Friday, August 31, 2012

Being Cheap in Japan: Keeping Track of Your Reciepts

It is no secret that Japan has a reputation for being an expensive place to live.I am sure you have heard the horror stories of people being forced to shell out almost 100,000 for a "rabbit hutch" sized room in Tokyo and melons that sell for half a months salary.

But fear not, there are plenty of ways to save money even in the most expensive of cities. Since we covered the traditional Japanese house hold account book (AKA the kakeibo), it seems fitting to inaugurate our new Being Cheap in Japan series with a look at how to keep track of your household expenses.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Statistics on Japan - Everything from Savings to Facebook Users

Whether you want to know where all the poorest people congregate, or where the most whiskey in Japan is being consumed, I have the site for you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Q&A: When is it OK to Laugh?

Thank heaven the Internet is here to help solve the little insecurities we face each day...

Q: When I watch TV with my little sister, we laugh at different parts of the show. My sister makes fun of me and says, "Your timing is off!" At the time I just got angry and said, "No, you're off!" ...but, there isn't a standard for when to laugh at a TV show, right? We're free to laugh at whatever part we want, right?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kakeibo: The Japanese Household Account Book

A time honored tradition of housewives across Japan, the kakeibo (家計簿), or "household account book" is as ubiquitous as a television or microwave in many Japanese houses.

While keeping a household expense ledger is by no means unique to Japanese households, the meticulous way in which housewives hang on to and, come pay day, tabulate up every last receipt and bill is quite amazing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Six Questions About Buying a House in Japan

Many thanks to Ben in Hiroshima for today's post on buying a house in Japan. Ben is a new home owner and shared his buying experience in this exclusive AccessJ interview.

So you've got a job, a car, maybe you're even married, and you're thinking about taking another step forward in planting your roots in Japan: Buying a house to live in. House shopping will open up all kinds of questions: Do you want a マンション atop a 45-floor building or your own (perhaps tiny) plot of land to call home? What's your budget? Who will be living in the home? What silly neighborhood watch programs and trash disposal schedules are you willing to put up with?

The list goes on. But today, we'll start with some of the important financial questions. Grab your reading glasses and check out the interview below:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Destination: Ushuku Daibutsu, Ibaraki

Having just relocated from Nagano to Ibaraki-ken, AJ co-founder Dom and I have a lot of exploring to do!
We started with the largest standing Buddha in the world, located in Ushiku, southern Ibaraki. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

VICS (Vehical Information and Communication System)

A ways back, we posted about finding your own affordable GPS car navigation unit. However, in good Japanese fashion, many Japanese GPS units come with features that are in no way part of the global standard.

One such feature is Vehical Information and Communication System, or VICS (also known as doro kotsu joho tsushin shisutemu 道路交通情報通信システム) for short. Let's take a look at what this feature actually does.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Changing the Mesh in Your Amido Bug Screens (網戸)

Japanese houses are made up of four different types of sliding door (if you include the windows). I've already written guides on how to replace the paper on your sliding shouji paper screens and your fusuma doors. So, to complete the "DIY Doors in Japan" series, here's how to replace or repair the mesh in your bug screens, or amido (網戸).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Finding Private Baths and Onsen in Japan

I love Japanese onsens. I love the relaxing water, the pleasant designs of the tubs, and the views they often overlook--even the smell of sulfur has grown on me.

In fact, the only thing about onsens that I don't enjoy is the whole getting naked with a bunch of other guys part.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Getting Around Internet TV Region Restrictions in Japan

By now you have probably encountered the dreaded "this content is not available in your region" message when trying to watch your favorite free online TV website. Allegedly, content providers say this is due to discrepancies in cross-border copyright laws, although I personally suspect they are just trying to find ways to squeeze extra yen out of some poor ex-pats. Look no further than Hulu's recent entrance into the Japanese market, where they have the gall to charge you 980 yen a month for content that your American and Canadian peers can enjoy for the price of a few commercials.

But don't worry, where there is a will there is a way around content protection. In today's feature we will show you how to get that latest Simpson episode with putting yourself on the line for jail time by resorting to the dastardly art of internet piracy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Checklist When Moving House in Japan

We'll publish individual guides on how to accomplish these steps in the future, but for now here is a to-do list when you move from one place to another in Japan.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Car Recycling in Japan

By now your have probably heard the horror stories of unsuspecting ex-pats forced to pay hefty sums of cash just for a dealer to scrap their cars. Or even worse, those unscrupulous individuals who simply couldn't be bothered to recycle anything and dump their cars in woods.

But thanks to the enactment of the Car Recycling Law, disposal is much less of a hassle. Let's take a look.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Selling Your Car

So you finally have enough money saved up for that fancy new ride and you are ready to get rid of your old rust buck. But how do you go about getting it off your hands? Well, there are always local JETs and ALTs looking for cheap rides, but if you are unlucky enough not to know any of the local ex-pat community, there are other ways to get rid of your jalopy.