Earlier this year on April 12th at Shinjuku ALTA, visual kei band PIERROT announced a two day reunion raibu (live/concert) for October 24th and 25th at Saitama Super Arena.  The crowd that gathered at ALTA was huge, especially considering 8 years had already passed since their break-up, an eternity in the music industry world.  But this, as well as the announcement of the reopening of their fan club through 2014-2015, Arlequin, were welcome news for people like me who never got the chance to see them perform before their split.

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Honyaku Konnyaku

I’ve been translating for years, requests from friends or work and song lyrics, but this week I was offered a part time position to translate articles for the fashion and idol news site Tokyo Girls Update.  It’ll be my first time working for a real Japanese company (and all the paperwork that comes along with it), so it’s sure to be an adventure!

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Changing Your Information or Canceling Your Utilities

Mr. J and I were using portable wi-fi through E Mobile for a few years now and besides being unable to torrent, we liked their unlimited usage service.  Then a couple of months ago they sold or merged with the company Yahoo! Mobile, and with it our contract was suddenly changed to a more expensive, 10 GB data limit plan.  After maxing out or usage mid-month both last month and this month, we decided to cancel and go with a different provider.  At the same time, a co-worker friend of mine just quit the company, and because she doesn’t speak much Japanese, I’ve been helping her take care of canceling her electricity and gas.

If you’ve been living on your own before relocating to a different part of Japan or moving back home, besides the inevitable packing and moving, you’ll probably need to cancel or change your address on all of your utilities as well.  While the process can be a bit annoying, thankfully it’s not too difficult.

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Traveling: Booking Cheaper Flights Abroad

It’s that time of year where many foreigners living in Japan are starting to cement their winter vacation plans.  In my case, I haven’t been home in 4 years so I purchased a ticket back, and I’ll be joining the crowd returning home for Christmas. :D

With Christmas plans settled, what I’ve been in the market for now is a plane ticket to Quebec to attend a BFF’s wedding next May.  It might sound like jumping the gun, but finding the best price usually takes a few months of keeping up with the going fare, watching out for when it dips in price, and being ready to book then and there when a good deal comes up.

I’m not an expert at playing the market and finding outrageously cheap deals, but I’m generally able to fly back home or halfway across the world for around or lower than 100,000 yen ($1,000 USD) round-trip no matter what season, and so some of my friends said I should make a post about it.

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Last BBQ of the Summer

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Shūbun no Hi, or Autumnal Equinox Day, passed last week marking the start of fall.  It’s not uncommon for Japanese summers to persist well into mid-October, but this year it seems we’ve caught a break and fall has visited us at its regularly scheduled time.  To mark the end of the season, Mr. J’s old schoolmates threw last BBQ chance of the year party this past Sunday in Yokohama at the Kodomo Shizen Kōen (Children’s Nature Park) BBQ/Picnic area near Futamatagawa Station on the Sōtetsu line. Continue reading

Movie Theater Magic

When I lived in the suburbs of Dallas, I went to the movies at least once a month, if not more.  There were a ton of options.  My friends and I would go to the nearest IMAX theatre for the best summer blockbusters or frequent the local cineplex at the mall for midnight showings of new releases we just had to be the first to see.  You knew you could always catch a new indie release at the Angelika.  The old Hollywood down the street was the most popular theater growing up in the 90s, and I remember the few times my family splurged a little and took me there as a kid.  Now it’s an outdated relic people only visit for catching discounted showings of movies that have already finished playing at any of the bigger, moderner theaters that silently sprung up and people moved onto over the years.  If you were short on cash but still wanted a good time out, you could always catch a recently released film on DVD playing at the dollar theatre.

Movie-going is a huge part of American culture, but not so much in Japan.  Theatre options are generally limited, and cinemas will consistently run you around 1,800 yen ($18 USD) a ticket unless you visit on special discount days/showings or purchase a pre-release ticket.  Up until recently, my husband and I rarely went more than once or twice a year.  Then we discovered that the old, retro theater in town had finally given up trying to compete with the other newer cinemas nearby, and started doing their own weekly showings of selected indies films and older releases.  It felt a little like finding some of that old movie culture from back home.

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Getting a Wire Transfer Returned/Refunded

In Japan, most money is sent domestically or internationally via wire transfer.  If you have any kind of debt (student loans, credit card bills, etc.) accumulated back in your home country, one of the first things you’ll probably be looking for is a way to send money home.  Any bank or post office can do it, but it’s often a little cheaper and faster to use a remittance service like Western Union, Go Remit (previously called Go Lloyds), JTB Money T Global, or SBI Remit.

This isn’t a post about how to send a wire transfer or how to use remittance services per-se, but last week I had trouble with my wire transfer through Go Remit after finally getting my last name changed on my bank account, and it didn’t go through properly.  To solve the issue, I needed to request my money to be returned from their bank to my bank, which is called a kumi modoshi in Japanese.

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