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Thread: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

  1. #1

    Default How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    This question is mostly directed toward current and past JETs, but anyone can answer if they'd like:

    Exactly how much stuff did you take with you when you moved to Japan? And I don't mean this is terms of lists on what things you should/should not bring, but in terms of actual volume. For example, you took 1 carry on bag, and two 28" suitcases full of stuff and bought the rest in Japan. Or you brought 1 carry on, and 1 large suitcase, and had two boxes shipped over with stuff.

    I'm trying to figure out the best and most economical way to get the stuff I need to my apartment in Japan. I know bringing the least amount possible is best, but if I can save money by bringing something along that I already own over having to buy a replacement in Japan, then I want to do that. I have pretty limited funds. I have saved about $2000 so far for startup costs for JET, and I want to use it frugally. I also have to keep in mind that possibly $500 of that fund will be used to buy suitcases, clothes, and omiyage prior to leaving for Japan.

    So, what I want to know is how many bags of stuff did you take with you when you moved to Japan? How much stuff did you have shipped? How much did it cost, in terms of purchase cost of the suitcases, luggage fees at the airport, and/or shipping costs? Is there anything you would have done differently if you could?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by JPNLKatie; April 2nd, 2016 at 04:22.

  2. #2
    Senior Member simplesam's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    This question is mostly directed toward current and past JETs, but anyone can answer if they'd like:

    Exactly how much stuff did you take with you when you moved to Japan? And I don't mean this is terms of lists on what things you should/should not bring, but in terms of actual volume. For example, you took 1 carry on bag, and two 28" suitcases full of stuff and bought the rest in Japan. Or you brought 1 carry on, and 1 large suitcase, and had two boxes shipped over with stuff.

    I'm trying to figure out the best and most economical way to get the stuff I need to my apartment in Japan. I know bringing the least amount possible is best, but if I can save money by bringing something along that I already own over having to buy a replacement in Japan, then I want to do that. I have pretty limited funds. I have saved about $2000 so far for startup costs for JET, and I want to use it frugally. I also have to keep in mind that possibly $500 of that fund will be used to buy suitcases, clothes, and omiyage prior to leaving for Japan.

    So, what I want to know is how many bags of stuff did you take with you when you moved to Japan? How much stuff did you have shipped? How much did it cost, in terms of purchase cost of the suitcases, luggage fees at the airport, and/or shipping costs? Is there anything you would have done differently if you could?

    Thank you in advance.
    Can I follow this up with a second question? Besides everything else mentioned (which is stuff I've thought about), is there a service like Cube-It (CUBE IT! オーストラリアから日本への荷物、スーツケース、ゴルフバッグはキューブの格安航空宅配で in case you've never seen it) for the US? It seems pretty remarkable and I hear the Australian JETs rave about it all the time. Most of the international box shipping companies tend to be restricted to the other hemisphere, though... :/

  3. #3

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    I'm not exactly sure what cube it is, but it looks to be a service that ships to Japan for a flat rate based on what can fit it a box. I know our United States Postal Service (USPS) has flat rate boxes too but I think they only ship nationally. Cube it seems pretty nice, I'm jealous.

  4. #4
    Senior Member simplesam's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    It's not just that. Cube It will ship up to cargo crates worth of things. You can basically UHaul yourself to Japan with it (might be a slight exaggeration, but still...). I was wondering if there was something like that for America? Maybe that would have been useful for your purposes?

  5. #5

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    I don't know. If there is, I don't know of it.

  6. #6
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Katie, I don't mean to sound negative, but if you can try to save up another $1000 or at the very least another $500.

    You really don't wanna rely on only $1500, unless you know for sure you won't spend as much on rent and other amenities on the first month.

    (If possible, try selling some of the things you won't need in Japan, or those you can easily replace in a few months when the pay's savings start coming in)

    Sometimes they can lend you money or give you an advanced but this is not a guarantee and you'll be at the mercy of whoever wants to help you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Wait until you talk to your predecessor, they'll be able to tell you what you need. And if they're competent adults like mine was then everything in your apartment will be in good shape and you won't need as much. You'll also get a better idea for start up costs. I only had to bring about $700 with me (and that got me to pay day).

    As for luggage, I brought my two suitcases and carry on. I didn't bring any omiyage.
    Last edited by moonbeam; April 2nd, 2016 at 16:50.

