too many numbers

Aug. 19th, 2017 05:13 pm
archersangel: (bored)
[personal profile] archersangel posting in [community profile] doesanyoneelse
when you go to the doctor & are asked to give your birthday date for then to look you up in the records (do they do that everywhere or just where i live?) does anyone else have to think for a while?

i have have to sort though my brother's, my dad's, my mother's birthday before i get to my birthday.

and i have to remember phone numbers, PINs, addresses & social security number.

at times it's just too much.

Pre-school Paddy Wagon

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:29 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Most pre-schools in Japan use these mini-paddy wagons to transport toddlers to and from the park.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Pre-school Paddy Wagon appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Panty Bag at Awashima Shrine

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:19 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Awashima jinja (Awashima shrine) in Wakayama attracts many female visitors who come to pray for safe childbirths, pregnancies, and cures for feminine troubles. This votive plaque says, “I wish for a healthy baby. I hope the baby will be born as soon as possible.”

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Panty Bag at Awashima Shrine appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Chiemi Jones

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:09 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Lead singer Chiemi Jones of an alternative group called Chiemi Jones Band (Japanese only). Click here for a page with some music samples (click on the ‘MP3’ links to listen).

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Chiemi Jones appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Happy Pineapple Day!

Aug. 17th, 2017 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

On August 7 this month, I found a huge bunch of about 15 bananas for only 120 yen at my local supermarket. Looking around, I noticed a sign saying that Aug. 8 was “Banana no hi” (Banana Day). This is a kind of Japanese wordplay involving numbers where the numbers’ sounds are used to make words. For example, my old homestay families phone number was 931-8782, which they remembered as “kusai iyana yatsu.” It meant “a stinking jerk.” The numbers it is made of are: 9=ku, 3=sa (san), 1=i (ichi), 8=ya (hachi), 7=na (nana), 8=(i)ya (hachi), 2=tsu (two).

Here is a list of some of the other dates on the Japanese calendar. You can often save money if you go to a store looking for an associated product. For example, on August 29 this month, you might want to go out for yakiniku (Korean barbecue) because many shops are likely to have special discounts on this day.

Jan 3
Hitomi no Hi (Pupil Day)
1=hito, 3=mi
Celebrating glasses, contact lenses, and eye care in general

Jan 9
Kaze no Hi (Cold Day)
Commemorating the death of a famous sumo wrestler named Tanikaze in 1795, who died of an infection.

Jan 13
Tabako no Hi (Tobacco Day)
Celebrating the introduction of Peace cigarettes in 1946

Jan 15
Adaruto no Hi (Adult Day)
Celebrating the performance of Japan’s first strip show in 1947.

Jan 27
Kyuukon no Hi (Marriage Proposal Day)
Celebrating the first matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper in 1833.

Feb. 9
Fugu no Hi (Puffer Fish Day)
2=fu, 9=gu

Feb. 12
Burajya- no Hi (Brassiere Day)
Celebrating the day in 1913 that the brassiere was patented in America.

Mar. 8
Mitsubachi no Hi (Honey Day, lit. bee hive day)
3=mitsu 8=bachi

Mar. 9
Zakkoku no Hi (Grains and Cereals Day)
3=sa 9=koku

Mar. 13
Sandoicchi no Hi (Sandwich Day)
1=ichi 3=san (the ichi is “sandwiched” between the threes)

Mar. 20
Wain Day (Wine Day)
Both “20” and “wine” are pronounced the same in French

Apr. 3
Ingen Mame no Hi (Kidney Bean Day)
Ingen sounds like the name of a monk ( who died on April 3) in 1673.

Apr. 29 – Youniku no Hi (Mutton Day)
4=you, 2=ni, 9=ku

May 8 – Gouya no Hi (Bitter Melon Day)
5=go, 8=ya

May 30
Gomi Zero no Hi (No Garbage Day)
5=5, 3=mi

June 16
Wagashi no Hi (Japanese Confectioneries Day)
Celebrating an offering of Wagashi that was believed to have stopped a plague in the Heian period.

