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Monday

So, recently I talked a little about the big pharmacy chains in Japan. But if you're like me, even after you find and walk inside a Japanese pharmacy, you have a bit of difficulty identifying and choosing what you want to buy. Part of this is simple brand unfamiliarity, and part of it is the language barrier--and I'm sorry to say that in my experience, it doesn't get much better with time. Even after I learned Japanese to a tolerable degree, I found that it is a skill of conscious effort. It is still very easy for me to just "tune out" Japanese characters when I'm presented with advertisements, billboards, and product packaging. If I want to know what they say, I have to stop and think about it.

So, anyway, let's get to the point: You've got a headache, you're in Japan, and you want something OTC to take care of it. Here are some of your options:



Friday

Getting over the counter (OTC) drugs in Japan can be an expensive proposition. The Japanese drug market is heavily protected from foreign competition and large pharmacies and drug companies still have a cartel-like lock on the market, even after the liberalization of online drug sales. If you are looking to by in bulk it is actually sometimes cheaper to go to the doctor and get a prescription as prescription drugs are heavily price controlled.



Monday

This is a list of some of the major nationwide and regional pharmacy chains in Japan where you can purchase OTC medical supplies. This list is by no means complete, but covers many of the major players in the Japanese pharmacy market.

For more information about pharmacies and drugs in Japan, check out Dan's series of articles here on AccessJ:
Pharmacies and Prescriptions in Japan
Over the Counter Drug Laws in Japan
Online Drug Sale Laws in Japan




Friday

Warm up your engines, eager non-instutional investors, because a new type of tax free trust account is coming to town. That's right, I am talking about the much hyped NISA or Nippon Individual Saving Account (shogaku toshi hi-kazei seido 少額投資非課税制度) that is starting up next year. If you are investing in the future (and you should be!), then this new system is a good opprotunity to get your foot in the investment door. Let's take a look...



Monday

I'm in the market for a new set of wheels--to replace my old ones. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've met a lot of people as I've visited a dozen new and used car dealerships to ask about buying something new, and about selling the one I have now. Much of the information differs from what (admittedly little) I knew about buying and selling cars in the US. In today's post, I'll continue to share more of my findings:



Friday

Most die hard fans of games giant Nintendo have probably heard by now that the storied company was originally a playing card maker. But I bet you didn't know that to this very day you can still buy yourself a brand new set of 任天堂 cards.



Wednesday

Some of the most difficult words to translate are those that are context sensitive, or need wildly different translations depending on context. I'll take a look at four tricky Japanese → English interpretations in context today: ① もったいない (mottainai), ② しょうがない (shou ga nai, also 仕方ない shikata nai), ③ 面倒くさい (mendoukusai), and the pervasive Japanese ④ よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu)。

① 三連休が仕事で潰れそう。もったいない...
I'm going to lose my whole three day weekend to work. What a waste.
Alternatively: What a shame.



Monday

I'm in the market for a new set of wheels, and have been to visit just about every new and used dealer in my immediate area, plus a few more across town (and out of town). A lot of the people I've met have been very cool and have shared their tips with me about buying and selling cars in Japan. Much of the information differs from what (admittedly little) I knew about the process in the US. In today's post, I'll share some of my findings: