We hope that you enjoyed reading the first part of this article about expat life in Japan, in which we were discussing the most important aspects of everyday expat life in Japan. We are happy to introduce the second part of the list of things you need to pay attention if you want to live a comfortable expat life in Japan.
Local Municipal Offices.
Local municipal offices play a significant role in everyday life of the society because they carry out residency registration procedures, issue essential documents like “Tax Certificate” and “Residence Certificate,” provide residents with the schedule of most important events in your residential area, etc. The last one gives an opportunity to participate in local festivals and get to know your neighbors. Therefore, it would be a good idea to visit your local municipal office. The staff of a municipal office is very accommodating and usually have pamphlets and guides in several languages. If you are living in Shibuya, Shinjuku or Bunkyo Ward, you are fortunate, because their staff is multilingual.
Here is the link to the website in which you can find your local municipal office in Tokyo, and check if it provides support in English language.
Although you see a lot of people with animals on the streets of Japan, unfortunately when it comes to finding a pet-friendly apartment you might face some challenge. If you have a pet while searching for an apartment or condo, you must make sure that your real estate agent knows about it. Most property owners do not allow pets, especially if the property is brand new. Unfortunately, the number of the apartments that allow pets is very scarce. You will understand how difficult it is by only adding “pets allowed” tag to the apartment search and suddenly there are just six apartments left from the initial 100. Therefore, to live a comfortable expat life in Japan, you must be prepared for challenges when looking for a pet-friendly home. After completing these tasks, there is another news for you:
In most cases, you will have to pay an additional one-month rental fee as a deposit for the potential damage that your pet can cause. We specifically highlighted “in most cases” because there is no official rule or law. However, it is a standard procedure because the owner is afraid that your pet will cause considerable damage to the apartment. The only good news is that you need to pay the extra cost only once when moving.
A postal box that you need to live a comfortable expat life in Japan.
In Japan postal box plays a huge role in everyday expat life in Japan. You get all the payment bills, parcels, documents through your mailbox to which Japanese people pay significant attention and also like to decorate in different ways. Recently built condos and residential complexes have an exclusive “Takuhai Box” (TB hereafter), which is short for the word Takkyubin – registered mail and courier service that can deliver a variety of goods from suitcases to a postcard. The advantage of TB is that delivery staff can bring a registered parcel and get the Hanko stamp even if you are absent. Hence, both the delivery company and customer feel safe and be sure that the package will be delivered without any issue. There are several types of TB and consequently several ways to use it. For example, in the LeoPalace21, every apartment`s door had a small locker with a postcard hole above it. In case if you were absent, delivery staff could leave the parcel in the cabinet and insert the paper with the pin code into the postcard hole. When returning home, you input the pin code written on the piece of paper, and you got the parcel. Simple as that to make expat life in Japan better!
Unfortunately, in the case of a registered mail that requires your signature, you still had to order the package on the day you are present. After reviewing the issues of the previous TB, manufacturers came up with a new type of TB, which can put Hanko stamp on the document. It can only stamp once, right after placing the package into the box so you can be sure that nobody will use your signature for a fraud. In addition to this, the Hanko stamp that is used to confirm registered mail, cannot be used for money transfers, contracts or for other valuable documents.
The make your expat life in Japan easier we added the following link with a video explanation of how to use a TB – link. For those who do not understand the Japanese language we came up with a short description in English:
The first part of the video shows instruction for the delivery staff, which is very simple. They justneed to open the box, place the package, push down the leverage, close the door and get a Hanko stamp by pushing the “なつ印,” which means “Seal” in Japanese. The video shows it clearly that a document can be sealed only once, eliminating the possibility of fraud. The second part of the video shows how a resident can get his parcel. Just open the Takuhai box with the particular key and press the “開ける” – “Open” button.
Despite the advantages mentioned above having a postal box can be annoying for expat life in Japan. It is always a target for “チラシ” – “Chirashi, ” spammers in Japan. “Chirashi” means “Flyer” in Japanese and commonly contains different advertising information. You will probably get a lot of “Chirashi” almost every day, and at the end of the week, your postal box might look like a rubbish box. If you are not interested in the news regarding discounts from local food chains, gyms, real estate agencies, etc. one way to avoid it is to put a sticker with the following text on the mailbox:
“チラシ・勧誘印刷物 無断投函一切お断り” which means “We do not accept any flyers or printed ads in our mailbox.“
If you are not good at typing Japanese kanji, Amazon sells plates with this text on them for only 420JPY and offers Prime delivery. Hence, order the sticker today and get rid of the annoying Chirashi! Japanese people are very cautious and will not put “spam” in your mailbox once you ask them.
However, if you want to eliminate the Chirashi from your expat life in Japan, you can add the following text:
This magical phrase will scare off the stiffest spammers because it means that there is a surveillance camera in operation. Even if you do not have any camera, this will keep the Chirashi from getting into your mailbox.
Finally, in case if you do not have the TB in your apartment or condo and still want to get the parcel after 8 PM, you can always ask it to be delivered to the nearest convenience store. Once it’s there, you will get a notification from the convenience store which you need to bring along with any identification document to pick up a parcel.
In conclusion, we want to say that there are many other aspects of everyday life, which are useful to know if you’re going to have an excellent expat life in Japan. Thus, if you have any additional questions, we will be happy to answer them.