Whether you are a teacher, entertainer or spouse of someone working in Japan, you are going to have to adapt to your new surroundings. Getting as much information and help will make this easier. The following pages have data and advice for every day living.

Every one needs to have a visa and an Alien Registration Card if staying in Japan for more than 90 days. More information on these are given in the Visa Information section.

Many decide to obtain a signature stamp, or "hanko." This is used to stamp documents instead of signing and must be registered as it will then become your legal signature in Japan. However, many non-Japanese decide their signature is good enough for the job and places like banks or telephone companies do not seem to mind either way. The cost of a hanko ranges from Y2000 upwards.

Press herefor useful everyday Chinese characters you will see about your daily life.

Many westerners complain of a strange practice when receiving their wages i.e. their salary is given to them in an envelope. However, this habit, while decreasing, is still widespread in Japan, although automatic deposits into bank accounts are increasingly becoming the norm.

Full time workers are entitled to "nenkyuu" (paid holiday), byoukyuu (sick days) and perhaps other types of leave like bereavement leave. You must check the terms of your contract before signing to see what are your rights to avoid possible conflicts in the future.

If your job is counted as part-time even though you work a 40 hour week, which is possible, your entitlement to medical treatment at a reduced cost will be forfeited. Some language schools are known to regard their workers doing 40 hour weeks as part-timers as an attempt to avoid paying their share of medical insurance for their employees and for tax reasons. Quite how this is done is for the realms of lawyers but is in fact legal via a loophole in labour laws. Please check on your own situation to avoid feeling aggrieved.

Much more can be found in the up and coming new look Nippon Living and the topics included are:

Television, Video, Cinema
Sending Money Home
Sending Money to Japan


Post Office

Hours vary but most of the smaller ones are open from 9 am - 5 pm. The Central Sayama Post Office is open from 9 am - 7 pm and also has an "After Hours" service. (Please refer below for more details).

Post Office accounts are much the same as bank accounts and most post offices have ATMs.

Post Office accounts do not charge for withdrawing money from them once the post office has closed. Interest is usually higher as well.

It is possible to send home money through the post office but you cannot send it to your home bank account. A more detailed explanation of this method is given in Sending Money Home.

The are various special rates at which you can send mail either domestically or internationally. Check local post offices for more details.

Many companies in Japan may ask you to send a Yubin Furikomi or Yubin Furikae in order to pay for their services. This is simply a way of sending money via the post to someone or someone’s bank account.

If you are not home when a parcel or registered mail should be delivered, it will be taken back to the nearest post office. They will leave a card stating where the item is and when to come and collect it by. When collecting it, bring the card and some form of identification.

The Post Office produces a guide in English. You can obtain one from Sayama's Central Post Office. Included is information about:

International Mail Rates

Domestic Mail Rates

Postal Savings

Domestic Postal Remittances

International Postal Remittances

Foreign Currency and Traveller's Cheques Services

Postal Life Insurance and more!

The Postal Services Information number (03-5472-5851) can be called in English for any further inquiries about services offered by the Japanese Post Office.

Sayama's Central Post Office has an "After Hours" service. Normal opening hours are from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm on a weekday and 9:00 am - 3:00 pm on a Saturday. The "After Hours" service operates outside of these times. A small booth is open for receiving mail and collection of unclaimed post or parcels, located near the exit that has an automated postal stamp dispensing machine to its right. However, during the "After Hours" service, stamps are not available for sale, so if you need some please use the just mentioned machine. "After Hours" service runs from 8:00 am - 9:00 am on weekdays, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm on weekdays, from 8:00 am - 9:00 am on Saturdays and from 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm on Saturdays. On Sundays and national holidays the "After Hours" service runs from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

If you are paying for something that may require a money transfer (e.g. an airline ticket or a deposit for a callback telephone company) the cheapest method available is through the Post Office. Bank transfers from your account to a company's account can be done at an automatic teller machine (ATM). The cost is often around the Y500 range (with slight differences from bank to bank) and even Japanese people can find using the ATM for this purpose rather troublesome. The Post Office's money transfer costs Y70 and merely involves filling out a form similar to that shown on the next page.



