Credit Card in Japan in Less than a Week

A, the dreaded application. Everytime I google they say that for foreigners, credit card applications are painful and usually met with failure. Hence I procrastinated. Plus I had my prepaid card so I figured I should be ok. But since I am encountering some problems lately with a prepaid card, I figured I might as well try.

ANA Mileage. I applied online and got the results within an hour. Guess what – it’s a no.

This Sunday I decided to apply again. To Amazon.co.jp. I received an email in Japanese on Monday that I wasn’t approved. Oh well.

Come Tuesday I received another email saying they’ve linked my credit card to my Amazon account. True enough when I checked amazon I do have a new credit card in my payment method. Oh and that they’re sending my credit card to my house. Eh. Must have read the other email wrong.

So. Profile time (so you can compare).

1. I’ve been in my company 1 year and 14 days as of application. I earn a bit more than the average annual rate based on the articles I’ve read. But those averages are too low based on my friends’ salaries haha.

2. I’ve been in my apartment 1 year and a month.

3. I successfully linked the application to my JP Post Bank account, with about two rent’s worth of cash deposit on it.

4. I did not submit any documents.

And that’s it.

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Getting a Schengen Tourist Visa from Tokyo (France)

I applied last August 6, and this afternoon I received my visa with a personal note (in Japanese) saying “Enjoy!”.

So. Time to pass on the experience.

Before applying

  1. Book your appointment online. In my case it was at least two weeks before I see the next open one. You can easily change it, so book it now! Oh, and print that out.
  2. Prepare requirements.
  3. Get your leave approved by the boss! Actually, since you are in Japan, I assume, better get that approval as step 1.
  4. If you are using the letter pack, take note of the tracking number so you can check if the post is on its way.

During the application

  1. See the post right before this one.

After the application

  1. A, the good old waiting game. Keep waiting sweetie.
  2. One week later, you can check the status of your visa (status as in whether it’s done processing, not whether it is approved or not). If it says that there’s no passport being processed with the details you key in, assume it’s still in progress.

The Requirements. 

The most I’ve ever had to prepare. Let’s get to it.

  1. Checklist. Just print it out, and tick what you’ve submitted. As there are items with options, what I did was underline what I prepared to meet that requirement. For example, I didn’t book a tour, just did my itinerary, so I just underlined “program of my visit” in number 8.a) 2.
  2. Visa application form. That’s easy.
  3. Photo. Again, easy.
  4. Passport. Probably the easiest. I submitted a barely stamped one as I got a new passport, so I offered the old one (with the old Schengen visa) They didn’t nope, they’re good with just the new one. Oh, I presented the original AND a copy.
  5. Cash. 60euros in local currency. Ouch.
  6. Resident card. Just provide a copy, and be ready to show the original.
  7. Employment Certificate. (comment if you want mine). Basically it should  have the company header, date and signature (or stamp), with your name, hiring date and monthly salary. In the Philippines we need to be working with our company a year or so (at least that’s what we think), but here I’ve been with my company 10 months and there were no issues. They’re happy to keep just the original copy of this one.
  8. Purpose of stay. Just printed an itinerary (they ask you about it, so be ready), and underlined “other document showing the program of the visit”
  9. Proof of itinerary. I provided a return ticket. Now, here you have the option of getting a tour company to reserve one for you, or paying for it yourself. I decided to take the risk and just book it (and thus have the cheapest one. I got my tickets at around JPY77,000 yen. I’ve been checking lately, and the cheapest one at this point is more than JPY100,000 yen).
  10. Proof of accommodation. I book via booking.com, and make it a point to select no prepayments AND free cancellations.
  11. Money. Get a photocopy of your bank statement (or passbook), and make sure it’s updated. It’s 65 euro per day, multiplied by number of days and exchange rate. I wrote my calculation in this sheet. I think I needed around 80,000 yen. Then since they need 3 months, I also did the computation for them to show when’s the earliest date they need to check. The embassy girl praised me, so I think it worked. Bring your passbook too so they can check it. They’ll return it to you and just keep the photocopies.
  12. Insurance. I paid 15 euros for this. Just google Mawista. Yes, it is a German insurance, but I had no problems with it.
  13. Minors. meh.
  14. Self addressed envelope with an 82 yen stamp. Just buy it when you buy your letter pack.
  15. B. Letter Pack 510. Keep note of the tracking number!

 

And that’s it! Now I’m flying to France soon!

