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  Now it’s an outdated relic people only visit for catching discounted showings of movies that have already finished playing at any of the bigger, moderner theaters that silently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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Medical Stuff: Parting With a Couple of My Wisdom Teeth

Last week I had an appointment at the city hospital to have an oral surgeon remove both wisdom teeth on the left side of my mouth while I was put under general anesthesia.  It wasn’t fun, but it was certainly somewhat of an adventure since I’d never a.) had a tooth pulled  b.) had a surgery  c.) been hospitalized before, either in the U.S. nor Japan.

Since this is kind of a major procedure, and I couldn’t find a lot of in depth or recent information about what all it entailed, including hospitalization, or what the cost would be like with national health insurance (kokumin hoken), I’ve noted everything that happened from the first appointment, up until the aftercare appointment, in this long-winded entry.

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Driving in Japan: Getting Your Japanese Drivers License Renewed

© J // Washing Rice Blog

The renewal reminder postcard will look something like this.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

About two months before the date my current drivers license was set to expire, I got the usual postcard in the mail that told me my renewal was due soon and gave me information on the renewal procedure.

This is my second license renewal, so it was pretty straightforward, but you’ll have to allot a full half-day (either morning or afternoon) for the application, sight test, picture taking, lecture course, and finally, getting your shiny new license at the end.

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