A Simple Guide for Living in Japan - A Month Experience


It's been a month!
So last weekend, I made a poll about what should my next blogspot post will be and most wanted to know about my thoughts living in Japan.
I was thinking to post about my experience since I did not find a post that answered some of my questions before coming here so maybe, it'd be great if I could share my short experience for people who are going to live in Japan.

Living in Japan, surely sounds like a dream for some people - but what kind of Japan that you think of when you hear about this country?  All bright city lights, super stylish people with busy zebra cross?  Not wrong!  But who would have had a thought of living in a small rural area in Japan?

Where I am living now - I'm currently in Kikuchi, Kumamoto.  Kumamoto's icon is Kumamon, which some of you may recognize of.  Kikuchi is located around 30 minutes from the center of Kumamoto City.  It's a small place, 276.7 km² and famous for the Onsen (hot spring water).

Before going to Japan - Are you planning to go to Japan?  Be sure to check the weather!  Since Japan is a 4 seasons country, people who come from tropical country (like I do) should pay more attention to the weather condition.  Especially if you're going in Autumn & Winter.  Unless you're going to Okinawa - where the weather is warmer, during those seasons the weather is already colder than in tropical country (Autumn around 19-21, winter can reach 0 or some places like Hokkaido below 0).
Before going to Japan, I had a huge confusion about bringing laptop.  So far, when I came, I did not get inside of my laptop checked.  Not in Soekarno Hatta Airport, nor in Narita, nor in Haneda.  I just asked to put my laptop on the tray and done.
Also about internet, Japan does not have lots of free-public WiFi places.  Some free WiFi needs you to log-in, using Japanese number and mostly limited for specific provider (e.g., free WiFi in Daiso near my area is only for Southbank users).  So if you're going to stay in Japan for a short term, be sure to check about the travel SIM card (usually 2 GB for 3 months for about JPY 3.000 - 3.500) or you can also order pocket WiFi that can be taken in airport.

What it is like living in Japan:
I currently live in a 2 bedroom apartment.  It's normal size in Japan, I guess?  Not too small and not too big.  So after living here for a month, I notice some things that are different from living in Indonesia.

from this blog

Trash - In Japan, they have the schedule about when is the day for you to throw burnable, not burnable trash (two most general classification for household waste).  You should check your are, or maybe can ask for the trash calendar.  Burnable trash will be collected twice a week, in my area is on Monday and Friday while the not burnable trash will be collected once in two weeks.  If you throw the trash aside from the days that have been scheduled, your trash won't be collected.  I read in some area, you'll get a warning by sticker on the trash plastic that you have to re-classify your trash.  FUN FACT!  In Japan, plastic is categorized as the burnable trash.  At first I thought it was not burnable (in Indonesia, the trash only classify as organic & inorganic, plastic is classified as inorganic) but my Japanese life guidance told us that plastic is classified as burnable.  For not burnable trash is usually can and bottles.  Notice that in Japan, the bottle's cap & label should be thrown in burnable, the bottle - only the naked bottle - is in not burnable.

Picture from Google

Bath -
You may heard お風呂 (ofuro), the Japanese bath tub where steam coming out and some anime character put towel on their head.  Ofuro is common in Japan, I think almost every apartment and house has it in the bathroom.  Since I am living during cold seasons, dipping myself in ofuro is such a pleasure.  I usually set the water temperature on 41 degrees Celcius, it may hot but actually not during cold seasons.  It helps warming your body temperature through the night! (That's in my case).
Rule for Ofuro : Clean yourself first with shower before dipping into the bath tub!  Yes, this is a must because the concept of ofuro is not for cleaning yourself, it's more to relax your body and keep your body temperature.
In my place, the water heater is in the digital, one inside bathroom, one outside near the kitchen.  It has microphone that connects each other and can automatically fill the bath tub (but closing the 'hole', you have to do it by yourself).


Grocery Shopping
Since I live in rural area, my only entertainment is going to several supermarket and mini markets (konbini).  There are usual supermarket, drug stores and mini markets.  Supermarket is just the normal supermarket where you can buy everything that you need for daily life such as foods, frozen foods, toiletries, etc.  Mini market in Japan, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Lawson - you name it, usually on the corner of the street.  It has coffee machine, foods like bento, onigiri, sandwich, snacks, magazines, iTunes voucher (seriously).  You can also print photo and document, send package in mini market!  Drug store in Japan has cheap products perception for Japanese people.  Many discounts are given in drug store.  Yes, in drug store you can find a lot of interesting Japanese skin care products, make up, health & beauty supplements.  What's so Japanese is Daiso.  Daiso is a store that sells most of the items on 100 JPY!  It's a heaven for me because you can buy beauty tools, gardening tools, stationaries only on 100 Yen!  Daiso is really popular in Japan because of the price and the variety of the product, seriously you can find almost everything here.

That's it!

So far, those are what I can think of about living in Japan, at least the basic things.  I would love to share more about the simple guide, so if you want to ask some questions, you can ask anything and I'll try to answer / explain it on blog.
It's only a month left until I am going back to Indonesia and I have mixed feeling about this.  Kikuchi has been beautiful and the beauty of Kumamoto also will be shared on the next post(s)!

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