July 4
Nashi no Hi (Pear Day)
7=na, 4=shi

July 8
Nanpa no Hi (Picking Up Women Day)
7=nana (nan), 8=ha (pa)

July 10
Natto no Hi (Fermented Soy Bean Day)
7=na 10=tou

July 21
Onani- no Hi (Masturbation Day)
0=o, 7=na, 2=ni, 1=i

July 22
Nattsu no Hi (Nuts Day)
7=na 2=tsu (There are two “tsu’s” in nattsu.)

July 23
Tenpura no Hi (Tenpura Day)
Hottest time of the year after end of the rainy season, so tempura is eaten to prevent heat exhaustion

July 27
Because a watermelon’s pattern is like a braided rope, which is pronounced “tsuna” (2=tsu, 7=na).

Aug 3
Hachimitsu no Hi (Honey Day)
8=hachi, 3=mitsu

Aug 6
Hamu no Hi (Ham Day)
8=ha, 6=mu

Aug 7
Banana no Hi (Banana Day)
8=(ba, 7=na

Aug 17
Painappuru no Hi (Pineapple Day)
8=pa 1=i 7=na

Aug 19
Haiku no Hi (Haiku Day)
8=ha, 1=i

Aug 29
Yakiniku no Hi (Korean Barbecue Day)
8=ya, 2=ni, 9=ku

Aug 31
Yasai no Hi (Vegetable Day)
8=ya, 3=sa, i=i

Oct 8
Tofu no Hi (Tofu Day)
10=to, 8=fu

Oct 9
Dogu no Hi (Tool Day)
10=do, 9=gu

Nov 3
Mikan no Hi (Mandarin Orange Day)
Because ii mikan (good mandarin orange) sounds like ii mikka (1=i, 1=i, 3=mikka)

Nov 10
Toire no Hi (Toilet Day)
Comes from ii toire (1=i, 1=i, 10=to)

Nov 14
Pachinko Day
Celebrating the establishment of the Zenkoku Yuugi Kyoudo Kumiai Rengokai (National Games Cooperative Association) in 1979, as well as the opening of the first pachinko parlor in 1930 on that date.

Dec 21
Enkyori Renai no Hi (Long Distance Love Day)
Because in 1221, the one’s are separated and the twos are in the middle together.

There’s more information about these days on the following homepages:

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in April 2010 and has been updated.


The post Happy Pineapple Day! appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Ameyoko-cho By Night

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:29 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho started as a black market for American goods after World War II (hence the Ame in the name). It’s still a very lively, photogenic place to wander through, taking in the exotic foods, the bizarre English on the T-shirts, and colorful characters selling them.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Ameyoko-cho By Night appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Useless People in Japan

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:47 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Japan is filled with workers who do almost nothing.
You probably haven’t needed a crossing guard to help you across the street since you were five years old, but you can find crossing guards on quiet streets far away from schools and playgrounds here. Operating an ATM should be the simplest thing in the world, but almost every bank has a “lobby lady” to help you with your transaction and in case you find the task of pushing an elevator button too overwhelming, there are elevator girls in a lot of the big department stores. Flag men do, of course, play an important role in directing traffic around construction sites on busy roads, but do drivers on back streets really need three or four old men to direct them, when there are already 5000 pylons around the site?

The reason for all the useless people is that these jobs are giving retired people with small pensions a way to earn some extra money, and, depending on how you look at it, the dignity of having a job (even if it is a useless one). It also keeps the unemployment rate down.

Click here for an excellent Time article about the myth of Japanese productivity.


Crossing Guards

Useless People 1

In the city of Himeji one Sunday afternoon, there were a pair of old men directing traffic at every street corner in the downtown area. I had to wait about two minutes for a car to come by so that I could get an “action shot”.

Crossing Guards at Traffic Lights

Useless People 2
This guy is directing traffic even though there is a working traffic light right behind him. They actually inconvenience people by preventing them from crossing when there are no cars coming.


Elevator Girls

Elevator Girl

Did you know that an elevator girl bows an average of 2500 times a day?

Arrow Fetchers

Arrow Fetchers

At a Kyuudo exhibition these women sat patiently behind the male archers, helping them to pull their kimono off their shoulders before they made their shots, and fetching their arrows.
Come on guys. Pick up your own arrows!

