Friday, December 30, 2011

Banking in Japan #4: Internet Banking and Net Banks

While banking online in Japan hasn't quite caught on to the extend that it has in other countries, banks offer plenty of services to help you monitor your cash flow. In addition, several large companies have opened up net only banks.

In this section we will explain how to bank online in Japan as well as the various net-banking options.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UC Gift Cards/Vouchers

UC Gift Cards are what we'd call gift vouchers or certificates in the UK. It's a version of money which can only be spent in certain shops. UC's usage is pretty wide though, so if you have one, read on to see what to do with it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Leopalace Internet: LEO-NET

Leopalace apartments come wired with the company's own proprietary broadband Internet service, dubbed レオネット, or LEO-NET. This is, to me, is one of the apartments' biggest strengths, but it also highlights exactly how little control you have when you live in Leopalace.

Check out our AccessJ review below.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Converting Licence from Automatic to Manual

Most cars in Japan are automatic transmission, which could mean that, should you take a driving course in Japan, you may be inclined not to pay the extra for the manual classification.

However, you may regret that decision if you later require a change.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Leopalace Furnishings and Bathrooms

They advertise it like this.
Recently we've been looking at the ubiquitous pay-by-the-month Leopalace apartments of Japan. ALTs are often placed in these buildings, because their managing company (that is, the apartments' managing company) plays down a few rules of traditional Japanese real estate, including nixing the need for a guarantor and being friendly, or at least open, towards foreign tenants.

Today we'll take a look at the furnishings and bathroom setup of your standard, run-of-the-mill 1K Leopalace.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

WS: 5 More Games for the "Special" Class

Well, still don't know how to refer to this class. In any case, here are some more games you can play with yours.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How to Donate Bone Marrow

This is a repost, by permission, from Save Aidan - a donation drive to help a fellow ex-pat recently diagnosed with Leukemia and in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. If you have any spare cash, even a few hundred yen or a dollar, he would appreciate it

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Japanese Moths

Moths are wicked cool! Right?

Well, Japan has a large number of pretty exotic looking baby moths (caterpillars to you and me), some of which are even poisonous. They turn into a wide variety of pretty swanky looking adult moths (i.e. moths), too.

Luckily for the moth enthusiast, there is a website devoted to detailing each and every Japanese species. It's in Japanese, but not hard to work out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Living in a Leopalace Apartment

My last apartment in Japan was a Leopalace. These are becoming a more common setup for ALTs in Japan, and many people seem to be curious about what the buildings and facilities are like. Although I'm sure my experience won't be representative of every Leopalace in Japan, I'll be sharing some of my memories of the place in this brief set of articles.

To begin with, I'll address my personal experiences with and opinions on noise, insulation, price, and guarantors.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WS: "Better/Best Bingo" 2nd G JHS

Along with last week's post, here is another option for practicing the comparative and superlative forms introduced in 2nd grade junior high textbooks.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Banking in Japan #2: Opening an Account

Today: opening a bank account!

Don't be put off by the inevitable language barrier, it's very doable.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Being an ALT #18: What to Keep in Your Desk

Over time teaching I've accumulated a lot of stuff in my desk. Most of it is papers, textbook samples, student grades, past exams, articles and publications about English, and Japanese learning resources. But there are a few odds and ends around me that I probably didn't expect I'd use with such regularity before I got into the job.

Here are a few of the things that maybe not everyone associates with teaching or lesson planning, but which I now find essential or which have helped me out in tight situations:

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Friday, December 02, 2011

Banking in Japan #1: The Basics

For the next super-feature, AccessJ will be covering the details of banking in Japan: everything from opening an account to sending money overseas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Local Event Guides

When it gets to the weekend, hanging out at home or revisiting the same pub for the umpteenth time can be a drag. Why not use the Internet to find something new to do? Any Google search can pull up a number of websites with local event guides, of course, but why spend your time wading through all those garbage sites to find the few that regularly update and have events you might actually want to attend when we'll introduce two to you right here today!?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cheap Car Navi/GPS Units in Japan

Looking for GPS? Been put off by stories of paying 70,000+? Well, we have the cheaper options covered, just for you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WS: 5 Games for the "Special" Class

What's the politically correct word for the "special class"? Mentally handicapped?

I'm not sure, so sorry for any offence caused. Anyway, here are some fun games I've played with mine in the past.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vice: Japanese Dekotora Trucks Video

The other day, the folks over at VICE sent us a heads up about a video they recently released entitled Japan - Dekotora Trucks, part of a new MINI-sponsored series on their site.

If you've lived in Japan for a while (or at least driven here much), you've probably spotted occasional cargo-laden semi trucks cruising down the highway with lines of blue LEDs trimming their exteriors. Those LED lights are just an inkling of the Japanese dekotora subculture, a semi truck modding scene that's been around here since the 70's. Check out the video below to learn more about it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whey Protein in Japan

Want to buy some whey protein for maximum macho muscle madness? Or some other reason? As with so many things, AccessJ has got you covered.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Maggie Sensei's Job Hunting Vocab

It's been a while since we wrote about job hunting here, although it always seems a continuing point of consternation for some number of our readers. If you're like me, anyway, when you're out of a job or nearing the end of a contract, finding a new one is always on the mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WS: "He is Mr Dom" 1st G JHS

When it comes to the "Who is this...?" question and he/she answers, I use this sheet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Over-the-Counter Drugs in Japan

Nothing is worse than getting sick in a far-away land and having to drag yourself off to a doctor. Following our recent medical theme, today's feature we will explain the world of Japanese over the counter (OTC) medications (一般用医薬品 ippan-yo iyakuhin).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

English Language Newspapers

There are several Japanese papers available in English, although they are often supplemented with articles from other English-speaking countries' newspapers. Some are also aimed more at Japanese people practicing English than English readers. This blog will give an overview of the most popular print and eNewspapers available.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Virtual Travel in Japan

Earlier this year, NHK unveiled their "Michishiru" interactive map site, a virtual tour guide of places and events all over Japan, introduced through streaming video segments of NHK on-location footage. The site targets a Japanese audience, as a way to find out about different destinations to visit within Japan.

