine.

Birth control is widely available, but you might want to check if you need a particular brand.

Japan has a lot of Western makeup brands, but they're more expensive and come in limited colors compared to back home. You can find hair and skin care brands like Biore, Pantene, and Dove here, but they might be a little different.

Like a lot of people have said, the only product I have had trouble finding here is decent deodorant. Almost everything else can at least be found on Amazon, Rakuten, or Foreign Buyers Club.

johnny
March 12th, 2014, 13:32
Be warned it is entirely possible that your predecessor lived in Japan for a few years and been completely oblivious of their own strange behaviour.

Mine told me that I should give gifts to the principal, VPs and JTEs. That is not how "omiyage" works. If you bring something, bring some kind of sweet or snack that is individually wrapped and leave it in the staffroom so that everyone can try it. Be warned that if you do bring anything you'll have to listen to the chuntering chorus of "gaikoku food is too sweet sasuga" because apparently Japanese polite omotenashi doesn't extend to accepting gifts graciously and not shit-talking your ALTs culture.

Good call. I do something similar with omiyage. I buy a box of chocolates/treats for each JTE and they share it with all the other teachers for their grade. It works pretty well.

I'm happy to say that I've never had my JTEs trash my gifts.


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Ini
March 12th, 2014, 13:36
Sounds like a lot of fannying around. I just chuck a box of whatever I picked up from the motorway service area at the secretary and tell here to put it with the rest of the crap.

MJN
March 13th, 2014, 13:16
-Don't bring uncensored porn. (Apparently this was an issue a few years ago?)

You mean my suspicious 4TB Hard drive that only appears as 1TB will be problematic if customs wants a look?

Jiggit
March 13th, 2014, 13:24
That's surprising. I know a lot of Japanese porn is actually uncensored and it seems all they have to do is be a company registered in the US. Oh I guess it has to do with import tax and such?

word
March 13th, 2014, 13:35
You mean my suspicious 4TB Hard drive that only appears as 1TB will be problematic if customs wants a look?
Realistically speaking, I can't imagine a Japanese customs official either noticing or giving a crap about this. If you're going into the US, though...

uthinkimlost?
March 13th, 2014, 13:56
The legend I heard was actual physical pornography, as in he brought a bunch of penthouses and dvds, so it actually showed up when they opend his suitcase.

I don't think they'll search HDs, but I think customs in the US and a lot of Southeast Asian countries reserve the right to do so. I could be mistaken, I haven't been to Thailand for... a thing..

Jiggit
March 13th, 2014, 14:02
That's what I assumed, chances of HD being searched is really low. It's kind of surprising the customs at Narita don't interrogate/search more people given how little they have to do.

Antonath
March 13th, 2014, 14:04
That's what I assumed, chances of HD being searched is really low. It's kind of surprising the customs at Narita don't interrogate/search more people given how little they have to do.
This, of course, is the reason they don't search more people. Why make work for themselves?

Kdes23
March 14th, 2014, 13:34
Things I'm glad I brought:

- Pain killers
- My favorite tooth paste
- My favorite shower gel
- My favorite deodorant
- Sun screen
- Glasses (If you're not Asian or you don't have a flat nose, definitely get your glasses back home)
- Credit Card (People say you don't new them because Japan is cash based. When it comes to ordering stuff online though, it's useful. Getting a Japanese CC is near impossible and/or a pain in the ass for a foreigner)

Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 13:39
- Glasses (If you're not Asian or you don't have a flat nose, definitely get your glasses back home)


?????? how big is your nose?

johnny
March 14th, 2014, 13:43
Things I'm glad I brought:
- Credit Card (People say you don't new them because Japan is cash based. When it comes to ordering stuff online though, it's useful. Getting a Japanese CC is near impossible and/or a pain in the ass for a foreigner)

Totally dude, there are many products you can't buy on Amazon JP (e.g. Coffee and booze) unless you have a credit card. Also electronics stores and furniture stores will accept credit cards.


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Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 13:47
Totally dude, there are many products you can't buy on Amazon JP (e.g. Coffee and booze) unless you have a credit card.

???????
you can buy coffee on amazon without a credit card

johnny
March 14th, 2014, 13:50
???????
you can buy coffee on amazon without a credit card

Every time I order Starbucks on Amazon it says I cannot use the POD option. Do you order Starbucks coffee?


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word
March 14th, 2014, 13:52
- Pain killersCareful with this one. Some medications are illegal in Japan. Wouldn't wanna have an unpleasant incident at Customs...


- Credit Card (People say you don't new them because Japan is cash based. When it comes to ordering stuff online though, it's useful. Getting a Japanese CC is near impossible and/or a pain in the ass for a foreigner)

People say this, but I found it remarkably easy to get a Japanese credit card; in fact, I got one on my first try. Come to think about it, I really ought to get a second one (I need another ETC card).

Also, you can always use a debit card; I use my USAA one here sometimes. However, using a credit card or debit card based in a foreign currency is almost always a bad idea because you're taking an exchange hit twice.

Kdes23
March 14th, 2014, 13:59
?????? how big is your nose?

How flat is yours?

word
March 14th, 2014, 14:14
?????? how big is your nose?


How flat is yours?

http://img78.imageshack.us/img78/4721/textbook42lr.jpg ?

Kdes23
March 14th, 2014, 14:28
There couldnt be a more perfect picture to describe what's going on here.

Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 14:43
I have no idea what POD is apart from a crappy nu-metal band. I've not found much on amazon you cant buy with either COD, convenience store payment or bank transfer.

my nose is about the same size as any normal big nosed foreigner and I have no trouble getting japanese glasses. I guess Weinstein over here must be blessed with the nose of gods chosen people.

johnny
March 14th, 2014, 14:47
I meant COD. Anyway, the only option Amazon gives me for purchasing Starbucks coffee beans is credit card.


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Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 14:50
so you are buying them from amazon marketplace then.

Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 14:53
just checked, theres hundreds of sellers of starbucks coffee beans on amazon that accept convenience store payment. Maybe you should learn how to use amazon before you start ranting like a crazy person?

johnny
March 14th, 2014, 20:14
I knew enough to get my coffee beans.


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Azrael
March 14th, 2014, 20:45
so you struggled through not really knowing what you were doing, managed to half arse a solution you weren't really happy with then came on the internet and professed to be an expert on the issue? So pretty much like every JET on here in relation to every aspect of life in Japan?

mothy
March 14th, 2014, 21:54
- Glasses (If you're not Asian or you don't have a flat nose, definitely get your glasses back home)

Whaddafuk?


Every time I order Starbucks on Amazon it says I cannot use the POD option. Do you order Starbucks coffee?

Whaddafuk?

johnny
March 15th, 2014, 19:39
so you struggled through not really knowing what you were doing, managed to half arse a solution you weren't really happy with then came on the internet and professed to be an expert on the issue? So pretty much like every JET on here in relation to every aspect of life in Japan?

I don't recall either claiming to be an expert or saying I was displeased with my solution.




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project_4
March 16th, 2014, 18:47
Birth control is widely available, but you might want to check if you need a particular brand.


I was denied twice at the gynaecologist's. Didn't matter that I had a full pelvic exam done (asked the first time), and that I checked out fine (asked a second time) -- I didn't have a serious medical problem that would warrant such a powerful, risky drug, I was told, and so I was denied. I had already paid 3500Y, was made to further waste money on unrelated meds, visited a reputable women's clinic with female gynaecologists (as was my preference), and didn't want more poking and prodding at other clinics by men so I just gave up. It's better to get your yakkan shoumei sorted out at home before coming, in my opinion.

AVN
March 16th, 2014, 20:13
I was denied twice at the gynaecologist's. Didn't matter that I had a full pelvic exam done (asked the first time), and that I checked out fine (asked a second time) -- I didn't have a serious medical problem that would warrant such a powerful, risky drug, I was told, and so I was denied. I had already paid 3500Y, was made to further waste money on unrelated meds, visited a reputable women's clinic with female gynaecologists (as was my preference), and didn't want more poking and prodding at other clinics by men so I just gave up. It's better to get your yakkan shoumei sorted out at home before coming, in my opinion.
You should bring some with you and be prepared to shop around. I never tried when I was in the inaka, but I know many who drove to the nearest (but not too near) big city, visited a recommended/foreign friendly clinic (yay google). You may have to go to a couple different clinics, or even travel a fair distance, but I know many who were successful. I also know many who had bad experiences.
There are two things you will need to keep in mine. If you need the pills for health reasons, you will need to visit the clinic every month, and only be able to get one month at a time. It will be covered by insurance. If you are taking the pills for other purposes, you will not need to visit more than a few times a year for a physical, and you will be able to get (usually) three months at a time. It will not be covered by insurance, but shouldn't cost much more than under insurance with check ups included. Also depending on the policy of the clinic you may not even need to meet with the doctor when you pick up a refill.

sharpinthefang
April 3rd, 2014, 06:08
If your home country offers the implant (In the UK its medical name is Nexiplan, but slang for it is 'the rod' 'the implant' or 'the stick', go for it. It lasts for 3 years, that chances of pregnancy are less than 1/10,000, and you have a 30% chance of not having a period at all in those 3 years. Most of my housemates are on for 3 days a year, although they don't get any warning of when it will happen.
If you are being accepted now, then have it implanted NOW, as it takes about 2/3 months to settle into your system.

Sarenka
April 5th, 2014, 08:08
If your home country offers the implant (In the UK its medical name is Nexiplan, but slang for it is 'the rod' 'the implant' or 'the stick', go for it. It lasts for 3 years, that chances of pregnancy are less than 1/10,000, and you have a 30% chance of not having a period at all in those 3 years. Most of my housemates are on for 3 days a year, although they don't get any warning of when it will happen.
If you are being accepted now, then have it implanted NOW, as it takes about 2/3 months to settle into your system.

Interesting. We don't have "the rod" here in Canada. I opted for an IUD because my body can't tolerate birth control pills anyway. Also takes a few months to settle, and it's good for 5 years (copper) or
10 years (hormonal).

sharpinthefang
April 5th, 2014, 08:29
Interesting. We don't have "the rod" here in Canada. I opted for an IUD because my body can't tolerate birth control pills anyway. Also takes a few months to settle, and it's good for 5 years (copper) or
10 years (hormonal).
I wish mine lasted for 10 years, would only need 3, instead of 10 of them through my life.

Sarenka
April 5th, 2014, 09:23
I wish mine lasted for 10 years, would only need 3, instead of 10 of them through my life.

Yea they're tricky little buggers. Could just up and fall out in the first couple months. Not really cheap enough to be refitting them every few months...

sharpinthefang
April 5th, 2014, 09:28
Yea they're tricky little buggers. Could just up and fall out in the first couple months. Not really cheap enough to be refitting them every few months...
Oh, the implant is a sub-dermal little cylinder that sits under the skin on the upper section of your non-dominant arm. Theres no chance of it falling out, however when your three years are up, you have to have it sliced out of you arm (but its only about 2cm long, so its a small cut)

Sarenka
April 5th, 2014, 21:10
Oh, the implant is a sub-dermal little cylinder that sits under the skin on the upper section of your non-dominant arm. Theres no chance of it falling out, however when your three years are up, you have to have it sliced out of you arm (but its only about 2cm long, so its a small cut)

Oh whoops mine was in reference to the IUD haha, bit of a mix up in my understanding I think. Even if we did have the implant here in Canada, I wouldn't get it. I went through too much awful stuff after being on the pill for two years; no more hormonal stuff for me...

greyjoy
April 6th, 2014, 11:54
Any opinions on bringing over gaming systems?

