From Fukui, with Love

We fought and we won: How we (finally) got a Japanese credit card

Posted by in Mike's blog

This post signifies a MAJOR victory in a battle we’ve been fighting since our first week in Japan:  We are now the proud owners of a bona fide Japanese credit card! Way back in the day when the Bunny rode around Fukui in a stroller, we took her to the main post office branch in the middle of the city on our initial quest to get a credit card.  We aren’t fans of spending money we don’t have, but in our first week here alone we ran into the beginning…read more

“Shaken”, not stirred: Making sure our car lasts longer than milk

Posted by in Mike's blog

Every car in Japan has a yellow sticker on the windshield.  On the sticker, there’s a date.  The date signifies the point until which the car can be driven before its next scheduled maintenance. We have known for some time that our car would expire in March 2013.  There’s been a big “3” (for March) staring at us since we started to use the car last June.  The car has been good to us.  Aside from a small ¥1500 repair and an oil change, the only cash that we have…read more

How radioactive is Fukui?

Posted by in Mike's blog

Remember that time in 2011 when the world’s eyes turned to Japan after the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear crisis in Fukushima prefecture?  Of course you do, everybody does. We flew to Japan around 5 months after the disaster(s), but we didn’t do so without being aware of the impact that they had on this place.  After a few minutes of research we were fairly certain that Fukui is just TOO FAR to have been directly affected by any of the airborne fallout from the nuclear…read more

0

Unboxing the most complicated CD we’ve ever seen

Posted by in Mike's blog

We love getting mail. When the doorbell rings in the middle of the day, chances are good that it’s a delivery person with a box too big to fit through our mail slot.  This happens fairly often because it’s usually easier for us to shop online for some items in English at Amazon, Foreign Buyers’ Club, Yoyomarket, iHerb or other fun Japanese online retailers than it is to drive places and get confused by Japanese signage.  Shipping tends to be free or cheap, and things arrive fast.  The postal service…read more

0

The dirty, dirty case of the missing wedding band

Posted by in Mike's blog

I misplaced my wedding band in a rice field three weeks ago while I was participating in a mud volleyball tournament.  Today, with the help of my wonderful wife, I found it.  The odds were against us, and we had to overcome several obstacles along the way.  Here’s how it happened: A tournament of champions? I joined a team of English teachers in the annual mud volleyball tournament that takes place in Asahi town (part of Echizen-cho) every autumn.  As far as we knew, we were the first team of…read more

0

Pretty smart for a dumbphone

Posted by in Mike's blog

This is part 3 of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan. “Can you send me a pin”?  We had no idea what this meant after the first time we heard it…but it didn’t end there.  Everybody wanted pins, and everybody wanted to send me pins when I asked for directions to anywhere.  I later found out that “sending a pin” is the local…read more

A new car!

Posted by in Mike's blog

Remember that time we were happy about not having to drive around everywhere?  When we were perfectly happy about having to rely on the various bus and train options in Fukui as well as the generosity of our friends? Ya, I remember too.  I will forever maintain that it is possible to survive in this city without wheels, however, sometimes it can get pretty inconvenient.  It rains a lot here.  In the winter, sidewalks become snowbanks.  Also, it gets HOT. So we got a car. What car?  It’s a white…read more

0

Mobile services: Japan vs. Canada

Posted by in Mike's blog

  This is part 2 of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan.    Yes, yes, I know – Japan has awesome technology and it’s not fair to compare it to Canada – but from a consumer’s point of view I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth here, and not because of the technology.  It’s because of the policies of cell phone companies…read more

Getting cell phones in Japan without selling a kidney

Posted by in Mike's blog

This is the beginning of a 3 part series about how we got our phones, how we get away with paying peanuts for great service, and what our awesome “dumbphones” can do without any kind of data plan.   Before this year, the last time I remember being satisfied with my cell phone service was in 2006. It’s been a long time coming.  When the mobile industry in Canada went from being poor to thievery, I got out.  I happily functioned with only a land-line for years before we moved…read more

Things that are not in Japan

Posted by in Mary's blog

I was asked a while back to make a list of goods that we miss from Canada, so when anyone gets the urge to send us a care package they will know exactly what to send. So here it goes… ***Send us letters and pictures (you don’t need to ship a whole package to make us feel special), but for those of you who want to send lots, this list is for you. 1. Peanut butter (brand = Skippy chunky) 2. Nutella 3. Cheerios (my favorite for the Bunny are…read more

0