Monday, January 30, 2012

Changes in Japanese Job Interviews (2/2)

Among the frantic fanaticism of Dogs and Demons, Alex Kerr lays down a valid point: The pinnacle of the Japanese education system are students who are extremely good at memorizing and reciting data. So has the world of Japanese interviews long rewarded interviewees: Those who could flawlessly recite a 60-second 自己紹介 and 志望動機, answer predictable questions with predictable answers, and complete the motions of the process, got the job.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Banking in Japan #6: ATMs

Because Japanese ATMs tend to differ slightly from cash points found in North America and Europe, we have put together this guide to help you figure out your withdraws, deposits and everything in between.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shopping for Clothes in Japan - Online

I have spoken in a previous post about the difficulty of buying clothes in Japan for those not possessing a Japanese body-shape.

It's not impossible, especially in bigger cities. For example Tokyo is home to H&M, Zara, and Gap to name a few. But if you live outside of a big city, like me, you will usually find Uniqlo and not much else.

I get around this problem by buying online.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Changes in Japanese Job Interviews (1/2)

Job interviews are changing in Japan. That's the message every recent Japanese 就活 book seems to be trying to pound into the heads of its readers, and I personally agree with it. In my own experience, I could tell that companies weren't so interested in whether I had an encyclopedic knowledge of interview etiquette and rote-memorized answers to questions like "What is your greatest strength and weakness?" or "Do you consider yourself a rock or a sponge?" as they were with my actual capacity and drive to work in a way that promotes company growth (as opposed to mere sustainability.)

My wall-of-text take on the subject, objective, anecdotal, and fueled almost entirely by personal experience interviewing for jobs at big- and not-so-big-name firms in Tokyo and elsewhere, follows. But for readers who want the tl;dr, here it is: job interviews at Japanese companies, in Japan, for Japanese and foreign applicants alike, are growing more and more alike their Western counterparts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

WS: 5 Great "Anything OK" Games

Been asked for a whole class worth of games?

"Ah, anything OK! Fun games!"

Great. Well, here are five+ ways to fill that time, in AccessJ's first "Best Of".

Friday, January 20, 2012

Banking in Japan #5: J-Debit and Pay Easy

Today's fun filled financial post will cover non-credit card payment options available to most regular bank account holders.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ikea Japan

Japan has Ikea, which is good news for those who like the struggle of constructing their own furniture. I put a bed together yesterday... the less said about that the better.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Years Cards and Family Deaths

So you sent (or tried to send) out a lot of New Year's cards this year, to which you received a lot of warm, preprinted, orange, 50-yen-ink-stamped postcard replies. But among your replies this year was a normal, non-New Year's postcard with a normal, non-New Year's stamp, and it came a week later than your other cards, to boot. It all seems a little out of character from your Japanese friend, who's normally so attentive to tradition. What's the deal?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

WS: Months JHS 1st G

Here's a 20-30 minute activity using months. It also uses the active tense "he plays soccer" "he eats takoyaki" etc..

Friday, January 13, 2012

Renewing Your Drivers License

In today's post we will cover the when, where, and how of driver license renewal in Japan.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Maybe you're already aware of the major regulatory distinctions of cars in Japan: bigger cars with bigger engines get white license plates, smaller cars with smaller engines get yellow "kei" plates, and scooters and the like get even littler plates. But there's another, less common classification... or perhaps "loophole" is a more fitting term. It's called a ミニカー (minicar).

Sunday, January 08, 2012

WS: The Flat Stanley Project

Never heard of it? It's an international exchange of student-made paper cut-outs resulting in photos of them in different places. It's a lovely idea, though not without it's problems. I'll talk you through it here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Wholesalers and Buying in Bulk in Japan

Our US readers are most likely familiar with the business of consumer wholesaling. For those ex-pats in Japan longing to buy kilogram loads of bagels, you aren't entirely out of luck.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

License Plate Trivia

License plates* in Japan come in a variety of sizes and colors, with different marking to indicate different information about the car. Today we'll learn about some of the major differences in license plates and what they mean!
*(or registration plates, or number plates, or whatever your country calls them. :) )

Monday, January 02, 2012

Choking on mochi? Grab a vacuum.

Every year, a few Japanese people die over New Year celebrations by choking on mochi they swallowed whole. (For real. Here's a news report about 7 mochi choking deaths over January 1st to January 3rd last year.)