Shelia
April 6th, 2014, 12:09
I'm considering bringing my PS3 because the new Tales of game is being released later in the year.

Bi-Kun
April 6th, 2014, 12:15
Any opinions on bringing over gaming systems?

I'm really curious about this as well. Was thinking of getting a 360 to play with my brother while I'm away to keep in touch and stuff. From seeing him play certain games (mostly FPS) that showed active players, there were always a solid representation shown on the map from Japan. Just not sure if I should be one in the states or over there...

miamicoordinator
April 6th, 2014, 12:25
Any opinions on bringing over gaming systems?

Everyone be careful with region locked games. I know that with Nintendo3DS, the games you buy in Japan can only be played on a Japanese region 3DS. I am unsure on 360, or Ps3/4. I am sure some of the JETs there now can answer this better.

johnny
April 6th, 2014, 12:35
PS3's are not region locked. I bought my PS3 here in Japan at a recycle shop, and all of my games from Canada work just fine on it. I have been told there are some region locked games (though seen no evidence of it). If they do exist, they are pretty rare.

I'm not sure about the 360 or X-Box 1.

uthinkimlost?
April 6th, 2014, 13:48
PS3's are not region locked. I bought my PS3 here in Japan at a recycle shop, and all of my games from Canada work just fine on it. I have been told there are some region locked games (though seen no evidence of it). If they do exist, they are pretty rare.

I'm not sure about the 360 or X-Box 1.

On the 360 companies could choose whether or not to region lock. Maybe 60% of games are unlocked, I think.

Gizmotech
April 6th, 2014, 14:52
PS3's are not region locked. I bought my PS3 here in Japan at a recycle shop, and all of my games from Canada work just fine on it. I have been told there are some region locked games (though seen no evidence of it). If they do exist, they are pretty rare.

I'm not sure about the 360 or X-Box 1.

They do exist, and I think there are a grand total of 2.

flapjack21
April 6th, 2014, 15:29
I really don't know how people are able to pack any consoles in their luggage. If you have that much space, couldn't it be filled with something better? The 360, Xbone, PS3/4 all are heavy. If anything just bring over a handheld, you can probably find and pick up a console in Japan when you arrive. I only say this because I am currently packing and am having to remove things because my luggage is overweight. Sure two check-in bags plus a carry-on may seem like a lot of space but when you cram everything in, there isn't a whole lot of space left. If you do have the space kudos to you.

RancidBadger
April 6th, 2014, 20:17
What is the luggage allowance? I haven't had a chance to look yet (I am a UK short-lister as well, so it may differ).

I was tempted to bring a console over, but I will likely sell mine before I go, and take my 3DS or Vita.

Failing that, I may just pick up a cheap 3DS in Japan. That way I won't need to import games from home.

AVN
April 6th, 2014, 20:20
Check the airline's website. Should be there.

Antonath
April 6th, 2014, 20:50
You usually get the basic allowance for the airline you fly out with. For the UK, that will likely be one 23kg suitcase and one item of hand luggage.

greyjoy
April 7th, 2014, 00:27
The weight issue is really one of the main reasons why I was curious. Those of you who bought used systems there, about how much did they cost?

johnny
April 7th, 2014, 02:32
The weight issue is really one of the main reasons why I was curious. Those of you who bought used systems there, about how much did they cost?

Gosh, I'm pretty sure it was comfortably under 20,000 円 for my PS3. A used PS3 would almost definitely be even less than now that the PS4 has been released in Japan.

So if you have a PS3, I recommend you bring the games and leave the system. As others have stated, your games should work just fine. The PS4 is not that much cheaper used as compared to new. My local repair shop is selling them for 40,000 円.

As for the 360, I honestly don't know what they cost used.

Moso
April 7th, 2014, 03:18
One thing I regretted taking to Japan for my study abroad was a hairdryer. Such a waste of suitcase space and it did NOT work. They're cheap enough in Japan so don't bring one!

TomOmnomnom
April 7th, 2014, 04:21
Who does JET usually fly with? Obviously we don't know where we'll be placed yet but I'd quite like to bring my skis with me if I get my requested placement! From past experience, does anyone know if we can pay for extra luggage? -and 23kg doesn't seem an awful lot considering how long we'll be out there for?

miamicoordinator
April 7th, 2014, 04:45
Who does JET usually fly with? Obviously we don't know where we'll be placed yet but I'd quite like to bring my skis with me if I get my requested placement! From past experience, does anyone know if we can pay for extra luggage? -and 23kg doesn't seem an awful lot considering how long we'll be out there for?

The airlines change year to year. What happens is every year, travel agencies in Japan put in bids for taking care of JET participants. Whoever gets the best bid, is the travel agency who is in charge for the year. Last year, it was Kintetsu, and Miami flew with American Airlines. This year NTA is in charge, and we do not have the flight itineraries yet.

Each airline has different luggage and weight restrictions, as well as extra luggage rules/prices. Its best to try and fit the essentials in one large suit case, and your carry on. That is all that is allowed at Tokyo Orientation. Any extra baggage will have to be shipped to your Contracting Organization at your expense from the airport/hotel. Its best to ship all your winter clothes(since they take up so much space) by boat to arrive sometime in October. No use taking it in August.

Antonath
April 7th, 2014, 08:42
I'd quite like to bring my skis with me if I get my requested placement! From past experience, does anyone know if we can pay for extra luggage? -and 23kg doesn't seem an awful lot considering how long we'll be out there for?
Bringing your skis is a very bad idea. You'll have extra hassle at check-in and arrival, when the staff already have 100+ JETs to deal with. You'll either have to ship them from the airport to your placement (probably without an address to send them to) or take them to Tokyo Orientation (which will cause even more hassle and make you look like a complete dick).

As MiamiCoordinator said, ship winter things like clothing and skis out separately. Even if your parents sent them after you arrive in Japan (and have an address to ship them to), they'll still arrive in time for winter. Do this, and 23kg is fairly easy to handle. Personally, I found it was the volume that caused issues, not the weight.

webstaa
April 7th, 2014, 08:50
I agree with Antonath - ship it later. It should be cheaper too. At least one JET in my group brought a bike (boxed up of course) and hauling it through Narita with his other luggage was a royal pain, as he needed two carts to move his luggage and the bike. Everything else worked like a well-oiled machine.

greyjoy
April 7th, 2014, 11:48
I'm afraid of turning this thread into a giant laundry list of "should I bring this", but I'm really trying to pare down a decade worth of accumulated crap to essentials to keep in the states, and what I can bring with me. Moso, you said you shouldn't have brought your hairdryer, would that probably be the same for any basic household appliance? I was thinking of buying a travel steamer, but I think I read somewhere else here or at another forum that things like irons don't work at Japanese voltage.

Also, how about batteries? I've got a bunch of AAs and AAAs around. Bring them or give them away?

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 11:51
Batteries are the same in Japan and easily available...

Don't bring anything electrical that generates heat.

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 12:54
Most electronics which aren't computers (or don't use a wall wart) are pretty much useless. Only things that can run at 50-60hz and 100-120v should be brought to Japan, and then only bring WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED.

johnny
April 7th, 2014, 13:12
Really, depending our your size, you should be focusing on clothing and shoes above all else. There are stores here that have larger sizes, like Uniqlo or ABC Mart, but they might not have everything you need or want.

If you have large feet, get your shoes sorted out before you leave. The stores here will not have your size. Keep in mind that you will need to wear indoor shoes while in your school, so bring an extra pair of shoes or sandals for that purpose too.

Next bring deodourant. Most everything else can be found in Japan without too much trouble.

Don't bother with books. Get an e-reader or a tablet. It will save you money on reading material and the pain of hauling around unnecessarily heavy suitcases. If you like reading actual books, there are thousands upon thousands of books offered on Amazon.jp. So, yeah, don't bring books.

greyjoy
April 7th, 2014, 13:58
I've got a fair selection of clothes and shoes, but I'm still pretty confident that I'll be able to compress it into one big suitcase. Even if that's overly optimistic, I'm still just looking to see what to work in around the edges. I don't doubt that a lot of stuff is easily available there, but I'd like to replace as little as possible if I have something serviceable here, and it fits. If I'm overflowing, I'll know what to pitch first.

I appreciate everybody's advice here.

mmarief09
April 7th, 2014, 14:27
I'm afraid of turning this thread into a giant laundry list of "should I bring this", but I'm really trying to pare down a decade worth of accumulated crap to essentials to keep in the states, and what I can bring with me. Moso, you said you shouldn't have brought your hairdryer, would that probably be the same for any basic household appliance? I was thinking of buying a travel steamer, but I think I read somewhere else here or at another forum that things like irons don't work at Japanese voltage.

Also, how about batteries? I've got a bunch of AAs and AAAs around. Bring them or give them away?

I bought an iron at a local electronics store for around 2000 yen. I made sure to ask my supervisor where I could get one because I knew stuff from my suitcase would be wrinkled. She took me to the store herself. It works fine and there were a bunch of different brands to chose from. Same goes for steamers. I wouldn`t bring them- too much weight and you can get it here. :)

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 14:37
Japan is a fully modern country and you can buy almost anything you'd possibly want quite easily when you get here. While I can certainly understand the desire to have everything you think you'll need from the get go, the reality is that apart from clothes (and even then only for the hugely proportioned. Almost all the clothes I currently own I bought in Japan, including shoes) there's very little you actually need to bring with you that you couldn't just buy here. Obviously that's no good if you don't have the cash but basically anything you can imagine living without for a month you might as well leave behind.

Though I can't speak to "feminine products".

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 14:52
I agree mostly with jiggit about clothes, but good lord if you're broad shouldered, tall, or have size 28cm feet, bring stuff from home. I can "buy" shoes in Japan, but my selection is damn small (unless I want expensive running shoes), and they aren't great quality or much to look at.

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 14:54
Visvim sells size 10 and 11 shoes, np.

johnny
April 7th, 2014, 14:56
My current shoes are either 14 or 15. That's what I mean by big feet.

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 14:57
Visvim sells size 10 and 11 shoes, np.

You speka le giberish me firend!

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 14:59
My current shoes are either 14 or 15. That's what I mean by big feet.

Freak.


You speka le giberish me firend!

Visvim (a Japanese brand) sells US size 10 and 11 shoes. I'm not sure how I can make it much clearer.

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 15:03
Visvim (a Japanese brand) sells US size 10 and 11 shoes. I'm not sure how I can make it much clearer.

Ahh, okay, this outlines another major problem in Japan. What might be in one major city/area is not in others. Best I have around here would be ABCMart, and their selection for more dress casual at high end is terrible.

14-15 is in the bring it and bring spares.

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 15:05
NP there's a webstore: https://shop.visvim.tv/jp/en/f2/

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 15:10
NP there's a webstore: https://shop.visvim.tv/jp/en/f2/

Buying clothes online is one of those things I will never, ever, do. It's just not worth it unless I've tried it on in a store first.

spman2099
April 7th, 2014, 15:15
Buying clothes online is one of those things I will never, ever, do. It's just not worth it unless I've tried it on in a store first.

There is a certain adjustment period with clothing, but you will eventually learn how certain brands fit and order accordingly. However, the safe bet is to order a little larger than you usually would. That being said, I have never really had any problems with shoes not fitting properly, but I do order the same brand usually.

johnny
April 7th, 2014, 15:16
Ahh, okay, this outlines another major problem in Japan. What might be in one major city/area is not in others. Best I have around here would be ABCMart, and their selection for more dress casual at high end is terrible.

14-15 is in the bring it and bring spares.

