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

Thanks for sticking with me through this Working in Japan series!  I was wrote it as I was going through the job hunting process myself, during which I received a few hiring offers.  One of those was a great paying, part-time teaching position that I ended up going with so I’ll have time to pursue more translation work and help build my freelance translation portfolio from April onwards.

One of the ways I’ve been getting into freelance work is with the freelancer website, oDesk.  If you’re interested in translation or freelancing in other fields, I definitely recommend giving it a click.  The site itself is pretty thorough with its explanation on how to use and make money with it, but I’ll be addressing a few things that apply to freelance translation or my personal experience with the site.

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Working in Japan: The Interview

So you applied for the job and landed an interview!  Hurrah!

Here’s some handy info about how Japan often conducts interviews, as well some dos and don’ts to consider.  I think many of them are common sense, but a few are unique to Japanese interviews in particular.

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Working in Japan: Finding a Job in Japan

Hey all!    It’s a new year, which means new beginnings and the beginning of the Japanese hiring season!  As I’ve written before, I plan on leaving my current company for something more flexible and less hectic.  So while I’m on the hunt for a new job or string of part-time jobs, I figured why not make it into a series that way someone else might also benefit from the experience.

This first post in the series focuses on where many of us find ourselves at in the very beginning-  trying to get hired from abroad or within Japan.

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Traveling: Discount Train Tickets

Most public transportation discounts are only available if you’re a tourist without a visa or buying a multiple trip ticket/commuter pass.  This can be a bit of a bummer if you’re a resident and would just like to save a little money on a one-time trip out somewhere.  Luckily ticket shops have the perfect answer, in the form of discount ticket vending machines. 🙂

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Traveling: Booking Cheaper Flights Abroad

It’s that time of year where many foreigners living in Japan are starting to cement their winter vacation plans.  In my case, I haven’t been home in 4 years so I purchased a ticket back, and I’ll be joining the crowd returning home for Christmas. 😀

With Christmas plans settled, what I’ve been in the market for now is a plane ticket to Quebec to attend a BFF’s wedding next May.  It might sound like jumping the gun, but finding the best price usually takes a few months of keeping up with the going fare, watching out for when it dips in price, and being ready to book then and there when a good deal comes up.

I’m not an expert at playing the market and finding outrageously cheap deals, but I’m generally able to fly back home or halfway across the world for around or lower than 100,000 yen ($1,000 USD) round-trip no matter what season, and so some of my friends said I should make a post about it.

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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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