At least not on not money blogs. But I have been somewhat obsessed with it. I think that is due to the whole no salary for 3 weeks, coupled with borrowing money off people, coupled with trying to figure out how to get money back home.
Banking in Japan is Not Easy.
1. The local system is not computerised
Imagine if you will, a gaijin (foreigner) walking into a bank. She has with her a Japanese speaking person, which is lucky, as no one in there actually speaks Japanese. The person setting up the account talks to the interpreter, the gaijin puts all the required documents in a tray, which are physically walked around the office, to the person who inputs the information. And I am going to be honest here – I am not even sure that the information is on line. Oh, and you have to specifically request an ATM card. Whilst the ATMs are automated (with limited opening hours) I am not sure sure inside the bank…
Skipping ahead to when I get my card: It isn’t even a visa debit, so I can’t use it online. It is simply a cash card.
Ah! And the whole name thing? Annoying. Like, my bank took my names off residence card, which took them off my passport. I have a lot of names. So Every Time I fill in a form? I have to write everything out, in the exact same order. With my last name first. Very important.
2. Getting Money from Japan To Australia? Only sounds easy. And then it actually is.
I had these plans of signing up to Ozforex to transfer money back home. It would have worked, except that I can’t find anything in English to prove that I live where I live. I understand that they need all the info, but it just isn’t easy. And it is not like I can blame Japan for having all its paper work in Japanese…
So I sent money from a bank. Not my bank I will add (but I will try that next time.) J kindly biked me there this morning, and unfortunately was called away in the middle of the process. Oh, it was all ok. And it could not have been that interesting for her sitting there while I slowly filled in forms. But it was relatively painless… There is a person who speaks English on the desk. The instructions are there. But also not there. You are not supposed to leave the country for a week in case it doesn’t work. (Oh what can go wrong??)
But it has been a Learning Experience.
Things I have learnt
– you can only take out 500,000Y per day from the ATM
– you can take out more from the bank, but it is tricky when your bank people don’t speak English. Well, it isn’t tricky, it just takes a while.
– Your signature is important. You have write exactly what you did when you signed it (ie your full name OR the initial. I need me a.. hanko(?) one of those stamps that is all official like)
– For some reason even though carrying around $6000 would freak me out in Aus, it doesn’t seem so bad here.
– $6000 doesn’t fit in my purse
– It is.. dangerous? the way that Japanese money feels like play money
– If I run low on tissues I should go to the bank to do a transaction. You get free tissues!
– You can take money out with your card, or with your passbook, but you need your card to use your passbook
– Official documents require your birth in the Japanese year. My Japanese birth year is 昭和54年 (or showa 54. The 54th year of the current emperors rule? I think that is it. Anyway, that is how I have to date the bank correspondence)
– it costs me 105Y to use a bank that is not my bank, or in a 7-11. That is, if it is a 7-11 ATM between the hours of 8am and 5.30pm (seriously weird rules, folks!)
Wo what does all this mean? I have been paid!!! I feel So Much Better being all financial again!! A big thankyou to the people that have tied me over (J, boss, workmate, sister J, and parents) (that is a scarily long list. Thankyou one, and thankyou all!)
So now comes in the hard part – budgeting when I only get paid quarterly!