Which is why I specified that if you have monster feet like mine, you need to be careful with your shoes. If you have a brand you like, you could try mail ordering the shoes to parents or friends and have them mail them to you. That gets expensive and sucks for your family and friends though.


NP there's a webstore: https://shop.visvim.tv/jp/en/f2/

Am I reading those prices right? In principle, I don't mind spending $500 CAD on a pair of shoes, but some of those prices are incredible.

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 15:18
Am I reading those prices right? In principle, I don't mind spending $500 CAD on a pair of shoes, but some of those prices are incredible.

They're super comfortable and the leather is gorgeous. And the general designs are just spot on. I'd say definitely worth it if you are willing to spend that much.

Gizmotech
April 7th, 2014, 15:23
Prices seem reasonable. I've paid 400$ for shoes before. 500 seems okay if the leather is really nice.


If you have money to burn, burn it I say!

littleanemonefish
April 7th, 2014, 15:47
If you're really into skin care and makeup, you might want to consider bringing some products with you.

If you have allergies/sensitive skin or other specific skin needs, it would probably be a good idea to bring some products that work for you. It might take you a while to figure out which Japanese alternatives you can use, or if/where/how you can get your current products in Japan.

For makeup, if you have a darker skin tone or like matte eyeshadows (and maybe blushes and bronzers, but I'm not sure), be sure to bring your favorite products as well. Japanese makeup is targeted towards lighter skinned people and I've heard that it's pretty much impossible to find matte eyeshadows for sure. Other than those specific things, most other products should be available in Japan, so don't worry about bringing backups.

Generally, Japanese skin care products and makeup are really good quality, but there might be an adjustment period because most Western drugstore brands aren't available, and I'm not sure which high-end brands are available and how easy they are to get in the inaka.

! Oh, but don't forget that there are rules for how much makeup you're allowed to bring over!


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Moso
April 7th, 2014, 18:27
I'm afraid of turning this thread into a giant laundry list of "should I bring this", but I'm really trying to pare down a decade worth of accumulated crap to essentials to keep in the states, and what I can bring with me. Moso, you said you shouldn't have brought your hairdryer, would that probably be the same for any basic household appliance? I was thinking of buying a travel steamer, but I think I read somewhere else here or at another forum that things like irons don't work at Japanese voltage.

Also, how about batteries? I've got a bunch of AAs and AAAs around. Bring them or give them away?
Yeah that sounds like it probably wouldn't work. I think you can get a type of adapter that can change voltages and stuff, but it might just be cheaper and less hassle to just buy stuff in Japan. The only reason I brought a hairdryer was because I thought Japanese hairdryers would be really expensive but I bought one easily for 2000 yen!

Fruitspunchsamurai
April 7th, 2014, 20:07
on bringing your favourate tv shows and movies on a hard drive, i was reading that japan was cracking down on piracy and a hard drive full of tv shows and movies might be troublesome when going through customs. what is everyone's experience on this?

coop52
April 7th, 2014, 21:30
I'm pretty sure they aren't going to actually check through your drive at customs. Wrap it in women's underwear if you're scared they'll touch it (I've seriously heard of people bringing in extra contacts/medication that way; do it at your own risk)

Jiggit
April 7th, 2014, 22:10
I'm pretty sure they aren't going to actually check through your drive at customs. Wrap it in women's underwear if you're scared they'll touch it (I've seriously heard of people bringing in extra contacts/medication that way; do it at your own risk)

I can't decide whether to make a joke about Japanese men and panties or landwhales having underwear large enough to be used as packaging for a hard drive...

coop52
April 7th, 2014, 22:37
Can't help that I have a ghetto booty yo.

Shincantsen
April 7th, 2014, 23:59
Not to distract from the women's underwear talk, but I brought a 360 with me when I went in 2009. It took up basically half of my rolling carry-on suitcase, and was kind of a pain in the ass because you have to take it out at security like a laptop. Even so, I think it was worth it, because I was able to watch *legally obtained* American TV shows on my TV through the Xbox. So it took up some space and was kind of a hassle, but was worth it in the end for me.

nlChristina
April 8th, 2014, 08:40
If you're really into skin care and makeup, you might want to consider bringing some products with you.

If you have allergies/sensitive skin or other specific skin needs, it would probably be a good idea to bring some products that work for you. It might take you a while to figure out which Japanese alternatives you can use, or if/where/how you can get your current products in Japan.

For makeup, if you have a darker skin tone or like matte eyeshadows (and maybe blushes and bronzers, but I'm not sure), be sure to bring your favorite products as well. Japanese makeup is targeted towards lighter skinned people and I've heard that it's pretty much impossible to find matte eyeshadows for sure. Other than those specific things, most other products should be available in Japan, so don't worry about bringing backups.

Generally, Japanese skin care products and makeup are really good quality, but there might be an adjustment period because most Western drugstore brands aren't available, and I'm not sure which high-end brands are available and how easy they are to get in the inaka.

! Oh, but don't forget that there are rules for how much makeup you're allowed to bring over!

I second this, even if you don't think you have sensitive skin/allergies/etc.

When I lived in Canada, my skin was great - it required very little care, and I could basically throw anything on it and it would be okay. I didn't take any of my skin care products from home because I thought that I would just buy all new ones over here. However, as soon as I came to Japan, whether it was 24+ hours on planes, the summer weather (read: humidity like nothing I've ever known before), or the stress of moving, my face exploded with pimples. My skin had never been that bad before. I tried a few Japanese products, but it wasn't until I got a care package from home with my usual skin care products that it finally calmed down.

I definitely recommend bringing enough of your skin care to get you through at least the first few months until you can find something here that'll work for you.

johnny
April 8th, 2014, 08:53
They're super comfortable and the leather is gorgeous. And the general designs are just spot on. I'd say definitely worth it if you are willing to spend that much.


Prices seem reasonable. I've paid 400$ for shoes before. 500 seems okay if the leather is really nice.


If you have money to burn, burn it I say!

Yeah, $500 is reasonable for some pretty exceptional shoes, but some of those shoes are over $1,000 CAD though. Many other pairs are over $800. I get that footwear is important, but that's pretty steep.

My Redwings are pretty comfy for the time being.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 08:57
Red Wings aren't exceptional shoes though, they're like the base level of not crap. The leather is ok and if you paid less it would be godawful but there's a lot of brands with waaaay nicer leather than Red Wing.

johnny
April 8th, 2014, 09:08
Red Wings aren't exceptional shoes though, they're like the base level of not crap. The leather is ok and if you paid less it would be godawful but there's a lot of brands with waaaay nicer leather than Red Wing.

I guess so. They do last me a long time and they're comfortable though.

dzima
April 8th, 2014, 09:40
Guys, there's also this for shoe shopping

p (http://www.pediwear.co.uk/)ediwear (dot) co (dot ) uk

Prices in any currency (including Jpn Yen), great brand names, good selection of sizes, premium quality stuff. It's from the UK so overseas customers don't pay VAT tax.

A lot of those brands this website sells are popular in Japan but would cost a lot more there. But I also agree that Visvim offers premium quality, at a premium price.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 10:17
I guess so. They do last me a long time and they're comfortable though.

I was just trying to bait people by posting that but apparently people on here are less pleb than I thought. I can attest personally to the quality being far nicer than a lot of famous brands (trickers, grenson, church's) but I wouldn't seriously recommend them to a random person.

johnny
April 8th, 2014, 10:27
Quality is very important to me too. Where the shoes or garments are made heavily influences my decisions too...in Canada (where finding my size isn't an issue).

One reason I like Red Wing Shoes is that they're made in America. I'd prefer Canada, but a healthy American economy helps the overall North American economy and I hope is one small move to stop all the export of jobs overseas.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 10:34
Made in America is kind of whatever to me. Quality depends on who's making it; skilled workers are skilled workers wherever. If it's cheap crap then ofc it's crap but you got what you paid for. Stuff can be made in China and still be well made. Ofc it's a nice icing on the cake that you can say your stuff was made in England or w/e but it wouldn't make me more likely to buy something.

Wasabi
April 8th, 2014, 10:41
Current JETs - true or false: "Each JET participant will receive at least 4kg (9lb) of materials and information at Post-Arrival Orientation, so please factor this weight into your packing. " (page 19, JET 2014 Handbook)

If true... how much of the paperwork do we actually need to keep vs. how much can we politely accept and then secretly recycle after the fact?

Antonath
April 8th, 2014, 10:54
Current JETs - true or false: "Each JET participant will receive at least 4kg (9lb) of materials and information at Post-Arrival Orientation, so please factor this weight into your packing. " (page 19, JET 2014 Handbook)

If true... how much of the paperwork do we actually need to keep vs. how much can we politely accept and then secretly recycle after the fact?
True, or was when I came five years ago. Some should be kept, some can be ditched. TO is (or was) a case of "OMG we have 800 ALTs to educate in two days, screw relevance to specific areas or types of school, here have a hand-out". More recent arrivals can give you more up to date information, though.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 10:57
Throw it all into a conbini bin the second you get out of the hotel.

Gizmotech
April 8th, 2014, 11:00
Current JETs - true or false: "Each JET participant will receive at least 4kg (9lb) of materials and information at Post-Arrival Orientation, so please factor this weight into your packing. " (page 19, JET 2014 Handbook)

If true... how much of the paperwork do we actually need to keep vs. how much can we politely accept and then secretly recycle after the fact?

True.
It neglects the next line. "Each Keio Hotel room will receive at least 8KG (18lb) worth of materials and information shortly after the JET receives it."

When I went I threw half of it out. Most of it was pure rubbish. That being said, had I bothered to actually look through it rather than bring that half back with me I would've thrown it all out.

therealwindycity
April 8th, 2014, 11:03
If I recall correctly, the stuff you'll really want to keep is the JET handbook, the insurance info booklet, and some of the prefecture-specific handouts. You'll also get a bunch of lesson plans/teaching material of varying quality which you're free to toss as you see fit, and things like trash info, bus schedules, Ministry of Education ditherings, etc. that can just be found out online or from your coworkers.

Gizmotech
April 8th, 2014, 11:19
If I recall correctly, the stuff you'll really want to keep is the JET handbook, the insurance info booklet, and some of the prefecture-specific handouts. You'll also get a bunch of lesson plans/teaching material of varying quality which you're free to toss as you see fit, and things like trash info, bus schedules, Ministry of Education ditherings, etc. that can just be found out online or from your coworkers.

GOD DON'T KEEP THE JET HANDBOOK.
You can always download the current edition online later (or now before you go). What a massive waste of space.

BeckyJones
April 8th, 2014, 11:44
the American consulate back in the day use to give books on US history and culture and shit. Instant garbage, unless you are stupid. Then again. If I remember, all of it was pretty useless and everything that happens in Tokyo is pointless, so skip it and hit the town.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 12:54
In regards to packing, I am assuming everyone left is going to be leaving in August. Keep in mind that it is going to be god awful humid when you get here. Most likely more so than your home country. So bring plenty of clothes appropriate for that weather. (ie Natural fabrics, that are breathable, ie.) I second bringing some things like a stick of deodorant but no appliances. (Once you talk to your predecessor, you'll have a better idea of what is in the apartment. Chances are you won't even never a blow dryer.)

DO NOT BRING ALLERGY MEDS! I know you can smuggle them in, but it's the same as bringing illegal drugs into the country. It's easy enough to go to the doctor here and get them, plus they end up being cheaper because they are covered by insurance. Just avoid it. Bring all documentation for any meds you had to take.

Japan now sells Aquafresh at a lot of places and it has fluoride.

