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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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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A call from my debit card company

Today, I received a call from my debit card company.

The debit card company told me that a store with whom I made a purchase, requested them to call me. However, first, they needed to check if I was the owner of the debit card, and they asked me for my personal particulars, such as my date of birth, and home address. They also asked for my phone number, even though they were the ones calling me, and I was starting to wonder whether this was a scam.
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Getting a Hanko in Japan – Shachihata

I didn’t like the first hanko I got when I came to Japan because I always had to carry an ink pad with me together with it. So I started my search for a hanko that had a reservoir of ink in it.

As always, I found myself purchasing what I wanted on Amazon.
Here’s what I got → Shachihata One Touch Hanko Capless 9
They had various designs for the case, and I was so tempted to get the cat design, but the difference in price between black and cat was ¥2,450… so I stuck to the simple black case.

Please note!!! If your name is longer than 5 Kanas, please do not purchase this!
(This includes small つs)

After you place your order, they will send you the hanko case together with an instruction manual-like thing.
*DO NOT throw away this manual, you will need the barcode when creating your name stamp!

Once you receive it, go to
You will have to sign up for an account first before placing your order for them to create your name to be used with your hanko. Click on the pink-red button that says 新規会員登録.

Here’s the sign-up form translated by yours truly.
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How to get people to tell you the price of those year-end parties (and new year parties)

It’s the time for year-end parties.
You might even have been invited to some new year ones as well.

Most of those invites mean well. They would like you to join in the festivities, get drunk, and have a good time. But maybe, like me, you are concerned about the price. The price that they somehow left out in the details.

Would you like to come to this place at this time if you are free?
“I would if it’s not going to burn another hole in my pocket”
is something you can’t really say because there is a need to keep the WA.

So try replying to that email with something like this. → Read more

Finding my old Japanese letter

I came across a picture of a memo that I left for my Japanese tour guests when I was freelancing as a tour guide in the year 2014. Reading it now makes me cringe. It says


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Torazakana’s Food Lifestyle

I am a person who eats to live, and not one who lives to eat. Anyone who knows me well enough can tell you that I sometimes grumble about why humans require food to survive.

It has been more than 10 months since I arrived here and started living by myself. When I first came here, my lunch was food from my work canteen, and my dinner was something off the ready-made bento rack from the nearby supermarket most of the time. I gradually grew sick of my dinner bentos after a couple of months and decided to → Read more

Falling Sick

My throat started hurting, and then it turned into a cold – with chills, headache, slight pain in joints and a hint of a fever. I couldn’t think straight and felt cold even though the temperature was at 29 degrees. Had to use two hours of 代休 (off in lieu) and leave work at 15:00 to crash into bed – but not before texting BF to help buy me some sandwiches for dinner. At about 17:30, BF came over with not only sandwiches but soba and salad – as well as a hamburg bento set for himself. He also got me this Oral Rehydration Solution that is supposed to taste good when you’re sick but awful when you’re well. It tasted good. Damn.

We watched a couple of → Read more