Monday, September 23, 2013

[LIVING TIPS] Tracking Your Parcel Through Japan Post

When you sent a parcel to your family or friend in outside Japan and it hasn't arrived even after a month  or vise versa. You can track your parcel through Japan Post.

[Check Online with a Track Number]

If you used have a track number, you can check it immediately on this page:
Serial Search by Item Number (Japan Post)

[An Inquiry to Track the Mail]

If the case of EMS and you can't get a result from the Serial Search above, you can turn in an inquiry to the post office where you sent the parcel within six months from a day after your sending.
Please read the notices concerning EMS Track & Trace Service.

Download EMS Inquiry file (with a sample) :

And the cases of registered mail, mail with insurance or international parcel, you can turn in an inquiry to the post office where you sent them within six months (a year in case of South Africa). You can also ask for the search for mails sent to you from foreign countries (except South Africa). However, the receipt is required for the search of registered mail or mail with insurance from overseas.

Download International Mail Inquiry:

Please prepare an ID to prove that you are the sender/recipient.

*Please note that this article was written on 24th September, 2013. The forms may have been changed. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

[WELFARE] Child Allowance Payment Announcement

You may have received the yellow envelop recently. It is about the Child Allowance (Announcement of Payment).

Outline (translation):

Document no.1 (White paper)

Announcement of Child Allowance or Special Payment to be continued

You will receive child allowance or special payment of Heisei 25 fiscal year (2013) from June and after as follows:

@The name of Recipient
@Category (Child Allowance 児童手当 or Special Payment 特例給付)
@Your Address
@Basic number of children to be counted*
@Amount per month
@Date of start (continue)

*Basic number of children to be counted stands for a number of children under 16 (before finishing junior high school) and over 16 to 18 (before 31st March after turning 18) in your family. According to this number, if you have a third and after child(ren) over 3 years old to 12 (before entering junior high), the monthly payment is increased.

Document no.2 (Yellow paper front)

Dear Recipient of Child Allowance or Special Payment

1. About the amount of allowance
-The amount of allowance is 15,000 yen for under 3 years old and 10,000 yen for over 3 to before finishing junior high school. If the income of the child's guardian is over the limitation, the amount is 5,000 yen regardless the age of the child (all the amount is per child, monthly).

2. About the date of payment
June to September 2013 : 15th October, 2013
October 2013 to January 2014 : 14th February 2014
February to May 2014 : 13th June 2014
*Regarding the payment, you will receive an Announcement of Payment (transfer), which is sent to your letterbox. So please confirm the detail in the letter.

3. Please declare in case of the change of your status
(1) When a new baby is born.
=>Application of Change of Amount (will be payed from the following month of the applied day)

(2) When the recipient no longer fulfill the conditions to receive the allowance
(when the recipient is no longer the guardian of the child/when the recipient becomes a civil servant/when the recipient moves out of the city/Japan)
=>Report of Lapse to Receive Allowance

(3) When there are any change in status.
(when the number of children to take care decreased/when the child go abroad to study/when there is a change in family members/when the recipient gets married/when the income of the recipient excess the limit by the change of tax amount etc./when the recipient want to change the bank account to receive the allowance and so on)
 =>Please contact the office TEL: 045-641-8411 / FAX 045-641-8412
MON - FRI (except for holidays) 9:00AM-5:00PM

*You must return the proper amount of allowance if you receive more than you are supposed to by the delay of these declaration.

Document no.3 (Yellow paper back)


How you can donate and how it will be used:
-You can donate the allowance only by handing in an application
-The city of Yokohama directly receive the donation (the amount you named).
-Your donation will be used to help children and young people in Yokohama.

The Process of Donation

1) The recipient Call the city office
2) The city send an application form to the recipient
3) The recipient turns in the application
4) The city receives the donation
* You can donate the part of your allowance (the rest will be transferred to your bank account).

If you wish to donate:
1) Please call 045-641-8411 (FAX 045-641-8412) and the officer will explain the detail.
2) Please download the application form from the website of Yokohama city and send it to the address below (if you can't download it, they will send it to you by mail).

-You can receive tax deduction of the donation of allowance (the city of Yokohama issues a certificate to declare the tax deduction).
-The donation cannot be returned after the city receives it, but you can withdraw the application before the payment of the allowance.
-The city may contact again for those who turn in the application to donate to confirm the detail.