Go to the bank and call your credit card company, tell them you'll be living abroad for 1-5 years. Get all the info you need to do a wire money INTERNATIONALLY. It's different, don't expect your local bank to have a nice app that makes it easy to transfer money between accounts.
I also recommend giving power of attorney to someone you really super duper trust. (For example, my mom is mine.) I only had to use this once at the bank but it was extremely helpful.

I second the e-reader. I got an iPad Mini and I love it. I bring it into meeting and it looks a lot better than pulling out my phone. (I'd imagine that it would be the same in the classroom.) Plus there is a kindle app so you have access to all the kindle books too. If you're going to get a lonely planet, get it the iPad version.
For now I would recommend getting the "Imi wa?", its free.

I also second bringing an external hard drive because its nice to escape to a bubble of English at night those first few weeks. Even if you decide to go native, the lack of internet for a few weeks can feel like withdrawal. External HDDs are MUCH cheaper back home (at least in America.)

If you follow a veg diet or you have allergies......start studying food words asap.

If you're a male and your size 9.5 / 27.5 you'll have no problem finding shoes here.

This is what I did. I knew I wanted to bring my bike, so before I left, I broke it down and cleaned it really well. Removed the chain and de-greased the gears. I put those parts in a plastic bag and taped them to the bottom of the box along with the tools to build the bike. I then stuff my winter clothes in spaces. The bike was padded by the clothes so I didn't have to use packing materials. I think it was about $120 USD, it arrived a few weeks after I got settled in.

I got away with just two suits (summer and winter). I didn't need them much. I wore ties to JHS and SHS but not to ES.
Bring at least one pair of indoor shoes, I ended up picking up sale shoes at ABCmart to have indoor shoes at all my schools. I had all white pair of keds and all black pair of vans at first and matched everything I wore. (Most teachers do not wear dress shoes in the building.)
What you will need is warm dress clothes (nice sweaters, warm socks maybe wool pants for the winter because the classrooms are cold. Unless you're in Okinawa I guess.)

Not proof reading that because it's lunch time!

webstaa
April 8th, 2014, 12:56
If I remember, all of it was pretty useless and everything that happens in Tokyo is pointless, so skip it and hit the town.


At the Pre-Departure there will be scare-tactics about Tokyo Orientation - if you don't go, your contracting org will find out and it will bite you in the butt etc - I've never heard about it coming back on anybody, but I only know a few people who skipped. The workshops were pretty meh, except for one actually put on by PHD from Kyoto about problem students. The only ESSENTIAL information I received was at the Prefectural meeting where we found out our travel arrangements to the Prefecture and our COs.

You'll have a regional orientation too, in all likelyhood - and anything that gets said at Tokyo will probably be clarified then. I wouldn't worry, but I wouldn't fool around about it either. Technically Tokyo Orientation is a business meeting - so try to at least fake being professional. You never know who you might run into. (Also the welcome party on the last night had decent food (for free) and alcohol too.

EDIT: As for packing I was in the same boat as the above - the only difference is that I brought more close because I'm a hamplanet. If you wear any size over XL (US size), or have an inseam longer than 34 inches, you will need to find a specialty store. Luckily one of my teachers is 6'5", so he gave me their location on the first day. You CAN find larger clothes online, even from Uniqlo. I'm a dude, and this is what I brought for work clothes:

2 full suits, one black, one grey. (If worn each one about 3 times after the first two weeks. After Tokyo, you probably won't need to wear the jacket until winter - cool biz and all that eco jazz means less AC, less clothes. My school went without neckties with the summer uniform too.)

A couple pairs of slacks in various colors. 2 Black, 2 navy... nothing too formal, Khakis are OK too here, especially in the summer.

Plenty of shirts - 6 or 7. White shirts are the norm for the Japanese formal setting, so I have one or two that I only wear for Entrance/Graduation/New Semester etc days. A variety of colors is also just fine.

I brought only 3-4 neckties. You can find them VERY easily, and in a plethora of styles (although you might want to find a few you really like).

I brought 2 pairs of 'nice' shoes aka formal shoes - one for outdoors and one for indoors. This was not necessary. Find some dark sneakers/casual shoes and just use those. Formal shoes are definitely not necessary for an ALTs school life. I too went to ABCmart and bought a couple pairs of shoes - some dark (trimmed in neon green of course) sneakers and some vivid purple Chuck Taylors. Nobody cares what you wear on your feet as long as you follow the indoor/outdoor separation.

therealwindycity
April 8th, 2014, 14:24
Make sure to have a black suit for when graduation and entrance ceremonies roll around.

createdtodance7
April 8th, 2014, 14:24
Make sure to have a black suit for when graduation and entrance ceremonies roll around.

Women as well?


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uthinkimlost?
April 8th, 2014, 14:27
Women as well?


Unless you have a super nice kimono.

Corvus
April 8th, 2014, 14:27
Go to the bank and call your credit card company, tell them you'll be living abroad for 1-5 years. Get all the info you need to do a wire money INTERNATIONALLY. It's different, don't expect your local bank to have a nice app that makes it easy to transfer money between accounts.
I also recommend giving power of attorney to someone you really super duper trust. (For example, my mom is mine.) I only had to use this once at the bank but it was extremely helpful.

Why do we need to do this? Avoiding the overseas transfer fees? It's been a while, but I think I remember being able to withdraw from my US bank at the post office without incurring any fees.

createdtodance7
April 8th, 2014, 14:33
Unless you have a super nice kimono.

Haha don't kid, I actually do I have a winter silk kimono and obi.


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Gizmotech
April 8th, 2014, 14:38
Umm guys, keep in mind any information we are giving about Tokyo Orientation could be VERY wrong this year, as it appears parts of the format are changing. There might actually be attendance and stuff. Please tread carefully.

Corvus
April 8th, 2014, 14:38
My pre-departure (US) notes mention picking up an international driver's permit in case you might end up driving. There's a big thread about passing the Japanese driver's license test, but what's the point? Seems like you can renew your international AAA permit each year and it can be done entirely through the mail.

Edit: I think I get it now. I think there's a 90 day gap after the annual expires where you'd be without a valid permit :(

uthinkimlost?
April 8th, 2014, 14:44
Haha don't kid, I actually do I have a winter silk kimono and obi.

I'm not. Foreign women can sometimes get away with kimono, but I've only seen very understated patterns and colors. If that is something you are interested in, buy one here. Otherwise, suit up.


Why do we need to do this? Avoiding the overseas transfer fees? It's been a while, but I think I remember being able to withdraw from my US bank at the post office without incurring any fees.

Banks in the US can charge fees, and can change that fee policy with little to no warning. Also, especially with credit cards, if you spend enough time making swipes abroad you might get your card locked down, especially if there is no 'living abroad' memo on your profile.



My pre-departure (US) notes mention picking up an international driver's permit in case you might end up driving. There's a big thread about passing the Japanese driver's license test, but what's the point? Seems like you can renew your international AAA permit each year and it can be done entirely through the mail.

Nope, you can't do it. Technically they don't want you to use one for more than three months, I believe.

yingyangryder
April 8th, 2014, 14:44
As far as I am aware, you can only use the international permit for one year. Regardless of whether you can renew it or not, in Japan that permit is nothing more than a coaster after 1 year.

Antonath
April 8th, 2014, 14:47
Why do we need to do this? Avoiding the overseas transfer fees? It's been a while, but I think I remember being able to withdraw from my US bank at the post office without incurring any fees.
The point is not to get money from your "home" account to Japan, it's to get it from your Japanese account to your bank back home. That requires wire transfer numbers, sort codes and the like, which are much easier to find out when you can walk into your bank than when you're here in Japan.

Corvus
April 8th, 2014, 14:49
Ah, good point. That's actually......incredibly important to do, then.

jwkelley
April 8th, 2014, 14:57
If you just got a new licences bring the old one with you in case you stay two years. Also maybe bring a copy of your driving records.

johnny
April 8th, 2014, 15:15
Umm guys, keep in mind any information we are giving about Tokyo Orientation could be VERY wrong this year, as it appears parts of the format are changing. There might actually be attendance and stuff. Please tread carefully.

Wise words. It might be more than super genki ALTs running workshops this time.


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greyjoy
April 8th, 2014, 15:16
I know the Japanese are all about black suits, but am I really going to look that out of place in a dark charcoal?

Also, I don't know how universally helpful this might be, but my local Target had a bunch of TSA approved luggage locks on clearance for 70% off yesterday. I've noted that oftentimes the same stock is cleared out at the same time in more than one city, so it might be worth a look. I grabbed three for less than $6.

Gizmotech
April 8th, 2014, 15:17
jwkelly is spot on. I had renewed my license just before coming to Japan and when I wanted to convert it I had to supply a driving record as my old license was not sufficient proof to em.

@johnny, Ya, that's what I'm thinking given there are no ToAs this year at all.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 15:17
If you just got a new licences bring the old one with you in case you stay two years. Also maybe bring a copy of your driving records.

This works for most countries but not for people from the states. If you decide to stay two years, start trying to get your drivers license as soon as you sign the re contracting paperwork. (Some people, usually girls get it in one go, most people, usually guys, take multiple visits.)


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yingyangryder
April 8th, 2014, 15:19
I don`t have a black suit. They told me I should get one, I probably won`t unless I start job hunting after JET. My reason being, if you want me to act like the rest of the teachers, then treat me like the rest of the teachers. That and I already have three perfectly fine suits and didn`t feel like shelling out more money just to fit in for 2 days out of the year. Maybe I am just bitter :D. But if you have yet to buy a suit, or will be buying a second suit, then yes, I recommend buying a black suit for all the ceremonies and what not. Also a white tie if you can.

uthinkimlost?
April 8th, 2014, 15:19
This works for most countries but not for people from the states. If you decide to stay two years, start trying to get your drivers license as soon as you sign the re contracting paperwork. (Some people, usually girls get it in one go, most people, usually guys, take multiple visits.)


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'murricans need that stuff to avoid the n00b placards.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 15:20
The point is not to get money from your "home" account to Japan, it's to get it from your Japanese account to your bank back home. That requires wire transfer numbers, sort codes and the like, which are much easier to find out when you can walk into your bank than when you're here in Japan.

Bingo!


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Gizmotech
April 8th, 2014, 15:20
I know the Japanese are all about black suits, but am I really going to look that out of place in a dark charcoal?

Also, I don't know how universally helpful this might be, but my local Target had a bunch of TSA approved luggage locks on clearance for 70% off yesterday. I've noted that oftentimes the same stock is cleared out at the same time in more than one city, so it might be worth a look. I grabbed three for less than $6.

I'm wearing dark charcoal right now. Whatever floats your boat so long as it doesn't scream "HAI GAIZ".

also, I locked my suit case with zap straps. cost me all of .10$. If they want in, they're gonna get in, some dinky ass lock isn't gonna stop em.

webstaa
April 8th, 2014, 15:23
My pre-departure (US) notes mention picking up an international driver's permit in case you might end up driving. There's a big thread about passing the Japanese driver's license test, but what's the point? Seems like you can renew your international AAA permit each year and it can be done entirely through the mail.

Edit: I think I get it now. I think there's a 90 day gap after the annual expires where you'd be without a valid permit :(


Unless you want to take three months off to go back to the US and not come to Japan, you can only use the IDP once. The cops will double check your permit if you are stopped, and the penalties are pretty hefty. After one year, you must have a Japanese license or give up driving the car. Mostly it will be your CO that comes down on car issues. Hokkaido BoE is notorious for forbidding ALTs to drive in their contracted hours, even with a license.