  8. #8
    Professional Fun Killer hypatia's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Two full-sized suitcases (Exactly at that 50lb cut off, haha), rolling carry-on suitcase and backpack. The only thing I had mailed from home was my winter clothes, and since we arrive in summer there was no rush for that.

    As others have posted, it's likely that you'll be moving into an apartment where you pred(s!) has been living, so don't worry about buying too much. My pred was the first in this particular apartment and didn't buy a ton as far as furniture, but the basics were here and I've been able to slowly furnish it over time.

    As far as buying stuff for Japan, unless it will be difficult to find things in your size (shoes, clothes, bras, etc), Japan has pretty much anything that you might need from home, unless you are really sold on using a particular brand of something. I didn't bring omiyage. I teach at too many schools, and they don't really expect it from you. If you feel it's really necessary then you can talk to your pred to get more info, but just bring small, cheap, individually packaged snacks. You don't have to drop a lot of dough (really).

  9. #9
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    A) Shipping stuff will always be more expensive if you can't move a 1/8 container
    B) Most of the stuff you think you will need you won't.
    C) The rest of the stuff you also think you will need you won't.
    D) The last hold out group you're thinking of right now, including binky the bear, you won't need
    E) Honestly, wait until you hear from your pred (if you have one) before planning to ship a bunch of crap.

    I wasted 300$ shipping over a bunch of stuff I never used, and I also brought a bunch of crap I never used because my life changed DRASTICALLY when I arrived.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Thanks for your help everyone. Quick question though. Does anyone know what size, "standard check-in luggage" is? Is it 28" or 30"?

  11. #11
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    A) Shipping stuff will always be more expensive if you can't move a 1/8 container
    B) Most of the stuff you think you will need you won't.
    C) The rest of the stuff you also think you will need you won't.
    D) The last hold out group you're thinking of right now, including binky the bear, you won't need
    E) Honestly, wait until you hear from your pred (if you have one) before planning to ship a bunch of crap.

    I wasted 300$ shipping over a bunch of stuff I never used, and I also brought a bunch of crap I never used because my life changed DRASTICALLY when I arrived.
    word

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Thanks for your help everyone. Quick question though. Does anyone know what size, "standard check-in luggage" is? Is it 28" or 30"?
    Totally meaningless; focus on weight, not volume; that's gonna be your real limiting factor.

    Edit: Unless you're doing something weird. If you're doing something weird, your situation may be different from the vast majority of other JETs with whom you're traveling.
    Last edited by word; April 4th, 2016 at 00:59.
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  12. #12
    Professional Fun Killer hypatia's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Thanks for your help everyone. Quick question though. Does anyone know what size, "standard check-in luggage" is? Is it 28" or 30"?
    Guidelines vary depending on which airline you fly (which can be found by googling "checked baggage" plus your airline. A cursory glance shows that most guidelines give a size that the total dimensions shouldn't exceed anyhow rather that a set maximum height ) Unless you need to buy the luggage right now, you'll find out relevant info (like which airline you'll probably be flying with and packing recommendations) from the JET Coordinator at your consulate.

    TL;DR - You just found out you were shortlisted. You don't even know where you're going yet, haven't talked to your pred, and haven't gotten any info from your coordinator. Slow your roll. Enjoy the excitement while it lasts. Also, perhaps consult Google occasionally for easily answered questions.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    word

    Totally meaningless; focus on weight, not volume; that's gonna be your real limiting factor.
    Yeah this, 100%

    (although based on her first post about needing to buy luggage, I'm assuming that she's asking for that reason)

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    Member the4ork's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    "When you arrive in Japan, you will be greeted in the arrival lobby by travel agency representatives. You will then be directed to a shipping area where luggage can be sent to your contracting organisation. Please note, you
    may only be permitted to take one large piece of luggage (suitcase or rucksack) and one hand-held carry-on with
    you to the Post-Arrival Orientation venue."

    "From the airport, each JET participant is only allowed to bring one large suitcase or rucksack and one
    carry-on to the Post-Arrival Orientation venue. This is due to space limitations and is strictly enforced at
    the airport. From the airport to the hotel, you can also take a laptop computer, but you will have to hold it
    on your lap with your carry-on. The remainder of your baggage will be sent from the airport to your
    contracting organisation using a prearranged domestic delivery company.* The cost of this service will
    vary depending on the size, weight and destination of each piece of baggage. Excessively large/heavy
    pieces of baggage may incur extra charges. One piece of baggage costs approximately 2,500-5,000 yen
    and takes 3-5 days to deliver. There are times when you receive your baggage after you have arrived at
    your contracting organisation. For this reason, please pack necessary items for an extra two days in your
    carry-on."




    Am I the only one who read the GI Handbook?
    Last edited by the4ork; April 4th, 2016 at 05:22.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by the4ork View Post
    "When you arrive in Japan, you will be greeted in the arrival lobby by travel agency representatives. You will then be directed to a shipping area where luggage can be sent to your contracting organisation. Please note, you
    may only be permitted to take one large piece of luggage (suitcase or rucksack) and one hand-held carry-on with
    you to the Post-Arrival Orientation venue."

    "From the airport, each JET participant is only allowed to bring one large suitcase or rucksack and one
    carry-on to the Post-Arrival Orientation venue. This is due to space limitations and is strictly enforced at
    the airport. From the airport to the hotel, you can also take a laptop computer, but you will have to hold it
    on your lap with your carry-on. The remainder of your baggage will be sent from the airport to your
    contracting organisation using a prearranged domestic delivery company.* The cost of this service will
    vary depending on the size, weight and destination of each piece of baggage. Excessively large/heavy
    pieces of baggage may incur extra charges. One piece of baggage costs approximately 2,500-5,000 yen
    and takes 3-5 days to deliver. There are times when you receive your baggage after you have arrived at
    your contracting organisation. For this reason, please pack necessary items for an extra two days in your
    carry-on."




    Am I the only one who read the GI Handbook?

    Yes, I had read this before making this post. However, this does not tell me how many extra pieces of luggage JETs typically take with them when moving to Japan. All it tells me is that you are only allowed to bring two to orientation and the rest will be sent to your placement. But, since posting this, I have found out JETs typically take two large suitcases and one carry-on, and some may or may not have their winter clothes shipped to them.

  16. #16
    Member the4ork's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Yes, I had read this before making this post. However, this does not tell me how many extra pieces of luggage JETs typically take with them when moving to Japan. All it tells me is that you are only allowed to bring two to orientation and the rest will be sent to your placement. But, since posting this, I have found out JETs typically take two large suitcases and one carry-on, and some may or may not have their winter clothes shipped to them.
    Ohhhh, gotcha. Wellp, having lived in Japan before, if you're concerned about what to bring with... just bring with necessities. Gizmotech pretty much nailed it. I'm only planning on bringing with clothes, a laptop, and assorted herbs and spices for cooking (because herbs and spices are expensive as fuck in Japan). Everything else you're better off buying in Japan because shipping is expensive. If you end up only staying a year, it's also a fantastic waste of money. Seasonal clothing is best bought in Japan too, it's really not that expensive if you know how to shop smart.
    Last edited by the4ork; April 4th, 2016 at 07:44.

  17. #17

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Most JETs go with whatever they can take for free on the airliner. So two standard sized suitcases, a carry on, and a "personal item" are what most people bring. There's usually plenty of time at the airport to send a suitcase on via Yamato/Sagawa/Japan Post etc as you can only take one large suitcase to orientation - in fact, I'd recommend sending both and only taking the necessities for orientation with you. Depending on your placement, you might end up hauling a large suitcase through a couple stations/shinkansen or even a domestic flight (so you'd probably end up paying a baggage fee.) In fact - at TO, there was a option to send the second large suitcase ahead for exactly that reason. IIRC I paid 4000 from the airport and 3500 from the Keio for my suitcases.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Yes, I had read this before making this post. However, this does not tell me how many extra pieces of luggage JETs typically take with them when moving to Japan. All it tells me is that you are only allowed to bring two to orientation and the rest will be sent to your placement. But, since posting this, I have found out JETs typically take two large suitcases and one carry-on, and some may or may not have their winter clothes shipped to them.
    Take Valium with you. Lots.

  19. #19
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    There's no point bringing much stuff, 1 suitcase and a carry on bag should be enough. Most the men end up losing weight in the first few months because they turn up obese and out of shape so the lack of triple bacon cheeseburgers cause them to slim down and the women always end up eating their feelings and balloon up so none of your clothes will fit in 6 months time anyway
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Hypno-Bro's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much luggage to take with you when moving to Japan?

    Hahahaa

    Ini with the cold hard truth pill
    Swallow it

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