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Friday

Even if you have never set foot in Japan, there is a good chance you have heard of the unbridled wackiness that is Japanese television. Believe it or not, the inanity that is makes up the bulk of silly game shows and variety shows can be a treasure trove of kanji and listening knowledge for all those who are trying to master the Japanese Language Proficency Test.



Wednesday

In our archives, we have a lot of great articles about moving house within Japan. We cover a lot of basics, from a checklist of things you'll need to do before and after the move, to explanations of common terms in the Japanese real estate gig like shikikin and reikin, common features of apartments, and a description of how Japanese apartments are classified.

What we haven't done, yet, is provide a real time account of what steps you go through when you decide you want to move from one rental property to another. Over the next few weeks, I'll share one of my own moving experiences in Japan. If you're planning a move yourself, I hope you find some good information in it, and if you don't have a move in mind yet, I hope you find the read entertaining.



Monday

If you don't have time to do your shaken yourself, you can do what a majority of Japanese car owners do: Ask a business to take care of the process for you.

Although figures for the process have long been quoted online as something between 100,000 and 200,000 yen (hell, even we once did), these numbers were very different from my experience. For my car, a 2.6L, 1400 kg white plate in good working order, shaken through a big box store (e.g. Autobacs, Yellow Hat) cost 72,000 yen.



Friday

For those of you who are aiming for the upper echelons of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), serious listening practice is a must. And I am not talking about the "let's go to a bar and talk to the tipsy locals" sort of practice. Believe it it or not, one of your best weapons is the good old fashioned radio.



Monday

Earlier this year, Dom put together an awesome and very comprehensive shaken (車検) guide explaining how to get Japan's mandatory vehicle safety inspections done by yourself at your regional Land Transport Bureau.

I got excited, printed up all the necessary forms, and started scanning my calendar for a date, only to realize I'd arranged my schedule in such a fashion that there'd be no way for me to visit my bureau on a weekday to get the tests done.



Friday

If you work in a public school, then you may have noticed that, come the end of the year, many teachers are transferred to other locations. In big schools, it is not uncommon for a good portion of the staff to pack up at the end of the school year and, if you are lucky, you might just be able to get rid of that one teacher you just can't stand.

This part of a time honored tradition known as jinji ido (人事異動), often translated as "personnel transfer." Let's take a closer look...



Wednesday


It's been 36 degrees outside for long enough to give in and buy an エアコン (air-con) unit. But what's the best deal? They seem to range in price from 30,000 to 120,000 yen. The cheapest air-con unit in Japan, if you don't have the apparatus already set up for a wall-mounted unit, is a portable window conditioner. Full details below:



Monday

I've been trying out some new recipes over the summer and hit on a particularly simple one that's both healthy and cheap to make--helping it fit right in with Dan's current selection of AccessJ posts on saving money in Japan. Better yet, a post like this is an easy place to review some Japanese kitchen words. So, get your pot in one hand and memo pad in the other; we're about to cook up some good old Japanese nimono (煮物)!



Friday


If you come from a country like US where even low denomination currency is in bill form, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise when you find how much coinage is in circulation. This can lead to a problem I call the "quarter delusion."



Wednesday


There are two basic types of air-con units in Japan: wall mounted and window mounted (let's ignore the industrial ceiling-mounts for now). Each has it's pros and cons which will be discussed in the next couple of weeks. For now, let's look at the factors which determine if a unit retails for the low end (30,000 yen and up) or the high end (120,000++).



Monday


Dashi (だし汁, dashi-jiru) is a cornerstone of Japanese cooking. It's like "starting with a roux" in a Southern-US cookbook. Dashi appears as an ingredient in dozens of Japanese menu items, from miso soup to broth for udon noodles.