Getting the license is a pinch if you are from a country that drives on the right (usually) - all you have to do is pay 3400 yen for a translation and a minor fee for getting the Japanese license. If you're not that lucky, you have to get your license translated 3400 yen - then go and pass a written test and a (im)practical test - both of which have fees. Many people take quite a few tries to do it, especially because most JETs end up with yellow plate cars and the test is almost always in a creaky, unwieldy sedan (and no practice runs.) Its actually not THAT hard.


EDIT: You don't need a pure black suit or white tie. Dark grey/dark with pinstripes etc is also just fine. For graduation you just don't wear super bright colors - darker suit and lighter or more plain tie is just fine. Don't spend money on something you'll wear once or maybe twice per year (like my JTE - 15man kimono, worn once in the last 3 years.) Just don't stand out too much and you'll be just fine.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 15:27
I don`t have a black suit. They told me I should get one, I probably won`t unless I start job hunting after JET. My reason being, if you want me to act like the rest of the teachers, then treat me like the rest of the teachers. That and I already have three perfectly fine suits and didn`t feel like shelling out more money just to fit in for 2 days out of the year. Maybe I am just bitter :D. But if you have yet to buy a suit, or will be buying a second suit, then yes, I recommend buying a black suit for all the ceremonies and what not. Also a white tie if you can.

You can find black suits here so cheap! At the TOA you don't need it, you will in your town. I think you can pick them up for like $70 around Keio plaza. Way cheaper than back home.

I don't know, sometimes the gaijin smash is the wrong thing to do. What would you say if a Japanese friend worn a hot pink mini skirt suit to your mother's funeral? At least try to fit in and you'll be accepted, don't and you might end up like the other ALT vbloggers on YouTube bitching about everything. Just saying, you already have a bad attitude and you haven't even begun!

Edit: I agree with that statement above as well. If you have something plain you'll be fine.

Honestly you can get away with one suit (most likely)


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jwkelley
April 8th, 2014, 15:40
This works for most countries but not for people from the states. If you decide to stay two years, start trying to get your drivers license as soon as you sign the re contracting paperwork. (Some people, usually girls get it in one go, most people, usually guys, take multiple visits.)


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Even if you are from the states you need these. Otherwise you will have to send for them or take a full Japanese drivers ed course.

Antonath
April 8th, 2014, 16:17
A dark, conservative suit will be fine. Black tends to be limited to those actively taking part in the various ceremonies, and all the other teachers just wear normal suits.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 16:19
Black tends to be limited to those actively taking part in the various ceremonies, and all the other teachers just wear normal suits.

Well that isn't true.

johnny
April 8th, 2014, 16:20
Black suits are for funerals whereas grey works for all occasions. I went grey and a dark navy blue for my suits.


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ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 17:11
Black suits are for funerals whereas grey works for all occasions. I went grey and a dark navy blue for my suits.


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I think this depends on where you are. Seem the really inaka / laid back places let this stuff slide. I was in kanto and it was all black suits aside from the one strange sensei. He wore grey. (He wasn't 'unique', he was serial killer weird.)


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zombiekelly
April 8th, 2014, 17:14
For those that asked about lady products (and you pervs who just want to know):

They have 'em, they're just a little different. It's a bit of a reverse situation from the US, where most women use tampons. Japan is more about pads, though you can get tampons. Just pay attention to whether or not they have an applicator. There's a large selection that don't, and you don't want to make that mistake.

Pads (Japan calls them napkins) are a little shorter and thinner, unless you go for the overnight variety which should be labeled as diapers. Seriously, they're massive. There are also "shorts", which are like under armor you wear overtop your panties. Almost all pads have wings, but a few don't. Longest wingless variety I could find was around 24cm, so think "regular maxi". They do have ultra-thin, which are basically those sheets they stick in a pack of meat to soak up the extra blood. Big brands are P&G (Always in the US, Whisper in Japan), Elis (Megami), and the one with a flying pig on the wrapper.

If you need medicine/vagisil, you'll have to go to the lady doctor. They don't really do OTC for that kind of thing. Closest thing my drugstore had was baby diaper rash cream.

P&G owns Venus and distributes in Japan, so don't worry about bringing razors. I didn't look for nair or a lex waxing kit so I can't help you there. If you wax your eyebrows, look on amazon for kits or use their gawd-awful threading kits. Japanese women must like pain.

If your skin tone is darker, you might have to order makeup from home. Stores in Tokyo might have a big selection, but BFI won't have anything besides yellow and pink.

Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 17:15
Pads (Japan calls them napkins)

what

zombiekelly
April 8th, 2014, 17:25
As in sanitary napkin? Don't they call them that in the UK? ナプキン.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 17:31
what

Hahaha seriously though she is right so all this time at restaurants when you asked for a napkin you have been asking for period pads!


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Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 17:48
As in sanitary napkin? Don't they call them that in the UK? ナプキン.

Sanitary towel.


Hahaha seriously though she is right so all this time at restaurants when you asked for a napkin you have been asking for period pads!

When have you ever had to ask for a napkin in Japan?

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 17:49
Dude, most places only give you one.


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Jiggit
April 8th, 2014, 18:11
Why do you need more than one? L2eat.

ihatefall
April 8th, 2014, 18:18
Super spicy food? Tacos? A messy sandwich that didn't have that special wrap.


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greyjoy
April 8th, 2014, 18:32
There's no problem with the low pressure cargo hold and skin/hair products is there? Things that are under pressure like mousse or shaving cream? I've never taken anything like that with me on a flight before.

createdtodance7
April 8th, 2014, 18:42
There's no problem with the low pressure cargo hold and skin/hair products is there? Things that are under pressure like mousse or shaving cream? I've never taken anything like that with me on a flight before.

I have traveled multiple times with curly hair mousse. I had two cans, wrapped in plastic for worst case scenarios. The one that was opened was a bit flat, but still worked fine without the extra fluffiness. The unopened can was completely normal. I would advise wrapping in plastic just in case they do leak or become damaged.


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nostos
April 9th, 2014, 06:02
#1 thing I have learned from my travels: ALWAYS PUT THINGS IN BAGS. Seriously. Toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, makeup, whatever. Then, even if things explode, its no issue.

ihatefall
April 9th, 2014, 07:51
I would be less worried about "low pressure" and more worried about bag handlers throwing your bags.


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webstaa
April 9th, 2014, 08:18
I would be less worried about "low pressure" and more worried about bag handlers throwing your bags.


Un-pressurized holds are unheated too, so shit might freeze - that probably will be more of a problem than low pressure. But airports are where the real damage happens. Hopefully your suitcase doesn't get caught in a conveyor belt and ripped to shreds.

therealwindycity
April 9th, 2014, 09:37
I think this depends on where you are. Seem the really inaka / laid back places let this stuff slide. I was in kanto and it was all black suits aside from the one strange sensei. He wore grey. (He wasn't 'unique', he was serial killer weird.)


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I don't know; I'm relatively inaka as well, and my school insisted on a black suit. I mean it's not like someone's going to stop you from coming in if you're not wearing a black suit, but there will be a lot of teeth-sucking and hemming and hawing.

Page
April 9th, 2014, 09:46
Take all of our advice with a grain of salt knowing that your school may react differently (largely depends on how much of a dick your P or VP is). Bring whatever color suit you want, you're not going to get fired for having a gray suit but what's the hassle in buying a black suit? If you're going to come over with a "I'm not part of your system, man" attitude you're going to have a shtty time and spend your days feeling angry and persecuted.

Most of our advice is based on our own experiences so users should keep that in mind when they're reading (like ihatefall about the licensing, I've never noticed a tendency for women to pass more easily, it's the opposite where I am if anything else), ESID is a really annoying phrase but it's there because it's true.

As for packing the only essentials for me were clothes, shoes, beauty products that I didn't want to change (hair/skin products, flatiron), laptop, and kindle. Everything else is optional and can be sent in separate boxes.

Jiggit
April 9th, 2014, 09:48
I don't know; I'm relatively inaka as well, and my school insisted on a black suit. I mean it's not like someone's going to stop you from coming in if you're not wearing a black suit, but there will be a lot of teeth-sucking and hemming and hawing.

yeah I can't imagine anyone at my school actually telling me off for not wearing a black suit but when I'm the only one not wearing one it's pretty obvious who's not matching up.

therealwindycity
April 9th, 2014, 09:55
Exactly - unless they're really confrontational no one will say anything at the time (although they might try to help you out - "look, I have an extra white tie!"), but you'll know it bugged them when they start teasing you about it at the enkai (or when they complain about you to your successor). My VP made a pretty big point about explaining the dress code to me beforehand, too. And considering you won't make it through your first year as an ALT without mistakes here and there, it's best to at least minimize how much you stand out.

johnny
April 9th, 2014, 09:57
I must live in a pretty chill city, because lots of people were wearing grey suits for my graduation ceremony. Quite frankly, no one really noticed me. The principal and VP had a really big day, and I think I passed under the radar just fine.

Interesting enough, many of the people attending the ceremony wore nice suits, but wore fuzzy house slippers with the suits. That is a weird combo dude.

Jiggit
April 9th, 2014, 10:04
lots of people were wearing grey suits for my graduation ceremony

Teachers or parents? Parents just wear whatever suits they have in general but I'd be surprised if all of your teachers weren't wearing a black suit w/ white necktie.

johnny
April 9th, 2014, 10:15
Teachers or parents? Parents just wear whatever suits they have in general but I'd be surprised if all of your teachers weren't wearing a black suit w/ white necktie.

Definitely parents, I'm not sure about the teachers though. I could have sworn kocho-Sensei was wearing a very formal looking grey suit though. I'll have to look at pictures.


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Jiggit
April 9th, 2014, 10:17
That was morning dress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_dress).

word
April 9th, 2014, 10:30
I wish top hats were still a part of that custom.

johnny
April 9th, 2014, 10:43
That was morning dress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_dress).

Hey, that was what he was wearing! Do all principals wear those [garments] for graduations?

Jiggit
April 9th, 2014, 10:45
Yeah, as far as I know.

ihatefall
April 9th, 2014, 12:44
If you're going to come over with a "I'm not part of your system, man" attitude you're going to have a shtty time and spend your days feeling angry and persecuted.

Most of our advice is based on our own experiences so users should keep that in mind when they're reading (like ihatefall about the licensing, I've never noticed a tendency for women to pass more easily, it's the opposite where I am if anything else), ESID is a really annoying phrase but it's there because it's true.


Part 1.) That is basically what I was getting at.

Part 2.) Weird, in Ibaraki 90% of the female ALTs got it on their first try and 90% of the male ALTs failed.
ESID for sure.


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word
April 9th, 2014, 12:47
If you're going to come over with a "I'm not part of your system, man" attitude you're going to have a shtty time and spend your days feeling angry and persecuted.

You can't trust the system!

gAYL5H46QnQ

zombiekelly
April 9th, 2014, 13:12
My black jacket never fit right, so I only ever wore it on parent days, culture fest, and graduation. Every other time was alternating between my gray and light blue jacket with black pants.

ihatefall
April 9th, 2014, 19:48
I wish top hats were still a part of that custom.