Museum Ladies

Museum Lady
Go to any museum in Japan, and you will see an elegant looking lady sitting in one corner of almost every room. They don’t do anything, they don’t say anything, and they don’t seem to know anything about, or be particularly interested in, the art around them. These human scarecrows just sit their calmly for hours and hours without moving, their laps covered by a little blanket.

Election Wavers

Election Wavers

These useless people are also some of the most annoying in Japan. During elections you are sure to be the victim of an audio assault as campaign vans cruise through the neighborhoods pumping out political rhetoric at volumes that leave you with ringing ears and the feeling of having been physically attacked. The vans are filled with volunteers who lean out the windows waving at anyone who catches their eye, like bored kids on a long car trip. When they drive by you, cover your ears with your hands and look angry to show them how annoying they are being. Haven’t they ever heard of lawn signs?

Real Estate Agents

Japanese Real Estate Agent
The Japanese real estate agent is the king of useless middlemen. If you want to make some easy money, just become a real estate agent and you will be entitled to one month’s rent (any where from US$500 to $2000) from your customers for doing nothing more than showing them a few housing plans and then, if you’re really on the ball, maybe driving them to take a look at the apartment (but usually just giving them a key and telling them to go look for themselves).

It is very difficult to find accommodation in Japan without going through a real estate agency, causing something that should be as easy as looking through the classified ads or walking around looking for ‘For Rent’ signs to become a long, involved, and ridiculously expensive process. Even if you contact a building owner directly, you generally have to pay the real estate agent’s fee.

If you simply must go through a real estate agent, be careful of the free magazines that you see in all the major shopping districts and near big stations. They are filled with great looking apartments at too-good-to-be-true prices. And they are too good to be true. They are never available when you call, but the agency always has a similar one that’s just “a little more expensive”. If you are interested in finding alternative, long-term accommodation in Japan, click here.


Watch Your Head Sign

This is not a useless person, but it was obviously thought up by one.

99% of Electronics Store Workers

You always hear about how good the service is in Japan, and in some ways its true. Employees are unfailingly polite, come running when you call, routinely go the extra-mile to help customers, and will give you the deepest, most respectful bows you have ever seen in your life.

If however, you define service as being knowledgeable about the products they sell, or as being capable of making sure that a customer goes home with the merchandise that is right for him or her, then you may be disappointed.

Electronics store workers in particular are notorious for their lack of knowledge about the products they sell. At the famous discount electronics retailer, Yodobashi Camera, for example, you will find people in the computer department who have never used any of the software they are selling, do not own their own computer, and cannot answer simple questions without calling in two or three other employees who inevitably have no more idea than the first one did and usually end up calling in the manager or telephoning the product’s manufacturer.

Construction Equipment Depot Guards

A close relative to the crossing guards, these guys are a real treat to watch “in action.” Construction crews generally leave with their equipment in the morning, and return in the evening. So what exactly does a pensioner wearing a powder blue jumpsuit and fancy multicolored helmet reminiscent of “Buck Rogers” or “Kamen Rider” have to do in the interim? Sit upright in a foldable deck chair placed at the entrance to the storage lot, under the guise of being the guy who directs equipment on and off the road in a full-time capacity. And wait around for 7 and a half hours until the crew comes back at quitting time.
Kindly submitted by J. Thorne.

University Gate Guards

These are the guys that wave to important school dignitaries, and give directions to the 2 or 3 people a day who ask them. They stay on in the guard shack until the wee hours, presumably just in case the faculty has an unannounced emergency planning meeting at 10:30 PM in the library, and the gate needs to be open.
Kindly Submitted by J. Thorne.

Door to Door Mop Head Salesmen

I’m staying with my wife’s family in Nagano prefecture and I’ve been reminded of a perfectly useless job in Japan: door-to-door mop head replacers. Here in the Japan Alps it’s pretty inaka (country side)… total hick town. They have a cool koi (carp) pond but no flush toilets. I was just using the phone in the hallway and some man came and announced himself. He was giving a mop head replacement to her grandmother who had ordered one. Why hasn’t the fact that people can buy these mop heads easily at any store made this useless job a thing of the past? Truly a useless person.
Kindly submitted by G. Bower

Mobile Laundry Pole Salesman

I’d like to nominate those people that drive around every Sunday in their vans, blaring their megaphones, selling laundry poles. How often do people really need to buy a new laundry pole? I think once every 5 years would be sufficient, but these people somehow feel the need to drive by at 8 in the morning EVERY Sunday in my neighborhood.
Kindly submitted by M. Louie

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in 2004 and has been updated.


