Getting your first credit card

One of the first things that took us by surprise when we moved to Japan was the reliance on credit card here for almost any financial transaction. It is almost impossible to buy something as basic as a phone without a credit card. I will write another piece on how to get a phone in Nagoya. For now I am going to try and explain the easiest way to get a credit card if you are an employee/student in Nagoya University.

As most forums will tell you, getting the first credit card is most difficult (as there is no credit score etc. etc…).  I had no clue in the beginning, but two of my friends helped me a lot to figure it out. I will give a step by step guideline for it.

You need following things to get a credit card (this is purely based on my experience, it may vary for others so please do not take it verbatim).

  • Residence card with address notified on the back of it.
  • A savings bank account in a Japanese bank (easiest is to go to the Japan Post Bank branch in the University and open a 0 yen account. It hardly takes 20 minutes)
  • A phone number of your office or home where they can contact you. This is the most important part because they will need to verify your credentials, so you need to give a phone number which you can access easily when they try to contact you. My verification was done by a person who knew English also, so it was easy.
  • Photograph

Once you have arranged the above things, you need to go to the Nagoya University Co-op shop located near Akasaki Institute. You can pick up “Tuo” credit card forms. The form is completely in Japanese, however you can download an ehandbook from the website of the credit card company (http://tuo.univcoop.or.jp/). In spite of the English instructions you might need to take help of someone who knows Japanese, particularly to fill your bank account details etc. Once you have filled out the form and pasted the photograph, you need to take this back to the co-op and submit it at the “Travel” counter (left side of the first entrance).

coop

And its done. Well at least your part is done. Now you have to wait for the verification, they will most probably call after one week and ask about your address, name, date of birth etc. If everything goes fine, you should receive your credit card approximately within one-two weeks after verification.

One last note- Issuing credit card is completely at discretion of the credit card company (in this case- Mitsui Sumitomo) so you might get rejected even after following everything. However, I hope you get it. So best of luck.

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Notification of place of residence

Although I understand that everybody who comes to Japan knows about this but still I am writing this piece only  for the sake of completion and continuity. So basically once you have settled at your place of residence you need to notify the ward office of your residential area about your address and get your address stamped at the back of your residence card. It’s a very simple procedure that takes hardly 30 minutes. For those living in or around Nagoya University (NU), you need to go to the “Chikusa ward office” or “Showa ward office”. Students and researchers living in “International Residence Higashiyama” need to go to the Chikusa ward office and following are the instructions to go there.

Chikusa ward office is about 2.8 km from NU.

Subway Route to Chikusa ward office-

  • The subway station for Chikusa ward office is “Ikeshita” on “Higashiyama” or yellow line.
  • The subway fare from Nagoyadaigaku station to Ikeshita station is 200 yen
  • Take subway train from Nagoyadaigaku to “Motoyama” (It is next stop from Nagoyadaigaku in counter clockwise direction) (Note- Meijo line is a circular line connecting several different subway lines at different stations, hence clockwise and counter clockwise directions)
  • Change at Motoyama and take train going towards “Sakae” or “Nagoya station” or “Takabata” on Higashiyama line
  • Ikeshita is the second stop after Motoyama.
  • Chikusa ward office is right in front of the exit 2.

nagoyadaigaku_to_chikusa_WO

Although the English language skill of the office staff is pretty bad, they are very cooperative and helpful. So you will have no problem in getting this work done.

Some useful websites

As I mentioned earlier there are many useful websites that can help in making life easier in Japan for non-Japanese. I am going to list a few here that have proven to be very helpful to us.

  • Surviving Japan – an excellent website for  almost everything that you might need in Japan. I was inspired to write this blog after visiting this website.
  • Nagoya International Center – I have never visited NIC so I can not comment on services at the center but the website itself is very informative regarding official processes in Japan, tourist destinations etc.
  • Japanican.com – for those of you who like to travel around, this is a good website to find cheap tours for various destinations in Japan. This also has Shinkansen (Bullet train) tickets.
  • Tripadvisor – this is one of my favourite websites and I am sure most people know about it. If you don’t, please go and explore Nagoya or any other destination in this website.

I hope this was helpful. I will keep updating this page as I come across more resources.

Subway in Nagoya

 

Subway system in Nagoya is very efficient and convenient with English instructions for almost everything. So anyone who has travelled by metro in Delhi or Bangalore should have no problem in commuting by subway.

Finding subway stations and getting an idea of distance from subway station may be a problem initially when usually people do not have access to Google Maps.

A few important points to remember

  • As a thumb rule, the distance from one subway station to next (sometimes even two stations if you can walk a little more) can be easily covered on foot. (We ended up paying 200 yen initially when we did not know about this).
  • Try to club few tasks together and go out on one day and buy one day pass (740 yen).
  • Try to go on weekend (one day pass is cheaper – 600 yen).
  • All ticket vending machines have English instructions option in them.
  • In case of any difficulty you can ask the station master (they are very helpful)

Station– The Nagoya University station is “Nagoya-daigaku” on “Meijo Line”.

Ticket- In order to buy tickets you need to first refer to the subway fare chart usually displayed above the ticket vending machine. The fares are written from the your station to all other stations. There is no way to specify station in the ticket vending machine. You can only buy ticket for a particular amount as mentioned in the fare chart. 

Ticket_vending_machines

For those of you who have smart phones “city rail map” is an excellent app that has all the information about the subway system (routes maps etc.) of several cities including Nagoya. You can install this app and find the best routes to your destination.

An amateurish guide to living in Nagoya

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It has been almost three months since my wife and I moved to Nagoya, Japan. I am working at Nagoya University (NU) as postdoctoral researcher. After some initial hiccups we have been able to get settled here with a routine and life seems to be going smooth. We were fortunate to find some friends here in the beginning who helped us a lot and we will always be thankful to them. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to find helpful people right away and for a person not speaking Japanese, it can get quite difficult to understand things in Nagoya. So, I decided to start a blog which will be a culmination of all the useful information that I believe is important for getting around NU.

I understand there are several portals online to help Indians in Japan, but my attempt here is focused only for Indians coming to Nagoya and more specifically the students and researchers coming to NU (or near by). I will try to keep the information as less redundant as possible, meaning that I will only share the information that I believe is difficult to find using simple Google search.

Since I have been living near Nagoya University, all the information that I will be sharing will be specific mostly to the area around the NU.

I will try to be as organised as possible but since inherently I am not organised it is going to be difficult task and you might find several stray thoughts here and there…. So lets begin

A few words about the Japanese people

We found Japanese people to be one of the most helpful people ever. They will try to help you in any way possible. So if you are stuck somewhere just try conveying your problem to one of the local people and surely they will help you. Knowing a few Japanese words can go a long way. Japanese are very well mannered and polite, so you need to be polite while talking to them. Start by saying “Sumimasen” which means “Excuse me”. Also thank after they have helped you by saying “Arigato Gozaimasu”