Truth


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greyjoy
April 12th, 2014, 15:44
WD Elements 3TB Desktop Hard Drive - USB 3.0, RoHS Compliant - WDBWLG0030HBK-NESN at TigerDirect.com (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8882673&sku=WED-102313769)

In case you need more room to store all of your legally obtained movies, music, and media for your later perusal. A 3 TB HDD for only ~$100 shipped. My 1 TB is running low on space, and I haven't even really started to fill it yet.

chikorita
April 14th, 2014, 15:36
I brought clothes, shoes, laptop, deodorant, toothpaste, moisturiser (I am super attached to one particular brand because I have really sensitive skin), and enough toiletries to last me for 2-3 days (Tokyo Orientation). I found that I really didn't need anything else. I've had no problems buying clothes or shoes in Japan, though I do find that the cut on things like trousers is a little different, and shoes tend to be a bit narrower. But yeah, if you buy larger sizes at home you might not be able to get stuff in Japan, especially inaka Japan. Men's sizes have already been covered in this thread, but for women's sizes, anything over a US 8.5/ UK 6 for shoes, and a US 10/UK 12 for clothing, and you'd better bring your own from home.

I know a lot of people like to bring small, light things like posters, family photos, etc, to decorate their apartment and make it feel a bit more like home, so you might want to do that if you have any extra luggage space.

Whatever you do, don't pack like my pred did... she was apparently under the delusion that shops in Japan only sell tofu and rice, internet shopping doesn't exist abroad, and she had to bring absolutely everything with her, including coat-hangers, hairdryer, kitchen plates, internet modem, towels... God knows how she find space for anything useful in her suitcase.

Jiggit
April 14th, 2014, 18:22
coat-hangers, hairdryer, kitchen plates, internet modem, towels... God knows how she find space for anything useful in her suitcase.

Which one of those do we think is daftest? I'd go for coat-hangers. Did she think Japanese people all wear kimono every day? Or maybe that they would fold their shirts into some kind of elaborate origami?

Moso
April 14th, 2014, 18:55
and a US 10/UK 12 for clothing, and you'd better bring your own from home.


I'm higher than a UK 12 and I could buy clothing in Japan! Though notably, NOT for the bottom half. I'd actually revise the "bottom half" figure down to like a UK 10 as in most cases they don't account for hips/bum.

Gizmotech
April 14th, 2014, 19:00
Kitchen plates man. Cuz you know, everyone in japan eats with their hands...

ihatefall
April 14th, 2014, 19:29
I'm higher than a UK 12 and I could buy clothing in Japan! Though notably, NOT for the bottom half. I'd actually revise the "bottom half" figure down to like a UK 10 as in most cases they don't account for hips/bum.

Where did you shop? I think Uniqlo is known to have bigger sizes. But not many stores seem to carry larger sizes.

I think at our plus size stores we have 4 & 6, maybe an 8 here and there.


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Moso
April 14th, 2014, 20:15
Where did you shop? I think Uniqlo is known to have bigger sizes. But not many stores seem to carry larger sizes.

I think at our plus size stores we have 4 & 6, maybe an 8 here and there.


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My favourite shop was WeGo! And I also liked Honeys because it's cheap hahaha. And yup, Uniqlo's sizes are really big. I just bought some XL size clothing from there without trying it on, to find out it was too big. (in all other shops grabbing the largest possible size was pretty much accurate :P)

johnny
April 15th, 2014, 07:30
Which one of those do we think is daftest? I'd go for coat-hangers. Did she think Japanese people all wear kimono every day? Or maybe that they would fold their shirts into some kind of elaborate origami?

Hairdryer because it's of no possible use in Japan.

chikorita
April 15th, 2014, 08:45
Yeah, actually, Uniqlo does carry larger sizes. At least, my Uniqlo has sizes up to XL. Hmmm, I wonder what their XL would translate to in UK sizes?

Antonath
April 15th, 2014, 08:55
Yeah, actually, Uniqlo does carry larger sizes. At least, my Uniqlo has sizes up to XL. Hmmm, I wonder what their XL would translate to in UK sizes?
Pretty much right in the middle of a UK Large I believe. I tend to be on the upper end of Large, and the Uniqlo XL stuff I looked at was a touch too small. That was a few years ago, however.

Kamirose
April 15th, 2014, 19:52
I wear a (women's) US XL and I fit into uniqlo XL tops just fine. I can't fit into any uniqlo pants or skirts, though.

Page
April 16th, 2014, 11:35
Seconding bottoms for taller/non-slender ladies. Even Japanese women complain that the thigh part of a lot of Japanese trousers are too tight. Not to mention that it's a btch to find skirts that make it to your knees that aren't made for fashion-less trolls or grannies (even worse if you have a butt). There are western stores in the bigger cities but your luck will vary; Gap carries some larger sizes but they modify for Japanese people so the thighs are tighter than you may be used to. Banana Republic currently only carries up to size 6. ZARA is probably the best since they don't seem to change their sizing but they tend to be on the more expensive side and their collections vary from awesome to wildly work-inappropriate.

Jiggit
April 16th, 2014, 13:03
Japanese trousers/underpants can't contain my monstrous gaijin block and tackle either.

lilypad
April 16th, 2014, 13:37
Check out nissen.co.jp for a decent selection of larger size clothing and shoes. They have tall size clothing options as well.

Moso
April 18th, 2014, 08:07
Yeah, actually, Uniqlo does carry larger sizes. At least, my Uniqlo has sizes up to XL. Hmmm, I wonder what their XL would translate to in UK sizes?

3530
I found this sign in a Topshop in Osaka. I thought it seemed more or less accurate in my experience, though again I'd say for things on the bottom half, probably shift it a size upwards..

edit: oops, that picture was a bit bigger than I expected haha.

Lianwen
April 18th, 2014, 08:24
Hairdryer because it's of no possible use in Japan.

I know it sounds stupid, but I actually bought a hairdryer in America on my first trip home and have been using it in Japan. It hasn't burst into flames yet, so I take that as a good sign. I also use my American hair straightener and curling iron.

johnny
April 18th, 2014, 08:39
I know it sounds stupid, but I actually bought a hairdryer in America on my first trip home and have been using it in Japan. It hasn't burst into flames yet, so I take that as a good sign. I also use my American hair straightener and curling iron.

Interesting, I have heard from many people that I would set my apartment on fire if that happened.

I guess people were overreacting or you have a hair dryer that works on multiple voltages.

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Lianwen
April 18th, 2014, 09:10
Interesting, I have heard from many people that I would set my apartment on fire if that happened.

I guess people were overreacting or you have a hair dryer that works on multiple voltages.

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Mine's a conair, here (http://www.amazon.com/Conair-1875-Tourmaline-Ceramic-Dryer/dp/B00132ZG3U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1397779345&sr=8-2&keywords=conair+hairdryer). I think my biggest issue was finding an outlet in my bathroom because it's a grounded two prong, but I've used it for the past two years successfully.

Of course, I'm not saying everyone should pack* their hairdryer (it's something your pred might have already), but the hair dryer left by my pred was weak and when I went to buy a Japanese hair dryer, I was a little sticker shocked and didn't know what I was getting (150$ for a hairdryer with a massage function?). It was easier to pick up a brand I knew from home.

*I personally packed a bunch of deodorant and I still have 4 sticks left after 3 years here. But, my parents aren't the kind to send me carepackages, so lol. I wanted to be prepared.

word
April 18th, 2014, 14:24
Interesting, I have heard from many people that I would set my apartment on fire if that happened.

I guess people were overreacting or you have a hair dryer that works on multiple voltages.

It depends on where in Japan you live. If you live in the 60Hz (voltage doesn't matter; it's the frequency) part (to the left of the red line), you can use anything from 'Murika and it'll work just fine. If you live on the right, certain appliances will be wonky (but probably won't set your house on fire).



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/Power_Grid_of_Japan.svg/458px-Power_Grid_of_Japan.svg.png

Lianwen
April 18th, 2014, 14:44
I'm on the right.

My first couple weeks here, using a two-pronged power cable that was supposed to have a built in converter (allegedly), my laptop sparked and I fried the daughterboard. So...ESID. My hairdryer works so that makes me happy.

Gizmotech
April 18th, 2014, 14:45
I'm right side. Some things don't work correctly, others do. Electronics can be wonky like word said. For example, my foreman grill doesn't get quite as hot as it should. Also the timer on it runs slow. It's a fixed frequency device

word
April 18th, 2014, 14:51
Yeah, most new-ish appliances will work with either. It's odd that your computer had problems; laptop converters were one of the first pieces of tech that would handle 50/60Hz setups. It might have been completely unrelated.

Edit: @Lianwen Are you sure it was a laptop computer, and not a George Foreman grill? Because they're similar in some ways; the less tech-minded could be confused by the two.

Edit edit: I just made myself LOL harder than I should have; it wasn't that funny.

Page
April 18th, 2014, 15:11
Yeah, I can confirm that it all works the same for me, too. When I first came I didn't bring my straightener or curler because I had been told the same thing as Johnny As long as it's not something you're going to be leaving plugged in and unattended it should be fine. I think the space is worth it if it's something of high $$$.

johnny
April 18th, 2014, 19:34
Okay, you learn something new every day.

webstaa
April 19th, 2014, 10:19
If you live in the East and bring things for the 60hz grid, they'll just be weaker by about a 1/6th. Sometimes even products advertised for the 50hz or 60hz only grids can be used interchangeably. I bought a new hair clipper for the 50hz grid (2000 yen cheaper on Amazon than the 60hz version). Open in up and look at it - sure enough - both in the manual and on the product information sticker it says it can be used on either grid.

Coming from America, AFAIK, the biggest issues are things without a rectified power source (wall wart) - especially anything with an motor. Also, the odd things out (like the odd DC adapter for my amp) and some clocks (which are set to the 60hz or 50hz frequency to keep time.)

Ocaoca
April 19th, 2014, 20:41
I have a question. I have an iPad and iPhone on contract here and the contract doesn't expire until after I leave the UK. Is it possible to get a sim only deal that will be compatible with these devices or am I going to have to get a new phone over in Japan? I've heard Japanese sim cards are different from UK/US ones, does this extend to the Apple ones too?

sharpinthefang
April 19th, 2014, 22:42
I have a question. I have an iPad and iPhone on contract here and the contract doesn't expire until after I leave the UK. Is it possible to get a sim only deal that will be compatible with these devices or am I going to have to get a new phone over in Japan? I've heard Japanese sim cards are different from UK/US ones, does this extend to the Apple ones too?
I'm in the same sit, my contract doesnt end untill 2015... I know that if you are with EE you can freeze your contract for 6 months, its just added onto the end of your term.
But i to would like to know about the sims.

ihatefall
April 20th, 2014, 11:11
This has been covered in another post about iPhones but look at your model of iPhone / iPad (you're looking for the A1xxx number). Look up what LTE bands it supports and then look up what the J-carriers use. There is your answer. Apple iPhone Specs (All iPhone Models) @ EveryiPhone.com (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/iphone/index-iphone-specs.html)



Edit: Also go to / call your carrier and tell them you are leaving the country to work in Japan. Bring your JET paper work with you. A lot of places let you off early.

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BeckyJones
April 21st, 2014, 11:00
Edit: Also go to / call your carrier and tell them you are leaving the country to work in Japan. Bring your JET paper work with you. A lot of places let you off early.

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This^

a lot of places have a clause that states that "if you leave the country, you are eligible to cancel the contract without penalties"

ihatefall
April 21st, 2014, 11:07
If they tell you no; go to another location, call later in the day, or ask to talk to the supervisor. My GF was 5 months into her contract with AT&T when she left, I had to call 3 times but we got out of it.

(I kept mine and pay $10 a month to keep the line because I want to keep my unlimited data.)