The post Useless People in Japan appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

The Sanja Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, attracting millions of visitors every year, but a lot of people probably don’t realize just how deep the yakuza-Sanja connection is. According to an article in the Asahi Shinbun Newspaper, some 70 percent of the groups that participate in the festival are controlled by yakuza. After an incident a couple of years ago in which a man paid money to a yakuza gang to be allowed to ride on top of a mikoshi (in violation of the festival’s rules, and apparently an act of sacrilege), the police investigated 30 some-odd groups of local residents who carry mikoshi. They found that  more than 20 of them were headed up by members of yakuza syndicates.

The festival is apparently a source of funds for the yakuza groups, who siphon off money from the associations, as well as being an opportunity to do some PR work. Most of the yakuza come from the Yamaguchi-gumi or the Sumiyoshi-kai.

I’ve seen the one openly-yakuza mikoshi group before, but I never noticed that they have the name of their gang, the “takahashi-gumi” and “godaime” (fifth generation [of the gang]) written right on the front of their jackets.

The theme of today’s photos is “happy yakuza.”

Sanja Matsuri happy yaks

Sanja Matsuri happy yaks 2

Sanja Matsuri festival yaks 4

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in July 2009 and has been updated.


The post 70% of Mikoshi Groups in Sanja Matsuri Controlled by Yakuza appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Blind Taxi Driver

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:48 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

The world’s most dangerous taxi.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Blind Taxi Driver appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.


Aug. 16th, 2017 03:13 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Dango is a Japanese snack food made from rice flour and served on sticks.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Dango appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Flower Guy

Aug. 15th, 2017 11:21 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

I took this photo while doing an excellent photography course when I was living in Osaka a few years ago. If you happen to live in Osaka and can speak some Japanese (there are no lessons in English), I can’t recommend Photopia Shashin Kyoshitsu too much. At the time of publication, it only cost about 12,000 yen for a 3-month class, and they had free camera rentals for the practice sessions.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Flower Guy appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Nebuta Festival Float

Aug. 15th, 2017 09:20 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

This huge float is from the Nebuta festival in Aomori prefecture in northern Japan. Held in the beginning of August, it features huge floats pulled through the streets at night, and traditional dances by the local people. It’s one of the top festivals in Japan.

The National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka might sound like the most boring place in the world, but is actually an incredible cross between a museum, an art gallery, and an amusement park. It’s filled with thousands of artifacts collected from around the world. There are few explanations here, but everything is beautifully displayed: everything from Persian carpets to African masks to didgeridoos. The Japan section is especially interesting, with its huge festival floats, incredible variety of products made from straw, beautiful lacquer work and hand-made dolls. If you go, give yourself lots of time because there’s a huge amount to see.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Nebuta Festival Float appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Costume Play Samurai

Aug. 13th, 2017 04:10 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Cosplay samurai at Korakuen amusement park in Tokyo. This Cosplay event is held monthly. Click here for more information (Japanese only).

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Costume Play Samurai appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Seiza Torture

Aug. 13th, 2017 03:42 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

The Museum of Criminology (Update: now “Criminal Materials Department” at the Meiji University Museum) in the main campus of Meiji University in Ochanomizu, Tokyo has displays of policing in Japan and torture devices from around the world. It’s free and is a good place to spend 30 minutes to an hour if you’re in the area.

This exhibit shows an old Japanese torture technique. If you’ve ever done a traditional Japanese art and sat in seiza (正座, literally “proper sitting”) for an hour or so, you can imagine how painful this must be. I think I’d choose waterboarding any day.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Seiza Torture appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Kongo Rikishi

Aug. 12th, 2017 06:07 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Kongo rikishi, the “power lords of the diamond realm,” stand guard at many Buddhist temples in Japan. Bare-chested, sneering deities, the kongo rikishi are not your average Buddhas. Unlike the serene Kannon, Amida and Jizo statues, their ferocious faces and body-builder physiques are meant to frighten off evil spirits from the temple grounds, and in fact, they’re not true Buddhas at all, but rather protectors of the Buddha.

