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Daily Life

Water

imgTo start using water, you must contact the Waterworks Bureau. Water usage fees are paid at a bank, post office or convenience store by a set deadline. If you wish, you can also pay your bill through automatic withdrawals from one of your bank accounts.

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Electricity

To start using electricity, you must contact the electricity company. Electricity usage fees are paid at a bank, post office or convenience store by a set deadline. If you wish, you can also pay your bill through automatic withdrawals from one of your bank accounts.

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Gas

To start using gas, you must contact the gas company. Gas usage fees are paid at a bank, post office or convenience store by a set deadline. If you wish, you can also pay your bill through automatic withdrawals from one of your bank accounts.

Two forms of gas are used in households: city gas and propane (LP) gas. The type of gas varies depending on the region or building. Please contact the relevant gas company after verifying with the landlord or property management company.

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Waste

imgWaste disposal methods vary depending on the region. Waste should be separated into burnable, non-burnable and recyclable waste, and taken out on the specified days. For furniture, bicycles and other large waste, contact your local government office and have them come to collect the waste (a fee applies).

Waste must be placed in the type of bag designated by your local government office, and must be placed in the designated areas on the morning of the specified date for collection. Waste placed in bags other than the designated bags may not be collected.

Please contact your local government office for details regarding how to separate waste, the specified days for collection and recycling.

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Phones / International Phones / Mobile Phones / Internet

imgThere are three types of phones: the type you install at your place of residence (fixed-line phones), public phones and mobile phones.

To install a new phone line at your place of residence, apply by calling 116 (no area code necessary) for NTT via a public phone, consult with the landlord or apply with another phone company.

To purchase a mobile phone, an inkan (seal) and/or ID may be needed. If you do not have an inkan (seal), check in advance whether or not a signed document (signature with no seal) is accepted as a valid document.

International calls can be made directly from your home phone, mobile phone or public phone. Charges and methods vary depending on the phone company you use. If you would like to make an international call from a public phone, use a gray phone that is marked “International & Domestic.”

You need to apply for the use of the internet. Internet connections vary from residence to residence, so check with your landlord or property management company.

Internet access is also available at internet cafes.

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Mail / Delivery Service

Postal items such as letters and postcards are posted with stamps. In case you want to send regular size mail within Japan, it is 62 JPY for a postcard and 82 JPY for sealed letter.
If you don't know the postage or the postal item does not fit in the post box, please take it to the post office.
Shipping packages and other items is also handled by other couriers.

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Communication / Customs in Japan

imgThere are numerous Japanese customs and manners. For example, as a rule, you need to take off your shoes at the entrance when entering a house. However, you can leave them on in certain shops or other public places, or there may be a designated place for taking off your shoes. It is recommended that you observe or ask when you are not sure of what to do. There are also various manners regarding the use of chopsticks, how to behave and other situations, so it is advisable that you do some research or ask people regarding such customs.

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Manners for Living Alone

Freedom does not mean that you can do whatever you want, but rather that you should take responsibility for your words and actions. Remember that you are a member of the society and must observe its rules and manners.

●Private Space (Your place)

In housing complexes, be careful not to make noise, such as noise from TVs or stereos. Refrain from vacuuming and doing the laundry at night, as well.

●Common Spaces (Hallways, stairs, elevators, etc.)

Make sure you follow the rules, etc. for such matters as non-smoking areas and waste collection, and try to keep the space clean.

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Security

It is very important to make it a daily habit to be conscious of security to avoid being a victim of crime.

Be on the lookout for suspicious individuals when coming home at night or using the elevator. It is important that you take note of places you can run to for refuge in case of an emergency, such as 24-hour stores or koban (police boxes). Make sure you lock your room even when at home, and be prepared for any intrusions by suspicious individuals or visits from dishonest solicitors. In addition, in order to minimize damage from theft, it is vital to store cash, bank account books and your inkan (seal) separately.

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Disaster Prevention

●Fires

Even if there is a fire in your neighborhood, there are many buildings in which fire doors are installed in hallways and/or stairs. Thus, as long as the fire started in a place other than your own and fire-fighting operations were carried out properly, then there is hardly any fear of the fire spreading to your place. If fires start in the floors above or below you, then you may incur water damage from fire fighting efforts. In such cases, it would be safe to place your valuables in the bathroom.

●Earthquakes

First verify your own safety. Even if the shaking stops, you need to be careful of any secondary disasters. Shut off the gas and stove at the main valves and extinguish the sources of fires to prevent further disasters. Do not forget to switch off electric appliances such as irons, etc. and to turn off the circuit breaker.

●Use Stairs in Emergencies

Use the stairs and NOT the elevator when evacuating during a disaster. If you are inside the elevator when an earthquake or fire occurs, press the buttons for all floors and get off at the first floor the doors open. If for any reason the elevator stops between floors, contact someone outside through the intercom or other means and explain the situation.

img●Move to a Designated Evacuation Site

Check bulletin boards and circulars regarding evacuation sites designated by your local government office in case of disasters. Take note of the location and become familiar with it.

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