Address: 231-8771 Yokohama City, The Department of Children and Young People, Children and Family Division/Allowance Payment
TEL:045-641-8411 / FAX:045-641-8412

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[CULTURE] Kagura at Tachibana Jinja Shrine in Hodogaya, 26th October, 2013

Kagura(神楽)is a traditional song and dance in Japan which

Date: Saturday, 26th October (postponed to 27th in case of heavy rain)
11:00AM ~: 熊襲征伐 Kumaso Seibatsu*1
13:00PM~: 浦島太郎 Urashima Taro*2

Place: Tachibana Jinja Shrine(橘樹神社)
Charge: Free

There will be an Antique Bazaar and other events on the same day.

Source: Iwama Shimin Plaza blog

Larger Map

*1 Kumaso Seibatsu is a story from a sort of myth of Japan. A man (Ousu no Mikoto) is order to defeat Kumaso Takeru by the emperor of the time.
*2 Urashima Taro is an old story in Japan. Urashima Taro saves a turtle and it takes him to a castle under the sea called Ryugujo.

Monday, September 16, 2013

[LEISURE] Conveyor-Belt Sushi Restaurant

This article is about one of a conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, Hamazushi. The system may vary in each conveyor-belt sushi restaurant chain.

Just in front of the little pathway to the fruit farm in Totsuka, is a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant called Hamazushi (jumps to the link to Hamazushi official site in Japanese).

Once you enter the restaurant, you register the number of your company and your preference of seats (table or counter), then a sheet of paper with a number is issued. And you wait until your number is called (I think you will be seated directly if it is not crowded).


You can take sushi as you like. In this chain, the black plate is with wasabi and the red plate is without wasabi.

[Order your sushi]
If you can't find what you want on the conveyor-belt, you can order with this machine.

The ordered sushi plate will arrive on a little red stool on the conveyor-belt and the machine rings to let you know the arrival of your sushi.

They have an English menu, too.
The green button is to call a staff, the yellow button is to have the check (will be explained later).

[To prepare tea]
Hot water comes out from this faucet. And green tea powder is in the little round bin in front of the faucet.

Once you are seated, you must do almost everything by yourself!
Chopsticks are in the rectangle case.

There were five different soy sauces in this restaurant.

[If you want to take out some sushi]
You can take the plastic case and put sushi using a new pair of chopsticks. And please eat as soon as possible!

[Finish and Check]
Call a staff by pushing the yellow button on the machine and let her count the plates. She'll give you a bill and you'll pay at the casher.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

[EVENT] Sankeien Garden Harvest Moon Night Viewing and Concerts, September 2013

Sankeien Garden Harvest Moon Night Viewing 三渓園観月会

19-23 September, 2013

Official Site (in English)

Concert Schedule:

19 Sep. (THU) 18:30-20:30
箏曲 (Sokyoku : music by a Japanese instrument Koto) by Koto Ensemble Kanon

20 Sep. (FRI) 18:30-20:30
Western Music (violin, sax, clarinet etc.) by Yokohama Shimin Enso Kai

21 Sep. (SAT) 18:30-20:30
雅楽 (Gagaku: Japanese classical music) by Yokohama Gagaku kai

22 Sep. (SUN) 19:00-20:00
新作能 (Shinsaku Noh: modern Noh) by Za OKINA

23 Sep. (MON) 18:30-20:30
琵琶 (Biwa: a Japanese luto) by Satsuma Biwa Kinshinryu Nakataniha Jyousui Kai

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[LIFE] Yokohama City Garbage Separation Application and MIctionary

*This contents is an extraction from the flyer by the city:

Change "How do I separate this garbage?" to "Okay, now I know!"

Enables garbage separation items to be searched for by word, and reflects collection dates back onto a built-in calendar. An extremely useful tool that also provides information on garbage separation.

Available free of charge at the App Store and Play Store.

MIctionary website
MIctionary for mobile

A retrieval system that provides details on garbage separation simply by entering the name of the item in question. Provides easy searches on cellphones and PCs whenever you are perplexed.

*************************end of citation ******************************

Yokohama city succeeded in reducing a lot of garbage in the past few years. 
Thank you very much for your cooperation. Keep separating/recycling!! And it uses less energy to burn kitchen garbage if we drain it well. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

[LEISURE] Cats Cafes and Rabbits Cafe in Yokohama "LEON"

There are many 'cats' cafes' 猫カフェ(neko cafe) in Japan and of course, there are some in Yokohama.