Kongo Rikishi also represent the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Look closely at their faces and you’ll notice that the one on the left, the Missha Kongo (the secret-knowing Kongo) always has his mouth closed, and the one on the right, the Mishabe Kongo (the secret-speaking Kongo) always has his mouth open.

The Kongo Rikishi in this photo is at the Nakayama-dera, a temple for pregnant women in Takarazuka city, near Kobe.

To read more about Kongo Rikishi, visit the section on Nio at the excellent Japanese Buddhist Statuary homepage.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Kongo Rikishi appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Japanese Funeral Envelope

Aug. 11th, 2017 01:38 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

This funeral envelope is used to give money to the family of the deceased. They’re right beside the wedding envelopes in the stationery store, so make sure you get the right one. Wedding envelopes are usually decorated with gold thread or brighter colors.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Japanese Funeral Envelope appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

The Model

Aug. 11th, 2017 01:34 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Photography seminar with model in Showa Kinen Koen. This is one of the nicest parks in the Tokyo area, and in May the huge tulip and poppy fields are spectacular.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post The Model appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Ame-mura Building

Aug. 11th, 2017 01:10 am
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Unusual building in Osaka’s America-mura.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Ame-mura Building appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Professional Comic Book Reader

Aug. 10th, 2017 10:26 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

This highly entertaining performer earns his money by giving dramatic reading of comic books (manga). The different voices he uses for all the characters really make the stories come alive, and he seems to have quite a few fans. You can see him most Sundays in Inokashira Park, near Kichijoji station, on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March 2008 and has been updated.


The post Professional Comic Book Reader appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

A shitamachi is a traditional downtown Japanese neighborhood. The word conjures up images of bustling merchant areas with a strong sense of community, narrow streets, and traditional wooden buildings.  One of the best places to get a sense of what a shitamachi must have been like is the neighborhood of Shibamata in Tokyo. It’s a little on the touristy side, but the friendly vendors, interesting old buildings, traditional foods, and odd little temples make it an excellent place to spend an afternoon.
Shibamata is most famous for being the home of Tora-san, a popular movie character in the Otoko wa Tsurai Yo series of movies. The main attractions are the atmospheric shopping street and its temples dedicated to the Shichifukujin (The Seven Gods of Good Fortune). Coming out of the station, you’ll see a statue of Tora-san.


You might want to look for a little tourist information office that’s on your right if your back is to the station, just past the Tora-san statue. They have some useful English pamphlets and maps that will help you get to the Shichifuku-jin temples. Follow the crowds and you’ll find yourself on the main shopping street.


At the end of the shopping street is Taishakuten temple, the most famous of the Shichifukujin temples in the area. It’s known for it’s exquisite woodwork. If you’d like to see more of the woodwork, check out Philbert Ono’s great site.


Another interesting temple in the neighborhood is Ryokan-ji. To get there, turn right when you exit Taishakuten and walk to the big road. Turn left and you’ll see another temple called Shinsho-in on the right side. Turn right at the next big intersection. You’ll go past a big water or garbage treatment plant, and then you’ll come to Ryokan-ji on the left side.


Ryokan-ji is dedicated to the god Hotei.


There are also lots of jizo statues there. There are a bunch more temples in the area, but you’ll need the map to find them as they’re pretty spread out. There is also a Tora-san museum.

Getting there: From Keisei Ueno Station, take the Keisei line to Takasago, and change to the Kanamachi Line. Get off at Shibamata. The fare is 380 yen and it takes a little over 20 minutes.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in June 20, 2008 and has been updated.


The post Shibamata, One of Tokyo’s Most Underrated Tourist Attractions appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

Cosplay Hooker

Aug. 8th, 2017 05:01 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Kame

A costume play hooker coming out of an Ikebukuro love hotel. I was more than a little curious about what was in the suitcase.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in May 2009 and has been updated.


The post Cosplay Hooker appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.

