Yes, your host university will assist you in getting a student visa, but how about getting a bank account, or let’s say registering for the national health insurance? Find out what you need to do in Japan with Eli and John!

There are just things out there in society that are so normal nobody has to tell you that you need it. Imagine something like a health insurance. For most, their parents might have already done it for them while they were young.

So how about you? A foreigner stepping inside a country that speaks a language that might be totally out of your knowledge. Don’t get too excited after landing in Japan, cause you’re going to be in big trouble if you forget even one of these things we’re about to tell you now. You probably haven’t heard of them yet, but that’s exactly why we’re here to save you the trouble!

For this online information session, John and Eli talks about the necessities that come with living in Japan. Ready your notes because you don’t wanna miss some very important advice!

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在留カード ”Zairyuu Card” or your Residence/Alien Card.

John: “Everyone needs a residence card, especially if you’re a foreigner in Japan.”

Eli: “It will be your main identification card in Japan. Everyone gets one.”

Eli: “When you land at the airport in the immigration counter. They tell you you have to apply for a residence card. They give it to you at the immigration counter. You need to give them a passport size picture of yourself and they put it in here.”

Eli: “For people who want to work here part-time, you have to fill in a form at the airport, it’s either a form that your school sends you or they’ll give you if you ask for it. You fill it up, and they’ll give you permission to work in Japan.”

John: “How many hours?”

Eli: “Twenty-eight hours, forty if it’s summer or winter break or if there’s no school. And at the back of the residence card, when they give you permission, they’ll stamp the back of your residence card.”

John: “Since most of you guys will be coming here with a student visa, usually your card will say you’re not allowed to work just like this example right here. It says “就労不可” (shuurofuka) or like you’re not allowed to work. But as long as you receive that stamp we mentioned earlier you’ll be given permission to work.”

See article about “Part-time jobs in Japan”

A bit of caution regarding your residence card:

John: “It’s the most important thing you need to have it with you. Apparently, if you were roaming somewhere around in Japan and caught by police officers that you didn’t have your residence card with you, they can charge you up to 2,000 dollars, though this depends on the situation.”

Eli: “That’s a lot of money everyone! So bring your card with you!”

John: “Your card, or your passport.”

Inkan: Your Personal Seal

John: “One of the greatest fears you can encounter while you’re in Japan is that you’re handling all these very important paperwork, and then they ask you for your signature. And then you realized that in Japan, there’s no place for you to sign with your hand.”

Eli: “They only have this small circle on a paper.”

John: “Why is that?”

Eli: “It turns out you need a stamp.”

John: “In Japanese, we call that inkan.”

An example of a simple seal or inkan

Eli: “For huge paperwork, you need an inkan so whenever you fill out a bank account application form or huge paperwork you need this. When they ask for your signature or you see that small circle then you need to stamp on it.”

John: “Loans, contracts, when you move houses…”

Eli: “When you find an apartment, you have to use it.”

John: “My name is written here (shows personal inkan) in Katakana or Japanese. It’s very small, you put ink on it, and stamp on it real nice.”

Eli: “You get to choose what name you put on it. For us we chose our last names, but for some people, if you have a long name, then you can get to choose what you want to put in there.”

John: “You can get this in any local inkan specialty store. You don’t need to buy the expensive ones because usually when you say inkan, people have this impression of those really expensive looking ones that cost around like a ten or fifty dollars. For me it only cost me six dollars.”

Eli: “Mine cost me like five dollars.”

John: “Yeah, it’s really cheap as long as you find the right place.”

How to get a bank account?

Eli: “Of course, we need money so you need to open a bank account in Japan. It’s easier to transfer money from your home country. And also, your university suggests that you open one because they have an automated transfer for your tuition fees.”

Eli: “We suggest that you open one from the Japan Post Bank.”

John: “It’s called ゆうちょ銀行 (Yuucho Ginko) in Japanese.”

Japan Post Bank: Yuucho Ginko

Eli: “It’s the Japanese national bank, it’s more easier to get and they’re usually foreigner friendly.”

John: “For other banks, they can be strict with foreigners, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. But if you’re planning to open bank accounts in those kind of banks, then you should come with a friend that speaks fluent Japanese.”

Eli: “Your university can also give you a translated form and all you need to do is submit it to the branch you’d like to open your bank account.”

John: “And if you do get a chance to get a scholarship here in Japan, then you definitely need a bank account because that’s where they’ll be sending the money to you.”

Finally, getting an idea of what you need to be a resident of Japan? Hold up because there’s more! Watch the whole video and find out more about the National Health Insurance, or maybe about getting a mobile phone contract in Japan!

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Nobody knows how it’s like to study in Japan more than international students here do. SchooLynk offers online sessions every week to tell the world of helpful advice and real-life experience about studying in Japan.

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