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The exact details of the sign up process can vary widely between companies but for the most part there are some basic rules to follow.


To do the self-shaken, you need to pre-book a timeslot. This doesn't seem to be binding, but rather an attempt at limiting crowds at certain times. You can come back later in the day if anything extra needs doing without making another appointment.

All parts of Japan use one website for the booking, so here's a guide to it.


In last week's post, we mentioned MEXT's massive update to their 学習指導要領 (gakushuu shidou youryou, "curriculum guidelines"), already in place in elementary schools since April, 2011 and scheduled to roll out in junior high schools and high schools in April, 2012 and April, 2013, respectively.

These guidelines define what must be covered in textbooks, so let's take a look at the new changes before we delve into the new editions themselves. (And if you teach in Japan but don't know what these guidelines are, you probably should.) So here we go!


Now that we have covered all the basic internet lingo that you need to know, lets cover how to shop for service providers. Availability can differ drastically depending on where you live, but if you live in a respectably sized town or city then you will likely  have a range of options available to you.


As I covered last week, the shaken process can be very expensive. You can drastically cut that cost (by around two thirds) by doing the thing yourself.

AccessJ's comprehensive guide starts today. Check back every week for the whole thing. Follow our RSS feed, Twitter or Facebook accounts for updates.


Heisei 17 books are so 7 years ago.
Last summer, we gave you a sneak peak at the upcoming edition of New Crown for the 2012 (平成24年度) school year. New Crown is actually only one of several texts approved by MEXT (the Monkasho) for use in junior high school classrooms in Japan.

As all major publishers update their content to stay in line with MEXT's curriculum guidelines, rolled out last April in elementary schools and scheduled to go into effect at junior highs from April, 2012, Japanese textbooks are getting major facelifts.

Today we kick off a miniseries by introducing the big players of junior high English. Here are the new editions of the six major textbooks used around the country:


So now that you know all the internet options, its time to learn how to decipher Japanese internet lingo.


Shaken (車検) is the name given to the checks and taxes levied on a vehicle in Japan. If you are a car owner, you better get familiar with it!


Today we explore a deep mystery of the Japanese language. What is the correct name for dinner?!
(...er, that'd be "supper" for many of our non-American readers.)

yesfit99 writes:

Is the correct Japanese word for the evening meal 晩ご飯 (ban gohan) or 夜ご飯 (yoru gohan)?

Ever since I was a kid, I always said ban gohan, but recently it seems like everyone on TV is calling it yoru gohan. At first I just thought it was stupid idols who don't know proper Japanese, but then I heard some pretty big-name celebrities saying yoru gohan, too.


Here's a fun game.


Looking for Japanese TV Variety Shows? Perhaps you'd be interested in some of our other posts.

Here starts a guide on all things internet!


Those crazy Japanese just can't take their alcohol!

First they go bright pink, then they fall asleep (with a neck-tie around their heads) in the street (or subway) using their wallet as a pillow, with a comedy snot bubble rising and falling from their nostril.

Okay, so perhaps there may be a hint of generalisation there...

...but there is also a genuine issue. Why do Japanese people find it hard to drink as much as many other nationalities? It can't be lack of exposure, because I know many Japanese people who drink every night (and don't seem to be in the least bit stigmatised because of it). So, why is it?

I decided to find out.


In a past Being an ALT series entry, we talked about the kinds of Japanese teachers you might encounter while working as an ALT. As a bit of an addendum and a bit of a departure from that line of thought, today we'll introduce the term デモしか先生 (demoshika sensei) and some of its associated history.


Holy smokes another month went by.

Well, I'm sure you're all gagging to know what you might have missed on AccessJ this month.

Well, this:

ヤフー cooking up a storm with two posts about angry foreigner-hating Japanese people: first on the need (or lack thereof) of ALTs in school, the next simply on how crap ALTs in Japan are.

Me writing like a badass about Changes to the Alien Registration Card, making awesome recommendations and Anki Study Decks for JLPT N3 Textbooks.  I helped the needy with my article on Unemployment Benefit in Japan, and still had time (thanks to a leap-year) to educate the masses on the annual car checkup you're supposed to do/have done.

Laura posting about Hina Matsuri, which is all about dolls and little girls (I won't judge), and two great ideas in our Worksheet Sunday series.

Then LP wrote a 2-part article on the changing scene of Japanese job interviews, and reliable Dan tried his best to entertain us with several new Banking in Japan posts. And good God if that wasn't enough, he also posted about Comparison Shopping Online. Get it while it's HOT.

Next month is going to kick this month in the goolies. I've been busy writing an in-depth 5-part guide to the User-Shaken process, whereby you can save about 100,000 yen (literally) on your car MOT. There will also be plenty of other goodness written by other, lesser authors (have to let them do something, you know).

Anyway, enough nonsense, follow our RSS feed so you don't miss anything next month, butterfingers.

You can also keep up-to-date through Twitter or Facebook, if you like "liking" and "twatpix" (and hey, who doesn't nowadays?). Also, don't forget that we now have a Pinterst (don't you wish YOUR website had a woman involved?). There you can see some of our best bits, and some extras from outside sources.

In Japan, most direct taxation is handled through your employer. However, regardless of whether you are self employed or work at a big corporation, there are still some deductions/rebates you can claim. One of the big ones is the medical expense deduction (iryouhi kosho 医療費控除). Here is how you claim it.