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Wednesday

This is a foray into the world of Japanese university entrance exam translations (大学入試英作文), with some notes on the things I learn along the way.

Without further ado, let's get started! Today's source is a list of 2009 private university problems from the ticc PukiWiki.
四季の移り変わりがはっきりしている我が国で、とりわけ色とりどりの花が咲く春と紅葉に彩られる秋になると、自然がとても美しいと感じる。(津田塾大、2009)



Tuesday

More good news for lovers of Shinsei Bank, one of the few personal banking options in Japan that provides services in English and believes in 24-hour ATM access:

Shinsei bank card holders will now not only be able to deposit and withdraw cash at all Shinsei, Yucho Bank, and 7-11 ATMs across the country, but also at Lawson, Family Mart, and Daily Yamazaki ATMs. (As well as associated ATMs in a few other regional convenience store chains). In other words, Shinsei's already fairly convenient network of ATMs just got even better.



Friday

For a long while, I thought that the standard blood groupings ( A, B, AB, and O) only had to do with microscopic antigens on my cells. Boy was I wrong. As it turns out, your blood type determines everything about you core personality...or at least that is what many people in Japan seem to believe.



Monday

"What happens to your visa status after you get a divorce?" I've heard a variety of opinions on this subject from forums like Gaijinpot. Some people claim that divorce, for those staying and/or working in Japan on a spousal visa, means renunciation of your status of residence (在留資格). Others assert that you are still eligible to stay in the country until the printed date (在留期間) on which that last-issued spousal status of residence expires.

To complicate the issue, until recently there was no clear legal impetus for a divorced foreign national to report the divorce to immigration. Some people seemed to just fly under the radar for as long as possible.

Recent updates to the immigration laws have made this issue much clearer:

In short, if you get a divorce, you'll need to apply for a change in status of residence as soon as possible if you intend to remain in Japan.



Under Japan's recently revised immigration laws, foreign residents of the country are explicitly instructed to inform the Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau of any changes to information they've registered with the bureau. For example, when you change jobs or get a divorce, you're now required to notify the immigration bureau and can face penalties for failing to do so.

To ease the burden of these notifications, the Immigration Bureau has established an online notification service that allows foreign residents to log in and submit many (but not all, as we'll see) of the legally required notifications without making a time-consuming and, for some, costly visit to the nearest regional or branch office.



"Special Permanent Resident." It's a term that plagues Japanese immigration legalese, and I've only ever had a vague inkling of what it means. It identifies a group of people that, for some reason or other, has been granted special permission to be in Japan indefinitely without needing to notify the immigration bureau of working situation or marital status, but whose members are still not recognized as actual citizens in Japan.

I'd heard stories of how, especially in the late 80's and early 90's, the MOJ wrote out some special immigration laws to encourage ethnically Japanese Brazilians and other South Americans to come to Japan as laborers. And I knew that there were a lot of ethnic Koreans in Japan whose families had lived here for generations but had been and sometimes still are marginalized to certain communities and severely discriminated against. They had been encouraged to come into the country and stay here for the long haul, but not as citizens.

All these people were the ones the government was talking about when it used the term "Special Permanent Resident," right?