In Japan you are required you to use two phone companies, one for domestic calls and one for international calls. NTT is the only phone company for domestic calls and you must use them to obtain a telephone. There are companies for international calls such as KDD and so called "callback" firms that operate from the USA.

NTT phone bills can be paid by direct debit or by using the methods mentioned previously i.e.by paying at a convenience store or bank. For more information refer to The Telephone section.




While statistics say Japan is a safe country, and in comparison to many it probably is, crimes do exist. However, it is under reported so the figures do not tell the true picture. Take the same precautions as you would in your home country like avoiding walking home alone late at night, do not give your phone number to every stranger you meet and lock doors and windows. Women should avoid hanging their washing out in easy to get to places as they might be stolen. Used underwear has been known to fetch high prices in some circles. On trains females should also watch out for gropers (chikan) whose hands wander. People selling goods door to door can also be a hassle as many tend to be very aggressive and just walk into your home if able to.


Newspapers, Magazines and Books

Please refer to Things Foreign



What a load of rubbish!

In Japan rubbish is separated depending on what it is. Yesterday's leftovers may be called burnable but recyclable items like glass bottles and cans are not thrown away with paper and old food. Oversized rubbish like televisions have to be disposed of separately as well. The type of rubbish that is counted as recyclable is also different from city to city. Please make sure you know your burnable rubbish from non-burnable. Trash collection usually occurs in the morning.

Rules change all the time but here is a quick look at what rubbish is what.

Moeru gomi old food, food wrappers, old clothes, paper etc

Moenai gomi pieces of metal (e.g.nails, cutlery), broken crockery, CDs etc

Sodai gomi furniture, electrical goods, bicycles etc

Shigen gomi recyclable like glass, cans, plastic bottles etc

In Sayama or any town, collection of burnable rubbish occurs on different days of the week according to the area of the city you live in. Collection of moeru gomi, moenai gomi, sodai gomi and shigen gomi occur on different days of the week. Therefore for you must check the trash collection schedule as to when it is appropriate to put out your rubbish. A full sized exciting colour version of the above mentioned schedule can be obtained from the information desk on floor 1 of Sayama City Hall.

Please put your trash in clear plastic garbage bags at the collection point. This is usually marked in Japanese and/or with a picture, so understanding where to put your rubbish is made easier. If you are not sure where to put your trash, please ask someone.

MONDAYS AND THURSDAYS Burnable rubbish moeru gomi

While you can put your old food, paper or clothes in with the ‘burnable rubbish" in Sayama, the rules are different in cities and towns across Japan. If you are "green" you can save your old paper, newspapers, cardboard cartoons and old clothes for "Furui Kami, Furui Nuno" disposal day, listed on the garbage disposal schedule. Old clothes can be taken to the recycle centre. (Opposite the Honda factory. Call 042-953-6418 in Japanese).

Old bottles, cans, batteries, light bulbs and empty aerosol cans have to be thrown away on "Akikan, Akibin" day.

Certain large rubbish has to be taken by calling either the Seiso Centre (Call 042-953-2832 in Japanese) or the Recycle Centre. Such items may be stereo systems, televisions, stoves, washing machines refrigerators, bicycles or carpets, some of which you may be able to put out on sodai gomi day if not too big. Other items have to be taken away because they are dangerous, for example, propane gas cylinders, oil or car batteries.

Many supermarkets have bins for old cardboard milk and juice packets, polystyrene trays and plastic bags that are collected for recycling.

You can save phone cards and stamps and donate them to charity as they are resold to collectors.



Home - Daily Life - Shopping - Japanese Language - Culture - Recreation - Medical Information - The Telephone - Things Foreign - Visa Information - Leaving - Chinese Zodiac