100 yen shops in Nagoya

One of the best revelations to us after moving to Nagoya was the concept of 100 yen shop. These are exactly what they sound. Everything in these shops is of 100 yen (well exactly 108 yen after tax). The best part is that you can get so many useful things here that it becomes one of the first destinations to look for when you need some small household items. There are even 100 yen convenience stores like Lawson 100 where you can get a variety of things just for 1oo yen. This is particularly helpful for those who come for stays of short durations and don’t want to spend much on settling here. There are quite a few 100 yen shops near NU. As in my previous posts I am going to share their locations in reference to Nagoyadaigaku station

Lawson 100- This is a 24 hour open convenience store with a variety of food items and useful household stuff.

100 yen shop in Aeon Motoyama (2F) – This has a lot of options of things of everyday household needs.

 

Seria – This is a big chain of 100 yen shops at several locations. The one nearest to the NU is at 3F of Aeon Yagoto.

There is another quite famous chain of 100 yen shops called Daiso but none of the Daiso stores are as near to the NU as stores mentioned above.

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.

 

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 meats 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 “Halalya” 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.

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.

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. Its 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”.

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.