Getting a cellphone and internet

Mobile phones have become such an integral part of our lives that now it is difficult to imagine life without one. Mobile phones make life so much easier, and if you are in India getting a phone and a local number is a cakewalk. However soon after reaching Japan we realised that getting a local (Japanese) phone number and phone is one of the most difficult aspects of settling in Japan, especially if you don’t know Japanese. There are few very important points to remember before one decides to buy a phone

  • First of all, if the period of stay in your visa is less than three years, it is very difficult to get a number and phone (As per my understanding, there may be exceptions)
  • Buying just a sim card is very difficult without knowing Japanese.
  • Hand set bought outside Japan (say India) will not work here. So you  either will have to buy a new phone or a used phone. Former is much easier option but obviously expensive, latter is a cheaper option but you might have to jump through hoops to get it.

Buying a phone is not all together necessary, there are other options that you can use for calling your family (in India) or internet etc. (discussed later in this post). However if you are still interested in getting a local number and phone then keep reading this section.

The 3 major telecom carriers in Japan are NTT, Softbank and AU.

In order to buy a phone you will need to go to the office of one of these companies. Now here it becomes tricky, as it is quite impossible to find staff who can communicate in English  at these offices. After walking into several offices at different locations, we finally found one person at the Softbank office of Sakae, who knew English well. So we decided to buy phone from there itself. There are several Softbank offices in Sakae, the one that I am referring to, is located near (right side) the Exit 6 of Sakae subway station.

Depending on the phone that you buy and calling plan that you decide, usually the contracts are for two years. Another very important point before you even think of buying phone is getting a credit card. You can read my blog post on how to get a credit card here.

Do not forget to take your Passport, Residence card and credit card when you go to buy phone.

Internet

Although getting a phone number and phone might seem quite difficult in Japan, getting access to internet is not that tough. First of all, the students and researchers who are living on NU campus should be able to access internet either via wifi or LAN provided by NUWNET. One can also buy pocket wifi devices, that are quite popular here and connect any phone (wifi  enabled of course !) with it. The charges for these are quite nominal. Since I have not used it, my knowledge in this regard is limited and I suggest you to explore this site. The information on the website is general with respect to Japan and not specific to Nagoya. I will update this page once I am able to gather more information.

 

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Food and groceries in Nagoya

We Indians love food and particularly, we are attached to our Indian food. One of the first things that we wanted to find out when we moved to Nagoya was a place where we can get Indian spices and groceries. We had a bit of a hard time buying groceries initially as it felt really expensive and with very few choices. Anyways, after exploring the area near NU and help from our friends we have been able to land on some excellent and economical options for getting groceries. I am going to share these category wise

Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Meat-

Although you will find these items (to some extent) at all convenience stores, they are pretty expensive and sometimes not even fresh. Following are some of the places that are economical as well as you can find fresh items here.

  • Yaosen – Formerly and popularly known as “Tachiya” is one of the best places to buy fresh vegetables, fruits and meat near NU. It is very economical (from Japanese point of view and not Indian point of view of course). It is about 2 km from Nagoyadaigaku station (see map below for the route).
  • Marche– This is another good place to buy groceries, it is larger than Tachiya and has a lot more things apart from food, however we found it slightly more expensive in comparison to tachiya. If you visit here on a Sunday you will receive a coupon along with the bill which can be used on the coming Wednesday to avail discount on certain items. This is close to HIgashiyama zoo (see map below).
  • Food front- This is also near Higashiyama zoo and we found the prices to be close to or higher than Marche.

Apart from the places mentioned above, fresh fruits, vegetables etc. can also be found at AEON mall. I will mention the details of the location of these later in this blog.

Indian spices etc.

Our food is known for the exquisite  aroma and taste and those are brought by the numerous spices used in Indian cuisine. Being foodies we were determined to find out the places where we could find all the spices for our food. The best way is to order it online, we frequently use Indobazaar (http://www.indobazaar.com), there are other portals like Ambika Japan (http://www.ambikajapan.com), Indojin (http://www.indojin.com) etc. In case of Indobazaar, the delivery is free of cost for orders above 8000 yen and  it usually comes within one-two days. Indobazaar has the option of “cash on delivery” which is good in case you dont have credit card yet. Since I have not used any other site till now, I can  not comment on others. You may search on the internet for more options. In case you need to buy something urgently or buying over internet is not an option then you go to “Halalaya” shop. This is a halal shop that has almost all the Indian spices, pulses, rice, flour, dry fruits and also ready to cook packs. The prices are slightly higher than what you can get on the internet. Following is the map to reach Halalya from Nagoyadaigaku station

Apart from the above mentioned options you can find some common spices (like chilli powder, herbs- Oregano, Basil etc) at AEON Malls near NU. I will list the major supermarkets and malls near NU below.

AEON Motoyama– This is the closest AEON mall to NU. Apart from the usual household stuff, food, etc., it has a big pharmacy and  a 100 yen shop (I will write about 100 yen shops in Nagoya in another post). Following is the way to AEON Motoyama.

AEON Yagoto- This is quite big and has quite a lot of options with regards to almost all the household items. You can get kitchen ware, Dining ware, Toiletries etc here. This also has a 100 yen shop (Seria) and Uniqlo (very economical clothes brand). This is a little far from NU but still at walking distance if one tries, other wise you can take a subway from Nagoyadaigaku and get down at Yagoto station on Meijo line. The exit 3 of the station opens in the B3F of Aeon Mall.

There are more malls and supermarkets at some distance from NU, like AEON Aratamabashi etc. which you can explore when you go out.