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osakavamp
April 21st, 2014, 15:20
The airlines change year to year. What happens is every year, travel agencies in Japan put in bids for taking care of JET participants. Whoever gets the best bid, is the travel agency who is in charge for the year. Last year, it was Kintetsu, and Miami flew with American Airlines. This year NTA is in charge, and we do not have the flight itineraries yet.

Each airline has different luggage and weight restrictions, as well as extra luggage rules/prices. Its best to try and fit the essentials in one large suit case, and your carry on. That is all that is allowed at Tokyo Orientation. Any extra baggage will have to be shipped to your Contracting Organization at your expense from the airport/hotel. Its best to ship all your winter clothes(since they take up so much space) by boat to arrive sometime in October. No use taking it in August.

Just FYI, USPS no longer allows by-boat post to international addresses. You can only do by air.

webstaa
April 22nd, 2014, 08:37
AFAIK Fed-ex International still ships by boat - at least the last thing I had shipped from the states took about a month w/o tracking info. If you ship stuff over, you can have it included in your arrival customs inspection (although it comes later) and not pay any customs fees. I didn't do this myself, but some info was available on it at one of the orientations and there is a spot for declaring it on the Japanese customs and immigration forms.

osakavamp
April 23rd, 2014, 12:48
AFAIK Fed-ex International still ships by boat - at least the last thing I had shipped from the states took about a month w/o tracking info. If you ship stuff over, you can have it included in your arrival customs inspection (although it comes later) and not pay any customs fees. I didn't do this myself, but some info was available on it at one of the orientations and there is a spot for declaring it on the Japanese customs and immigration forms.

How did you do that? I just called Fedex and they said they do not offer by boat international shipping to individuals. Only to businesses.

osakavamp
April 23rd, 2014, 14:27
Totally dude, there are many products you can't buy on Amazon JP (e.g. Coffee and booze) unless you have a credit card. Also electronics stores and furniture stores will accept credit cards.


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Resona bank offers a VISA debit card that is easy as pie to get.

webstaa
April 24th, 2014, 08:34
How did you do that? I just called Fedex and they said they do not offer by boat international shipping to individuals. Only to businesses.

I think they partner with Yamato -(kuroneko), but that might be UPS. You might to contact them. Services for International TA-Q-BIN (For Personal Customers) | YAMATO TRANSPORT CO., LTD. (http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/personal/international/itn_taqbin/)

sharpinthefang
April 24th, 2014, 08:51
I think they partner with Yamato -(kuroneko), but that might be UPS. You might to contact them. Services for International TA-Q-BIN (For Personal Customers) | YAMATO TRANSPORT CO., LTD. (http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/personal/international/itn_taqbin/)
Would FEDEX not do it?

webstaa
April 25th, 2014, 08:26
Would FEDEX not do it?


Sorry, I'm not sure. Osakavamp informed us that FEDEX doesn't do surface international to Japan anymore, but Yamato Kuroneko works with US carriers, so they might still do it. Maybe Sagawa too? I'm not sure about US to Japan, as I've only ever sent (personally) stuff from Japan to the States.

Page
April 25th, 2014, 10:58
Since most of us are in Japan and customs rules change frequently (and sometimes without much notice) your best bet would be to call them up for the most up-to-date information!

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2014, 11:00
Word. Contact your potential carriers in person and ask. I know in east coast Canada it was a right pain to ship with anyone other than Canada Post, but West Coast had access to kuroneko.
Like Page said, most of us who are here in Japan did things a year ago now, and the rules do change that quickly in both countries.

ihatefall
April 25th, 2014, 11:19
You can call a shipping company like arpin and see if they have space on a container.


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osakavamp
April 25th, 2014, 12:22
YAMATO TRANSPORT USA: TITLE (http://www.yamatoamerica.com/en/) <-- this is the best bet.

UPS does not go by-boat for individuals -- just businesses. It's the same thing for FedEx.

osakavamp
April 25th, 2014, 12:26
You should bring some with you and be prepared to shop around. I never tried when I was in the inaka, but I know many who drove to the nearest (but not too near) big city, visited a recommended/foreign friendly clinic (yay google). You may have to go to a couple different clinics, or even travel a fair distance, but I know many who were successful. I also know many who had bad experiences.
There are two things you will need to keep in mine. If you need the pills for health reasons, you will need to visit the clinic every month, and only be able to get one month at a time. It will be covered by insurance. If you are taking the pills for other purposes, you will not need to visit more than a few times a year for a physical, and you will be able to get (usually) three months at a time. It will not be covered by insurance, but shouldn't cost much more than under insurance with check ups included. Also depending on the policy of the clinic you may not even need to meet with the doctor when you pick up a refill.

This is why I am getting a IUD before coming to Japan.

greyjoy
April 26th, 2014, 17:25
Where do you put your external hard drive? In your carry-on or your checked luggage? I'm pretty sure only laptops have to be scanned separately from the rest of your carry-on, at least domestically. They wouldn't need to scan any peripherals, right?

ihatefall
April 26th, 2014, 17:30
Portable was in my carry on and I took it out. The desktop hard drive was in my suitcase.


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osakavamp
April 29th, 2014, 07:49
This is why I am getting a IUD before coming to Japan.

LADIES: Following up on this. I got my IUD today and while the procedure itself sucked (make sure you take the recommended dose of ibuprofen beforehand) I'm protected for five years from teh preggars and Japanese doctors are familiar with this form of birth control if I ever need to get checked out. So weigh your options.


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sharpinthefang
April 29th, 2014, 08:02
LADIES: Following up on this. I got my IUD today and while the procedure itself sucked (make sure you take the recommended dose of ibuprofen beforehand) I'm protected for five years from teh preggars and Japanese doctors are familiar with this form of birth control if I ever need to get checked out. So weigh your options.


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The other option is to go for the implant. A little plastic rod which is a sub-dermal implant which sits under the skin of your non-dominant arm. It lasts 3 years, hurts no more than a normal injection and an 80% of no periods once settled in your system. The benefit of the implant over the IUD is that it cannot fall out!

createdtodance7
April 29th, 2014, 12:31
[ QUOTE=sharpinthefang;857051]The other option is to go for the implant. A little plastic rod which is a sub-dermal implant which sits under the skin of your non-dominant arm. It lasts 3 years, hurts no more than a normal injection and an 80% of no periods once settled in your system. The benefit of the implant over the IUD is that it cannot fall out![/QUOTE]

Can't fall out...can't become attached to your uterine wall...



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osakavamp
April 29th, 2014, 15:56
The other option is to go for the implant. A little plastic rod which is a sub-dermal implant which sits under the skin of your non-dominant arm. It lasts 3 years, hurts no more than a normal injection and an 80% of no periods once settled in your system. The benefit of the implant over the IUD is that it cannot fall out!

Truth, but I was wanting something that lasted longer than 3 years -- really, I wanted something that lasted how long I could potentially be on JET.

sharpinthefang
April 29th, 2014, 21:05
Truth, but I was wanting something that lasted longer than 3 years -- really, I wanted something that lasted how long I could potentially be on JET.
I want something that will last forever, don't ever plan on having children, but they don't do optional sterilisation on women in this country!

therealwindycity
April 29th, 2014, 21:56
Wait, what? What country do you live in?

sharpinthefang
April 29th, 2014, 22:08
Wait, what? What country do you live in?
The UK. I have always known that i don't want children, and yet when i tell the Doctors this they go 'you will change your mind, here have this temporary contraception',

Antonath
April 29th, 2014, 22:18
The UK. I have always known that i don't want children, and yet when i tell the Doctors this they go 'you will change your mind, here have this temporary contraception',
I can't blame them really. You're sure, but all it takes is a few women who change their minds and sue the NHS, and they'd probably hesitate to do it any more.

Jiggit
April 29th, 2014, 23:08
The UK. I have always known that i don't want children, and yet when i tell the Doctors this they go 'you will change your mind, here have this temporary contraception',

Female sterilisation can be done on the NHS so I assume you just went in and asked without any sort of conviction and your doctor assumed you were just a kid who didn't know what they want.

Randomgirl
April 30th, 2014, 06:51
Anyone know the stance in Japan on birth control that they don't have (ie nuvaring). I am thinking is it better to apply for the yakkan shomei, or should I just have my hubby mail it to me every month? Would they refuse/ confiscate it if they don't have it there?! Anyone have experience with this? Thanks!

uthinkimlost?
April 30th, 2014, 07:46
Yakkan shomei only allows 6 months worth, I think, leaving mail the only option.

Anyone know know the legality of mailing meds?

Zolrak 22
April 30th, 2014, 08:52
I'm pretty sure some medicine is considered illegal in Japan. In those cases they'd see it as drug trafficking.


As for things like Nuvaring, you'd have to wait for someone with better knowledge on the subject.

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sharpinthefang
April 30th, 2014, 09:04
Anyone know the stance in Japan on birth control that they don't have (ie nuvaring). I am thinking is it better to apply for the yakkan shomei, or should I just have my hubby mail it to me every month? Would they refuse/ confiscate it if they don't have it there?! Anyone have experience with this? Thanks!
Myself and Osakavamp have been discussing more permanent methods, such as the IUD and the Implant. Either of these last a lot longer, and you don't have to worry about pills or medication being considered illegal. You also don't need to declare them on any medical forms like you would for the pill.

What country are you in?

Antonath
April 30th, 2014, 09:06
I'm pretty sure some medicine is considered illegal in Japan. In those cases they'd see it as drug trafficking.
The list of medicine you can't bring into Japan contains a lot of things people take for granted, so it's highly recommended to check before you pack.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan (http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html)
This has a list of what you're allowed to bring in without a Yakkan Shoumei.
Note that you can only bring in a month's supply of deadly poison, so plan your poisonings accordingly.
Also, women, please note that you are limited to one set of "electric massaging tools".
(I love Japanese Government translations sometimes.)

Randomgirl
April 30th, 2014, 09:16
Unfortunately, I'm not a candidate for either IUD (had one- it tipped over and then I learned that my uterus is the wrong shape). Nuvaring is my only option. It's not on the list of illegals though - it's like Japan doesn't know it exists!

Jiggit
April 30th, 2014, 09:18
my uterus is the wrong shape

Just one more terrifying possibility in the nightmare world that is being a woman.

johnny
April 30th, 2014, 09:19
I find a day's worth of deadly poison usually does the trick, so that should be fine.

Also, can't you find vibrators in Japan? I would have thought Tokyo would have special shops for them. ;p


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sharpinthefang
April 30th, 2014, 09:24
The list of medicine you can't bring into Japan contains a lot of things people take for granted, so it's highly recommended to check before you pack.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan (http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html)
This has a list of what you're allowed to bring in without a Yakkan Shoumei.
Note that you can only bring in a month's supply of deadly poison, so plan your poisonings accordingly.
Also, women, please note that you are limited to one set of "electric massaging tools".
(I love Japanese Government translations sometimes.)

Is that a month supply for one person or multiple people. And for the vibes, what about bars/whips/chains etc?

sharpinthefang
April 30th, 2014, 09:25
Unfortunately, I'm not a candidate for either IUD (had one- it tipped over and then I learned that my uterus is the wrong shape). Nuvaring is my only option. It's not on the list of illegals though - it's like Japan doesn't know it exists!
What about the implant, or do they not offer it in your country. As far as im aware, it works for 99% of people

Page
April 30th, 2014, 09:30
If you wanted an IUD in your home country you maybe (probably?) should have gotten one already because there are supposed to be check ups after your first period, a sixth month check, and then again at your yearly. Maybe they're just recommended checks but you should get in contact with an ob/gyn about what kind of timeline they have.