[syndicated profile] lunchinabox_feed

Posted by wpu_xrn5p5h6












Moving on the Cheap in Japan

Aug. 6th, 2017 07:07 pm
[syndicated profile] guirkyjapanblog_feed

Posted by Ed

Moving in Japan can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. From full-service movers where a team of professionals will pack and unpack every single item you own to Akabo’s customer-assisted moves for 10,000 yen or less, there are an incredible variety of options.
I’m moving in a couple of weeks, and last Saturday, we had four moving companies in to give us estimates (the joys of having a penny-pinching Osakan wife). We finally got a company to move all the stuff from our three bedroom apartment for just 40,000 yen (we are just moving to the next ward), which was quite shocking for me, because I thought it might be around 100,000 and I thought I’d share a little of what I learned.

1. Get multiple estimates. All of the companies came down in price when she mentioned that we were getting multiple estimates. She was careful not to tell them exactly how much the other companies had offered though, because if she mentioned a price, they might argue about how their service was better or included different things.

2. The cheapest times of the year to move are June (due to the rainy season and it being after the peak), October, and November. The most expensive times are March and April when everyone is moving because of company transfers, during summer vacation in July and August, and Golden Week.

3. Weekends are the most expensive, of course, but Fridays can also be expensive because some people move then so they can have the weekend to unpack. You can get discounts for moving on a Monday or Tuesday.

4. The absolute best way to get a deep, deep discount is to say, “I’ll move whenever you have a truck available.” A lot of companies want to keep their workers busy, so if there is a day when they don’t have any moves, they’ll move you for little or no profit just to keep their staff working. If you tell them a five day period that you can be available it’s a great way to save.

5. You can get a discount of 10,000 yen or more if you’re willing to move in the afternoon. A lot of moves finish around 2 or 3 PM, so if the company can get an extra move in during the day, they’ll lower the price a lot.

6. There are price-focused and service-focused companies. Of the big five, Kuroneko (Black Cat), Nittsu (Nippon Express), and Art (0-123) are service focused, and Arisan Ma-ku (Ant) and Sakai (Panda) are price-focused. The service-focused ones tried to sell us on things like having a guy come to wait for the gas man, and special hanger boxes so you don’t have to fold your clothes, and cost about 30 percent more. Um, no thanks.
The price focused ones are still highly professional, and are, of course, bonded and insured. If you’re getting multiple estimates, it’s better to have the quality-focused companies come first so you can compare prices more easily.

7. You can often get a 2000 yen or so discount if you’re willing to take used boxes.

8. Here are a couple of phrases that my wife used during the negotiations:
*Hasuu wa jama janai desu ka? – Wouldn’t it be easier to calculate if you rounded down the figure? This seems to be something all the companies expect and they all did it willingly, so we are moving for 40,000 rather than 42,000.
*Dekireba, 4-man endai ni shite hoshii na. (If possible, I’d like it to be under 40,000.)

9. Different companies charge for different things. We are moving into a highrise building, and two of the companies said they had to charge us extra because it would slow things down using the elevator. Sakai and Arisan Mark had flatter rates.

10. This is a good website for comparing moving companies: (Japanese only).

This is what I’ll be seeing from my living room. Now a beautiful view, perhaps, but an interesting one.
river harp view

Here are a couple of  options we didn’t use but are great if you don’t have much stuff and are on a really tight budget:
Akabo – This is an extremely cheap option if you don’t have much stuff and are willing to help load the truck. I used them a couple of times when I first came to Japan, and it was usually just under 10,000 yen for a move inside the city.  The trucks are quite small, so you will probably only be able to fit a single person’s belongings in them. I always found the drivers to be very helpful and friendly, and was really pleased with the service.

Couriers – For people who are moving between cities, courier companies like Kuroneko Yamato (Black Cat) will send your stuff in a “tanshin pakku” (singles’ pack) for as little as 12,000 yen. For example, sending a two-cubic meter box that you could put the contents of a six-mat room into from Tokyo to Osaka would cost about 30,000 yen.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in June 2009 and has been updated.
Photo credit: daruyanagi


The post Moving on the Cheap in Japan appeared first on Meanwhile in Japan.



June 2011

   1 2 3 4

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags