TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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How it’s done in Japan

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I have an aversion to aspects of Japanese culture that just aren’t a thing in NZ. This is something I have to get over, as it’s part of living here and I always find myself procrastinating on these aspects and having to deal with them at an inopportune time.

Perhaps the most obvious thing would be that a passbook is still a very normal part of banking in Japan. Passbooks haven’t been used in NZ for at least 20 years, and I find it outright annoying to have to keep updating mine when I can do everything I need online. Then there are some forms of payments (usually when working for the City Hall in my case) where I have to physically print out something and use my Hanko to stamp it, otherwise I won’t get paid!

I have recently come across yet another problem. In Japan you have to register your car’s parking spot (if it is a ‘Futsu-sha’, or anything bigger than a ‘Kei car‘). This is because there is a limit of parking in Japan, and for us this is especially important when the snow falls because everyone needs to guarantee they have a parking spot! That’s all fine and dandy, but when you move you have to let the police station know so they can update your driver’s license (they actually print the new address on the back), and updating your car’s parking spot is a separate issue. It would make sense for these two things to happen at the same time, but since when has anything made sense in Japan. Anyway, I didn’t update my car’s parking spot, and so when it comes time to pay tax on the car, it gets sent to my old address. I now have to drive to a place about 20 minutes away just to fill out a form. Computers be damned!

But it’s part and parcel of living here. If you’re choosing to live somewhere, you’re also choosing to live with its quirks, I guess.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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