The pill here costs about 3000~4000/month, depending on the brand. There's an article about getting IUDs here if you are interested in knowing the Japanese involved: Contraception in Japan: Getting an IUD | Surviving in Japan: (without much Japanese) (http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2012/02/contraception-in-japan-getting-iud.html) Your mileage may vary if you're in the countryside, can't speak from experience, though.

Re: Yakkan, if you don't check it you should know that because of a change in customs last year we're only allowed 2 boxes of contacts at a time (which sucks for people who have different prescriptions in each eye) and since thems the rules online retailers won't send you more than two, either.

You can always do what most JETs do and pepper them throughout your luggage (I did this with a year's worth of BC) but it would suck to be the person who got caught doing it.

createdtodance7
April 30th, 2014, 09:46
If you wanted an IUD in your home country you maybe (probably?) should have gotten one already because there are supposed to be check ups after your first period, a sixth month check, and then again at your yearly. Maybe they're just recommended checks but you should get in contact with an ob/gyn about what kind of timeline they have.

The pill here costs about 3000~4000/month, depending on the brand. There's an article about getting IUDs here if you are interested in knowing the Japanese involved: Contraception in Japan: Getting an IUD | Surviving in Japan: (without much Japanese) (http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2012/02/contraception-in-japan-getting-iud.html) Your mileage may vary if you're in the countryside, can't speak from experience, though.

Re: Yakkan, if you don't check it you should know that because of a change in customs last year we're only allowed 2 boxes of contacts at a time (which sucks for people who have different prescriptions in each eye) and since thems the rules online retailers won't send you more than two, either.

You can always do what most JETs do and pepper them throughout your luggage (I did this with a year's worth of BC) but it would suck to be the person who got caught doing it.

Have you heard of anyone getting got by "pepper method"? I was also thinking about doing this with birth control. In Korea I can get a six month supply at a time for only $20 or so per pack. Seems like a potentially wasted opportunity.


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Page
April 30th, 2014, 11:12
No, it's a madhouse at the airport, though. Always good to have the YS on you if you can, I ended up deciding at the last minute to bring BC with me so I hadn't gotten one!

As for vibes and stuff there are plenty of stores, even in the inaka, but the quality of the toys (and if you want to go into one alone as a female foreigner) is another question. There are plenty of online JP websites that take conbini pay or furikomi, amazon.jp, too. And of course plenty of companies ship over here if you don't want to chance it popping out of your bags at the airport.

Gizmotech
April 30th, 2014, 11:26
The nice thing about coming over in the big group of jets is they usually have things coordinated for the mass of jets in particular. I don't remember then opening any of the Canadians bags at the airport (I was one of the last people through customs in my group ) and I seem to remember us going through "special"? Lines at that time.

Jiggit
April 30th, 2014, 12:36
No, it's a madhouse at the airport, though. Always good to have the YS on you if you can, I ended up deciding at the last minute to bring BC with me so I hadn't gotten one!

As for vibes and stuff there are plenty of stores, even in the inaka, but the quality of the toys (and if you want to go into one alone as a female foreigner) is another question. There are plenty of online JP websites that take conbini pay or furikomi, amazon.jp, too. And of course plenty of companies ship over here if you don't want to chance it popping out of your bags at the airport.

I know you can do Cash On Delivery for porn so I assume you can for sex toys too.

jacklostinred
April 30th, 2014, 12:42
Last year they had a special line for the immigration end because they were printing our gaijin card at immigration. The line was quite long I think we were waiting around 30 minutes to an hour to get through that line.
Once we were through that we grabbed our bags to go through baggage checks. Having that JET sticker on your shirt helped because the officers knew the drill and were asking basic questions. They asked me if I had any medication. I said no and that was it. Had I said Yes I am sure I would have had to show them.

Lianwen
April 30th, 2014, 12:52
As for vibes and stuff there are plenty of stores, even in the inaka, but the quality of the toys (and if you want to go into one alone as a female foreigner) is another question. There are plenty of online JP websites that take conbini pay or furikomi, amazon.jp, too. And of course plenty of companies ship over here if you don't want to chance it popping out of your bags at the airport.

Some companies will write the contents of the package if you do COD. I think they actually have to, but I'm not 100% sure.

Also. Tip, take out batteries before packing any toys for flying.

Jiggit
April 30th, 2014, 12:54
Some companies will write the contents of the package if you do COD. I think they actually have to, but I'm not 100% sure.

Also. Tip, take out batteries before packing any toys for flying.

They didn't write junior idol DVDs on mine, should be fine.

johnny
April 30th, 2014, 13:01
Some companies will write the contents of the package if you do COD. I think they actually have to, but I'm not 100% sure.

Also. Tip, take out batteries before packing any toys for flying.

Ed Norton: Was it ticking?

Airport Security Officer: Actually throwers don't worry about ticking 'cause modern bombs don't tick.

Ed Norton: Sorry, throwers?

Airport Security Officer: Baggage handlers. But, when a suitcase vibrates, then the throwers gotta call the police.

Ed Norton: My suitcase was vibrating?

Airport Security Officer: Nine times out of ten it's an electric razor, but every once in a while...
[whispering]
... it's a dildo. Of course it's company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.

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Ini
April 30th, 2014, 13:05
cant you just go native and use a papico like everyone else?

coop52
April 30th, 2014, 13:11
it's like Japan doesn't know it exists!

Exactly. I wouldn't worry about getting the form for it since it probably would cause more issues with trying to explain what it is.


Re-vibes and other adult things: get them on Amazon. They send everything in the regular Amazon box so your neighbors won't know what kinky shit you're into.

Randomgirl
April 30th, 2014, 14:29
LOL Lianwen, as the mother of a 5 year old, it took me a while to get your post. I was thinking, "Whaaaa? I'm making sure ALL the toys have batteries, I have to entertain a 5 year old on a 10 hour flight!!"

johnny
April 30th, 2014, 14:38
LOL Lianwen, as the mother of a 5 year old, it took me a while to get your post. I was thinking, "Whaaaa? I'm making sure ALL the toys have batteries, I have to entertain a 5 year old on a 10 hour flight!!"

No comment. ;p


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Randomgirl
April 30th, 2014, 23:31
Lol. Mommy brain.....

zombiekelly
May 1st, 2014, 05:40
From one girl to another... Don't bother bringing a bunch, Japanese toys are better.

johnny
May 1st, 2014, 08:56
That actually makes perfect sense. The Japanese have been working longer than anyone to perfect robotics.

PS, I am bored.

Corvus
May 2nd, 2014, 14:49
Anyone planning on bringing a desktop PC? The components should fit (minus the case) assuming you're somewhat familiar with assembling PCs.

Antonath
May 2nd, 2014, 14:59
Anyone planning on bringing a desktop PC? The components should fit (minus the case) assuming you're somewhat familiar with assembling PCs.
Unless you are ludicrously attached to your current PC, it's much easier to buy the components over here. They're fairly cheap if you shop around.

jacklostinred
May 2nd, 2014, 15:11
I suggest bringing a laptop. Some schools don't have computers for you to use, and in most cases, you can bring your computer to work. If you like gaming you can find a decent gaming laptop for a fair price too. Also if your desktop is fairly new sell it before you come over as you will probably end up replacing it when you get back if you don't.

johnny
May 2nd, 2014, 15:23
Yeah, laptops are good the better option for sure. My nearly three year old laptop runs X-com and Civ5 just fine.

As for work, I never get a computer to work with, so I often work on my tablet. What you can do is limited though.


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webstaa
May 2nd, 2014, 15:52
Unless you are ludicrously attached to your current PC, it's much easier to buy the components over here. They're fairly cheap if you shop around.

Desktop PC components are definitely not cheaper here. If you can find me a cheaper place to order (online) that US Amazon or Newegg, I would be very surprised.

The only problem with bringing any components is if you need to RMA them. Certain companies that contract out RMA/warranty service will not serve you outside of the country you bought the component in - and definitely will not pay for shipping.

Antonath
May 2nd, 2014, 16:14
Desktop PC components are definitely not cheaper here. If you can find me a cheaper place to order (online) that US Amazon or Newegg, I would be very surprised.
This changes depending on the exchange rate, but when I've bought components in the past, the prices on Amazon.jp were fairly similar to my usual retailers in the UK. I'd agree that the specialist retailers in Japan are often rip-off merchants of the highest order, though.

Jiggit
May 2nd, 2014, 18:36
Desktop PC components are definitely not cheaper here. If you can find me a cheaper place to order (online) that US Amazon or Newegg, I would be very surprised.

The only problem with bringing any components is if you need to RMA them. Certain companies that contract out RMA/warranty service will not serve you outside of the country you bought the component in - and definitely will not pay for shipping.

Gigabyte H87M-DH3: $94 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128616) vs 9334円 (http://www.dospara.co.jp/5shopping/detail_parts.php?bg=1&br=21&sbr=959&ic=363501&ft=H87+gigabyte&lf=0)
i5 4440: $194 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116942) vs 18750円 (http://www.dospara.co.jp/5shopping/detail_parts.php?bg=1&br=11&sbr=960&ic=375555&ft=i5+4440&lf=0)
Radeon R9-290: $399.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125500) vs 39981円 (http://www.dospara.co.jp/5shopping/detail_parts.php?bg=1&br=31&sbr=526&ic=382527&ft=R9+290&lf=0)
Crucial m500 120gb SSD: $76.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148693) vs 8481円 (http://www.amazon.co.jp/Crucial-2-5%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%E3%83%81-SATA6Gbps-120GB-CT120M500SSD1/dp/B00BSK1QAE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399023239&sr=8-1&keywords=crucial+m500)

Bored now but you get the idea. People think computer stuff is expensive in Japan, and it is if you go to a brick and mortar store, but you can get stuff at decent prices, though not cheaper than US prices. Bear in mind that US prices are basically the cheapest you'll find, any JETs not from the US will get a better deal in Japan.

webstaa
May 4th, 2014, 16:12
I stand corrected. I also was still stuck in the mindset that the Yen to Dollar exchange was in the mid-90s, not 102-103 where it is now.

The biggest thing to remember, is this: is the US, you only pay sales tax online if you live in the state you order it from (with a few exceptions.) In Japan, you will pay 8% on top of every price, no matter what site or what store you go to.
So from the above, $94 for a the motherboard or ¥10080. $194 for the 4440 or ¥20250. Bear in mind that you are 98% more likely to get free shipping in Japan than in the States. Mid to high end graphics cards have a much higher markup in MSRP (at least in the retail shops I've been in Osaka and Tokyo.) Higher end peripherals (mouse/keyboard etc) also tend to be marked up higher. The 3% bonus you might get from bringing money to Japan to buy you parts is eaten up in the 8% sales tax (going up to 10% next April too, unless that got canceled.)

Japanese retail prices are almost always higher (even online.) But Japanese stores (even online) also have more frequent and deeper discounts, especially on older models to clear out room for new stock.

If you time you visits to Akihabara etc right and hit up the right brick and mortar places (IE not yodo/bic/labi) you can get some fantastic prices, but 9/10 JETs don't have the time or money to do it once you get here. Budget for it now and you won't have to wait 3-4 months to put it together piecemeal (especially if you are aiming for "enthusiast" level hardware. I say, get your parts, get it running, then get it to Japan. (I wouldn't take a case, unless you have one you really like that isn't available in Japan - same with monitor) Keyboard and mouse don't take up that much room in your suitcase either.

The only downside to this is that if you need to RMA something, you will probably pay through the nose to send it back to the US while the RMA is valid or try to work something out with a different branch of the same country (for example Sapphire wants users in Japan to ship to CA or to Hong Kong...)