It can be hard as a foreigner…

So they say that this marks the beginning of “tsuyu” (梅雨). Or better known as the rainy season. It has been pretty gloomy/rainy out. I guess the rainy season continues for about a month–but it doesn’t mean that it will rain the entire time. People always emphasize the strength of the rain over how many days it rains during the rainy season. People tell me to prepare a rain outfit and to watch your umbrella because it’s the one time of year where people take other peoples’ umbrellas because the rain is so strong.

There is something that I have learned about as a foreigner here in Japan. The concept of signing something in Japan is done with a stamp (印鑑?). My name doesn’t fit in the tiny box they leave for using their stamp and, for example, my bank will not let me physically withdraw money from any other location but one (other than using an ATM) all because I don’t have a stamp. I spent 1 hour or more at the bank making an account because one tiny mistake (even writing the wrong month on accident) meant you had to redo the entire application–that and the worker didn’t really know what I was supposed to do. I had to rewrite the application because I didn’t use all capital letters for my name. “You can write your first name first.” “I’m sorry, last name first.” “I’m sorry… I need all capital letters…” And the list of “why not gather all the information on what I need to do before I write everything up using kanji and what have you? Frustrating…

Life in Japan is not easy if you don’t know someone who can help you. Most situations it is exceedingly difficult to get anything as a foreigner. You need the right visa length, etc. For example I wanted a cellphone through Softank but I couldn’t sign up for it the normal way because I didn’t have a 2 year visa. I had to buy the phone outright and then sign up for their service. I needed a bunch of paper work too. My proof of application for my gaijin card, my visa, my passport and another picture ID–and even then they could have turned me down. Technically speaking it went against protocol to allow me to sign up without a 2 year visa.

Internet can be hard to obtain–especially if you don’t have a Japanese computer because some services require you to install certain programs to access your internet which are in Japanese and have trouble running on computers that are English based for whatever reason.

In most situations the good outweigh the bad, but at the same time it’s very frustrating when Japan claims they want more foreigners to come and live and work here and yet they still keep things very difficult to have the same necessities they would have or want in their home country. Something that comes very easy for Japanese citizens to obtain and it has nothing to do with the language barrier.

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