Sending an International Parcel at a Cheap Rate from Japan

My parents and elder sister have been so supportive with my wedding preparation—getting the necessary documents, sending them over, etc.—that I wanted to send them something in return. Knowing how expensive international parcels can get, I chose items that were light.

After packing Japanese snacks and two cute mascot phone straps, I looked into the international shipping options I had. This was after all, my first time sending one. What caught my eye was the “小型包装物” (small packets) option. It was for small articles with a maximum weight of 2 kg. Mine was only 190g, so this was definitely my pick. It is way cheaper than EMS (Express Mail Service) or parcel post. You can even add the option of making it a registered mail with additional costs.

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Planning a Wedding in Japan #9 – Having our Witness Sign the Documents

On the 婚姻届 (marriage document), are two empty spaces for our witnesses to sign. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I asked my ex-chief of my division if she could be my witness, and she teared up at my request and told me that she would like to sign the paper over a meal with me and my fiance.

So we went over to her house for lunch today. I have been to her house a couple of times before, but this is the first time fiance is visiting. We brought over ice-cream, games, banana cake that I made this morning, and of course our marriage document.

Ex-chief whipped up sukiyaki for lunch. We sat on the floor around two low tables and helped ourselves to the food—with the aid of communal chopsticks as a precaution measure against Covid-19.

Sukiyaki

After lunch, we played games (that are easy enough for kids to understand), and then ex-chief came up to us with…

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Planning a Wedding in Japan #8 – Translating Documents and Filling in the 婚姻届

There’s less than a month left to the date we intend to register our marriage on! I have started translating the required English documents into Japanese… and it has been proving to be a challenge. I heard that a rough translation is enough, but my pride as a translator refuses to produce a half-ass one.

I also obtained the 婚姻届 (marriage documents) from the city hall on 11th August by walking over to the building during my lunch break. The documents were placed side by side together with the 離婚届 (divorce registration papers​), and I just can’t help feeling… myself drawing back a little.

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Improving my native language—English

Ever since I started working as a CIR on the JET Programme, there have been many instances where I realised just how terrible my English was, and how lacking my knowledge was. I was unsure of many grammar rules, my expressions were childish, I did not know the format of writing a formal letter to ambassadors, and I could not write a Memorandum of Understanding.

How does one improve their native language? A language that one takes for granted most of the time, and uses it by instinct?

I do not know the answer either. I am just writing this post to share my feelings, current thoughts, and current actions.

Recently, I started re-reading the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, to try to improve my English. The author has a witty writing style, coupled with amazing vocabulary and expression. He inspires me greatly. I took care to appreciate and digest the expressions he uses, and check the meaning of words I did not know—which was at a rate of nearly one word per three pages.

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Planning a Wedding in Japan #7 – Going Down to the Consulate-General of my Home Country

Before we can register our marriage in Japan, I have to obtain documents that officially declare that I am eligible to be married. This means I have to go to either an Embassy or Consulate-General of my home country.

The only embassy I can go to is situated in Tokyo. With Covid-19 cases still on the rise, we decided to go for a less risky option, which was a drive to the consulate-general instead.

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How to renew visa / residence card in Japan for CIRs

Are you a third-year CIR like me? Then you’ll need to hurry up with renewing your visa before it’s too late!

“Hang on, is there a difference between renewing my residence card and renewing my visa?” you may ask. That’s a tricky question to answer.

Your “visa” is the permission you need to stay in Japan. If you check your passport, you should find a label that says “Japan Immigration Inspector 上陸許可 Landing Permission”. That is your visa for your first three years.

Your residence card that you have acts as a verification of your visa. That is why you need to have your residence card on you at all times, and ensure that you show it to the immigration counter when flying overseas.

You can apply to extend your visa AND get a new residence card, 3 months prior to the visa expiration date (which is stated on your residence card).

So what exactly do you need to do to stay for another 1~3 more years?
Submit an “Application for Extension of Period of Stay” to renew your visa and obtain a new residence card. This will require two trips down to your regional immigration office!

How to get about doing it.

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This CIR JET Programme blog has evolved

I started this blog to record my journey as a CIR on the Jet Programme, but right now, it has evolved to so much more than that. I’m blogging about moving in with a loved one, and about preparation for a wedding in Japan.

So much of my life has changed after coming to Japan. I always joke to my friends that my life story could be made into a Shoujo Manga. It would be about how this foreigner steps into Japan, lives abroad for the first time, learns a Japanese musical instrument, falls in love with the teacher, become a couple, has issues with communicating how she feels in her non-native tongue, but overcomes them in the end.
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