Getting Stopped by the Popo

If you’re a foreigner in Japan, at some point you’re probably going to have a run-in with the police.   This might be because they think you look suspicious (for justified reasons or not) and want to check your residence card, pulled you over because you violated a traffic law, or maybe you lost your wallet and need to file a lost report/are lost and need to ask directions at the nearest police box (kōban).

Having just gotten pulled over for a traffic offense, and considering the police climate Stateside, I thought I’d write a short bit on what to do if and when you encounter the police in Japan.

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Good Friends, Games, and Drinks at the Capcom Bar in Shinjuku

After visiting friends towards the middle and southern parts of Japan, I took one last trip up to Tokyo to hang with some peeps I feel like I never see often enough.

Although we’d all been contemplating visiting the limited Ani-ON Sailor Moon cafe, reservations were totally booked through, so someone else in our circle suggested hitting up the Capcom Bar that’s also on a limited run in Shinjuku instead.  Hey, it’s not like I needed any convincing! ;)

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Working in Japan: Getting Started as a Freelance Translator on Gengo

Although I still get some work with oDesk, it hasn’t been nearly enough to make ends meet.  On top of that, I’m finding that for quite a few companies that advertise, outsourcing to freelancers = way to get away with paying less than minimum wage for work.

Seriously, I just did a timely estimate of website translation job (privacy policy, user agreements, the whole shebang) for a company that originally approved my character rate, only to be met with the response that they were looking for something more in the range of $0.01 – $0.015 a character.  What a time waster!  (For reference, a $0.02 – $0.03 character rate is pretty much minimum wage for Japanese > English translation work.)

So in light of that, I started branching out more.  In March I registered with Gengo, one of the bigger translation sites, and it’s currently one of the places I’ve been receiving steady work from.

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Traveling: See Japan for Cheap with the Seishun 18 Kippu

On a previous travel guide post, I mentioned some cheaper ways to travel around Japan.  One of the ways to to do this is with a Seishun 18 Kippu (read as “seishun juuhachi kippu“), that allows you 5 days of unlimited JR train access except for special expresses/shinkansen.  Granted you’ll need a lot of time to get around, but it’s great for backpackers, group travel, and hopping off random stations to explore…  Or people like me who don’t mind spending half a day or two on the train to save 40,000 yen ($400 USD) in travel costs.

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

That’s right!  I went to Gifu, Okayama, and back, and that’s about how much I saved with this ticket and choosing to by local/rapid trains instead of taking the bullet train.  My whole train fare for the trip (including another trip I took to Tokyo with a friend to see the Fushigi Yūgi play) cost me less than 10,000 yen ($100 USD) with a Seishun 18 Kippu.

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Goodbye Old Teaching Job!

I’m not out of the teaching business completely, but I was so glad to finally be able to say good riddance to my old company and crazy boss at the end of March!

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

In Japan it’s customary to give departing teachers flowers or another small gift.  Although I was aware of this custom, the sheer amount of gifts I received was surprising and somehow much more than what the past departing teachers had received!    It was bittersweet to say goodbye to all of my kiddos, but I felt loved reading their letters and how many of them said they enjoyed having class together over the past five years.  I ran out of things to use as vases halfway through the week, and this was only a third of it all!

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Fushigi Yūgi Stage Play at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Last Saturday a friend and I headed out to Tokyo to catch one of the last Fushigi Yūgi play showings at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.

With Sailor Moon getting a musical revival (here and here), it was only a matter of time before another girls’ anime got one as well.  Fushigi Yūgi brings back so many great memories for me, because it’s how I connected with a group of girls that later became my best friends throughout high school.  We would pretend we were priestesses and pass around a priestess notebook that we filled with letters, drawings, and notes to one another during class.  It was silly and fun.  I still consider one of these girls to be my absolute BFF even to this day.

Here’s a short summary and review of the show, with pamphlet scans, too. :)

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