Here's some info on Cats and Rabbits Cafe Leon near JR Ishikawa-cho along with my experience.
Neko Cafe Leon official website
(There are a guidance and drink menu in English)

View Larger Map

We visited in September, 2013. The condition may change so please check the latest condition on the official website.

[How to Get There]

The cafe is near JR Ishikawa-cho station North exit, the Chinatown side.
They have a Cats cafe and a Rabbits cafe next to each other. When you go up the stairs, the door to Rabbits cafe is just in front of you and the one to the Cats cafe is on your right.

[When You Arrive at the Cafe...]

*If you are with young children (under 13 years old), you are requested to agree with some regulations. Please read About Bringing Young Children
Take off your shoes at the entrance, wash your hands with soap, and spread disinfectant over your hands. Then a waiter person will seat you to a table. Tell her how many hours you would like to spend and order a drink per person. If it is in 'treat time', you can buy snacks for cats and feed them (¥100 per serving, 1 serving per person). If you would like to use a locker in the cats' room to keep valuables, ask the staff for the key.

Basic charge is ¥600/30 minutes.

"One order system": we are requested to order at least one thing from the menu.

The English menu.

The end time will not be informed, so please check the time on your own responsibility.

[In the Cats' Room]

You can go to the cats' room whenever you like. You can play with cats walking around in the room but not the ones in their cage. When you feed the cats, keep the plate high or cats may take it away. And to avoid unexpected bite, put the snack on your palm and feed the cat. Used plates are supposed to be returned in a little box near the door.
Too cute!
"No Entry". Maybe a restroom.

[If You Want to Go to Rabbits' Room]

You can also go to the rabbits' room through cats' room by paying ¥300/person. Let the staff know that you would like it. There is a door to the rabbits' room in the cats' room.

[Rabbits' Room Rules]

Rabbits are in their cage. There is a name card next to each cage with their name, type and O or X sign on the bottom which means if you can put the rabbit on your lap or not (O=OK, X=Not Available).

There is a call buttons and you push it when you would like to put a rabbit on your lap, you would like to let it back in the cage, a rabbit escaped, or you would like to exchange the rabbit on your lap to your neighbor's etc...

The rabbits with X sign, you can't take them out but you can open the door and stroke them. Please be careful not to put your hands near the rabbit's mouth or its belly. It may bite you. You should not put your finger into the cage, either.

[About Rabbits Cafe] *updated Dec. 2013

The Rabbit Cafe area is closed on 31st December 2013...
Source: (in Japanese)

You can not use "ONLY" Rabbits Cafe on weekdays (but weekends and holidays).
If you would like to enjoy only Rabbits Cafe on a weekend or holiday, the charge is ¥800/30 minutes (and after 30 min, ¥200/10 minutes). There are also "90 min package/ ¥1,700" and "120min package/ ¥2,000".

Rabbits Cafe page (in Japanese)


Reservation of Cats Cafe is available on weekdays. Rabbits Cafe reservation is not available so if you would like to make a reservation, you can reserve seats at Cats Cafe and use both Cats and Rabbits Cafes by paying +¥300.

[Taking Pictures]

You can take pictures of cats and rabbits, but without flash. And please be careful not to include other customers in your picture for privacy reasons.

[About Bringing Young Children]

Children under 13 (elementary school and younger) must be accompanied by guardian(s) and you should keep an eye on them so that they won't hurt or surprise the animals. We are not supposed to run, make big noise or scream, and should speak in a low voice. These requests are explained at the entrance before entering with kids. Cats and rabbits are very sensitive animals, so please understand it and consider refraining from using the cafe if you are not sure that your kids can keep the "promise".

My child was 3 years old and he also paid the charge (as well as an adult) and a drink. He was rather kind to animals but was often frightened by their movements so I really had to pay a lot of attention while taking pictures of my family and the animals.

My son got an allergy test before and there was no sign of animal allergies. Please make sure that your children are not allergic to those animals, too.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[EVENT] ASEAN FESTIVAL 2013, 5 & 6 October at Yamashita Park

Asean Festival 2013
Date: 5th (Sat) and 6th (Sun) October
Hours: 10:00-19:00
Place: Yamashita Koen Park Omatsuri Hiroba (Square)

The festival introduces the Culture, Food and Entertainment of Asean countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippine, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)

There will be about 70 booths of food and goods from these countries.

Source: Official Site