However, it also makes for good intermediate-to-advanced Japanese listening practice, and even travelers who don't read or speak Japanese well will find that the intuitive interface and videos speak quite well for themselves.

Just drag and zoom the map around to any part of Japan you're interested in and click on one of the "Play" icons for a virtual tour of it!

Check out the site here: NHK映像マップみちしる

Sunday, November 13, 2011

WS: "I want to be a..." 2nd G JHS

Just over half-way through second grade junior high, students learn about future job aspirations. Lucky for them, I made an awesome sheet about it!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pharmacies and Prescriptions in Japan

Now that we have covered health insurance, medical specialties, and dentists, it seem only fair that we tell you about the ins and outs of your local Japanese pharmacy establishments.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

AccessJ's JLPT Anki Decks

Due to a lack of decent Anki decks for JLPT examinees that aren't riddled with mistakes, filled with ads, or home to controversial vocabulary choices, I have made some.

In this post, we give instructions for finding and installing our decks, one for each JLPT level.

In addition, we now have some incredibly thorough decks for every book of the Nihongo So-Matome N3 series.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Import Duties on Taxable Goods

Thinking of buying something from abroad? There's a good chance you won't be charged any import duties if it's a small item, but if the value is declared and the object isn't a gift, be prepared to shell out some cash for the privilege.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Going to the Dentist in Japan

Today: the dentist (歯科 shika).

Despite the fact that the Japanese seems to suffer from a rather high case yaeba (double or indented teeth), cosmetic dentistry is still much less common when compared to Western countries.

However, there are plenty of dental clinics all over the country. In today's guide we will cover all the important differences and points of interest regarding the Japanese dental establishment.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Brewing Your Own Beer in Japan

Japanese beer is very expensive in bars. Sure, you can buy cans for 200yen, but if you want to save some money (or are infuriated over the difference from the prices of your home country) then why not brew it yourself?

Got the space? And the patience? Check out below.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Know Your Japanese Prescription Drugs

For those of you who like to know the side-effects, ingredients and other details of your medications, there is an English-language site designed just for you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Going to the Doctor in Japan

As you frequent AccessJ readers may have noticed, we have just covered the various medical specialities in Japan as well as the Japanese health insurance system. Following up on our medical theme, today we will look at the important points of getting fixed up at the local clinic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dialects in Japan (map)

Japanese learners beware: Japan has some vastly different dialects. This post features a map of where the most prominent variations apply. Yay!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Suicide Helplines in Japan

If living in Japan, or other things, are causing abnormal amounts of unhappy feelings, here are some numbers of people who can help.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

WS: "The computer is on the desk" Game 1st G JHS

This is a fun game using prepositions. It exists in various forms for various grammar points from various sources online. Here is how we at AccessJ play it, which is by far the smoothest way we've found.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Medical Specialties in Japan

Since we have recently been covering the topic of health insurance, it seems logical to follow up with information about the various types of services you can get for your hard earned insurance money. Today, we will look at the medical specialities in Japan.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Live International TV in Japan

Missing your favorite rugby matches, Wimbledon or wheelchair athletics? Need your fix of Neighbours on BBC1? Desperately need to watch your social and mental inferiors kick a ball and fall over deliberately?

Here's how you can keep up to date.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Buying Scuba Diving Equipment in Japan

As with several other things and previous posts (vitamins, clothes etc), the cheapest way to buy scuba gear in Japan is to not actually buy it here at all. Rather, import it.

I have just bought loads of equipment, and hunted out the cheapest international deal to do so. Here are my findings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Health Insurance Guide #5: Do I Need Insurance At All?

Now for the final installment of our health insurance series, where we will address the monetary and moral dilemma of whether or not you really need insurance.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being an ALT #17: What To Wear?

Do you need a suit? Can you wear sandals in the summer? Is it Okay to not wear a bra?

All this and more answered within.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

WS: "How Many?" Drawing Game 1st G JHS

This is a simple activity I found on Englishpedia. It's good, but like virtually everything on there needs updating for the 21st century. I've done that, and play it slightly differently.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Health Insurance Guide #4: Optional Insurance

Today's topic is optional health insurance, which covers hospital fees and doctor fees that are not covered by your regular insurance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Being an ALT #16: School Lunch

We've posted before about school lunch, several times. But to be more comprehensive we've decided to update our old entries and incorporate them into the Being an ALT series.

So, let's explore the wonders of school lunch time in Japan.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The New Kindle and Japanese eBooks and Manga

Well, the new Kindle has come out! In fact, three have. The original version with the keyboard has been replaced by one without a keyboard (still eInk), the same device with a touchscreen, and a new, full colour Kindle rival to the iPad.

How will this affect your manga and Japanese reading??? Let's find out.

Static Home Page in Blogger - Yes, You Can!

Although off subject for this site, this is an entry covering how to create a static home page in Blogger.