 

 

 

Arashiyama’s Unagi

July 20, 2017

I wanted to eat the famous steak in Arashiyama, but they are closed on Thursdays and guess what day it was? Oh well, I therefore decided to move on and go to the other famous restaurant – the unagi place.

Timeline:

  • 10:40 I was in line. There are more than ten people already in line by the time I got here
  • 10:55 A lady goes out to ask us how many per table
  • 11:12 They allowed us in, and we were immediately seated. Orders are taken as soon as you are ready.
  • 11:25 Unagi was served

I bought the course set, so it was JPY3900. The donburi (unagi on top of rice), medium is JPY2,900. The menu is available online, so you can simply check it out (Unagi Hirokawa). I actually got lost looking for the restaurant, and when I asked people I simply said “unagi”. They already would know what you’re looking for – that’s how famous the place is.

IMG_3369.JPG
Here’s the inside of the place.
and here’s the “garden” that serves as your view when eating.

Kyoto’s Suicide Forest?

~July 2017

Japanese culture has the good and the ugly, and one that I would consider on the less… positive side is the high suicide rate. It fascinates me – this culture that allows for ending one’s life, when I came from a culture where ending your own life is one of the ultimate sins that will bring you eternal suffering in hell.

Either way. So we were talking about Aokigahara, the infamous suicide forest at the foot of Mt. Fuji. My professor mentioned that Arashiyama’s bamboo forest was also a suicide place, but since it got so famous, the influx of tourists made in unsuitable for suicide. Kind of difficult to kill yourself when so many tourists are passing through, right?

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Doing Business in Asia (whereas Asia means China, Korea and Japan)

~August 2017

One of the nice opportunities for my university is an exchange between what I heard was called chopstick countries – China’s Beijing, Korea’s Seoul, and Japan’s Tokyo.

What is it for? Probably fostering the relationship between these powerhouses. Hence, in terms of selecting students in my school, I think that they prioritize the Japanese students, then work on the diversity (seriously, diversity is a BIG deal). Either way, what happened?

Btw, this is an extremely late blog entry and I can’t remember the details that well, so I’m no longer separating the rants and facts. Read at your own risk.

The Beijing Nightmare

This happened in summer. In August. If you ask me when to NOT go to any of these countries, August will probably be my answer. It’s hot. It’s humid. And it RAINS a lot.

A group of students from Peking University welcomed us at the airport, which was, well, very welcoming. We got into the bus, and went straight to the Hotel.

We checked in our hotels, and immediately felt the lack of access to the world’s internet. Goodbye email. Goodbye facebook. Goodbye line. I felt like the Chinese government was basically putting me in a box that tells me how I should act and the extent at which I can do things (well, they probably are).

We then proceeded to the university where I the value of the small piece of paper from Guagua (???) School of Management was evident. People were lining up to get into the school, and I’m talking hundreds of meters worth of line. Our bus skipped the line (and in the next couple of days), we sometimes are dropped off outside the school and we have to show that piece of paper to get in).

For the next week, we had classes in the school, company visits and a cancelled visit to the Great Wall of China. Why? Because it. just. won’t. stop. raining. on our free day.

Leaving Beijing, we were a couple of hours early, but with the extremely long and convoluted lines, we made it to the boarding gate 10 minutes after boarding time. Was it the scariest time in my flying life? No (see offloaded). But darn it’s a close second. Good thing the plane was late for half an hour, which we were told when we got into the boarding gate.

Fun in Seoul

Hello, internet! Plenty of notifications the moment we got into Incheon airport.

Same drill as the one in Peking – get into the bus, check in to the hotel, sleep, go to school and go to company trips.

For our free time, the students brought us to Lotte World, where other people went shopping and my group got lost walking looking for seats. We also went to plenty of restaurants, and a kitchen play (which was hilarious but whose title I no longer remember).  We also had an activity where we make Korean alcohol from rice. Unfortunately, we were flying the next day and the concoction is not allowed for flying (coz it’s alcohol and it’ll explode on air. No thanks) so we had to leave it.

Home, sweet home, Tokyo.

Finally! We’re back to Tokyo!!!

Same drill  – except the Tokyo people went their own way the moment we landed at Haneda.

For our free time, there’s no organized activity (yeah, Tokyo didn’t care). But we did tour our own groups! 😀 My group did the Omotesando – Meiji Shrine – Shibuya – Akihabara tour.

 

 

Well, this is just an overview, and if I do get the time (and can still remember it), I’ll probably write more.  Or not.