Thursday, August 2, 2012

Moving to Japan: What to bring?

Moving to Japan is entirely different from moving to college or taking a vacation. For starters you are moving your whole life to another country half way across the globe. But then again you have a limit to what you can bring. So the essential question, what to bring?

Here I have made a list to help with some added helpful and or snarky comments. Since I am a girl my list is mostly doctored to help girls out but men can pretty much just subtract the girly items. 

(what I packed)
The obvious Not as obvious
and optional
NOT essential

4 skirts (3 business skirts and one that can is business casual)
4 pants (different colors – khaki, black, blue, brown)
2 jeans ( You still have the weekends and vacations. You are going to want these)
?? Shorts (I brought 3 but I rarely wear them)

Handheld gaming & games
Headphones Phone (optional. it wont work in Japan)

On the plane

A book (Optional. And just one don’t be greedy!)
Bottled water
Your own headphones
Handheld games

Don’t Bring!

Your gaming console (haha I am one to talk! But I brought mine over after I went home for a Christmas. If you bring this then you have to take it out at every security scan in addition to your laptop. IF you bring this make sure it isn’t region locked!!)
Bedding (you can get them easily enough in Japan unlike Korea)
CDs and DVDs(bulky + DVDs are region locked)
Large amounts of health care products ( you are not moving to a 3rd world country)
Any of your crazy Japanophile paraphernalia (ok the figurine is OK but leave the katana or body pillow at home)
Kitchenware ( unless you have something really unique and doubt its availability in Japan get that stuff here. It just takes up room)
Extra clothes ( you will buy stuff here don’t worry. And yes they have ‘American sizes’ - don’t be silly. They even have American outlet malls)
Alarm Clock (well don’t bring one that plugs in anyways. Most electronic plug-ins are perfectly capable in Japan, but because of the current differences, clocks will work fine but run slower and slower. And you will be late for things. )


3 sweaters or cardigans
3 long sleeves shirts (used for winter undershirts)
6 short sleeved shirts (appropriate for work. Must have sleeves. Japan doesn’t do the sleeveless look. It isn’t proper)
 •3 tank tops (summer is hot and still good for undershirts)
4 long sleeved blouses 
•2 T-shirts (weekends. Vacation.)
•2 dresses

Wallet, cash, & cards (make sure you have Yen and your countries currency – for airport use. Don’t do travelers cheques they are too much of a hassle and not many banks in Japan will recognize them)
Directions printed out (there likely won’t be anyone with a sign for you and you won’t have access to the internet or your phone)

Unsuspecting Health

Meds (remember pain reliever, while they have it here is a different dosage and you can’t read the bottle)
Cortizone (useful in every situation)
Nyquil (Their medication for colds is depressing here. Pretty much just a face mask.)
Sunscreen (wickedly small and super expensive here)
Contact case (if I had a dollar for how often I left this behind…)
Tampons (just in case)
Packet of tissues (just in case)
Towels (they do not have an abundance full body towels in Japan they use what we would call a dish or hand towel)

7+ pairs of socks
Indoor shoes (tennis shoes or slippers. Rubber soles. You will wear these inside school and not out of it) 
•Running shoes/ walking shoes
•1-2 Professional shoes
•1 pair of flats 
•2 boots (I have snow boots and hiking boots that are water proof. There is a rainy season here)
•Indoor sneakers (optional – to be used in the gym at school. They are typically different from your school shoes and are also indoor only shoes)
•Flip-flops (I am American after all. Also you might go to the beach and they don’t take up that much space)
Bathroom supplies

•Travel kit for shampoo/conditioner and soap 
•Tooth brush
•Tooth Paste •Contacts 
•Mini contact solution 
•Deodorant (heck bring 2! This stuff is nonexistent in Japan!)
Make up
And that should hold you over until you get to Japan where everything else can be readily bought from the dollar store.

If you have favorite brands of certain products, they may be really hard to come by overseas. Example: Studio Gear make up? Can’t get it here. Also Clinique, and Maybelline are ridiculously expensive (I know, Maybelline, right?!
Bit Random

Umbrella (only the collapsible kind. Only if you come during the rainy season. Otherwise they run a dollar a piece at the 100yen store)
Address's (only if you are an awesome friend who sends postcards)
A small dictionary (no don’t get that phrase book! Don’t be ridiculous you are not going to use that)
Japanese study books (only if you are really going to use them! Their selection here is limited inside bookstores and online shopping is best but be prepared to do it in Japanese!)
Mamas baked goods! 
•Any food favorite from home ( cookies and candies are likely to be double here and Australian and British brands are less available. Things like oatmeal is nearly unheard of and much more difficult to find in smaller cities)
A bit of home (it would help decorate your room and lessen any homesickness)
Coffee (its just no good here)
Sports equipment (Like for hiking Mt. Fuji. Be sure you are going to use it )

1 matching blazer to a pair of suit pants
1-2 light jackets for spring and autumn
•1 coat for colder autumn (like a pea coat)
1 winter coat (if you are not prone to cold or are not to live in cold places then you can do without)
1 raincoat (rainy season. It is a month long)
Accessories (optional)

Hair accessories (hair ties and bobby pins)
Backpack (really good for weekend traveling)

2 (ish) weeks of panties
4 bras (different colors – white, skin colored, black, and a fun one)
Robe (optional)
•1-2 sets of sleepwear
I have extra space and I really care about my hygiene

Nail clippers 
Perfume (more expensive in Japan)

IN ALL HONESTY, you can bring like a week of supplies and buy the rest here. THOUGH you would have to find good stores that carry suitable good quality products ( I feel like the quality is hard to find). If you are located out there in the inaka, you might have a much harder time of this. The size issue, it is not so much as an issue any more. There are American stores here and they carry most sizes, albeit they have a diminished stock of larger sizes (they don't need to order as many). There are also stores that cater to a very willowy Japanese figure and they are pretty prevalent. Especially in Osaka.
However, to buy everything here is kind of expensive...So, you know, make your decisions wisely...

Extra advice:
  • Bring 2 suitcases. Even if you don't need both of them, you will accumulate stuff in Japan to fill up that room when you go back home. (conversely, you can just get an extra suitcase in Japan but they are more expensive)
  • If you are coming in March, you don't have to worry about your winter clothes as much and hope that your family is more loving and charitable and will send you your winter clothes at a later date. Shying on the winter clothes, coats especially can significantly increase your space, but note that if you are placed in the northern regions, that it can still be snowing at this time. Even in the regions like Osaka and Kyoto as well... but that is a bit infrequent at that time and never lasts to see daylight. 
  • If you have space and want to save on money then I would advise you to pack a nice electric razor (for men) and hair electronics for women (if you care about that sort of thing...I don't). These items are apparently more expensive here and sometimes  difficult to find ones of better quality(for men). This is a complaint I heard more than once from people who have recently made the move (hard to find/expensive). But I also know for fact that recycle shops will carry a very wide range in quality and a significant number of said products at a good price. Also there is yahoo auction where you can find cheaper things, but is limited to Japanese.
  • Buy a mini sewing kit at a 100 yen store. Super useful things. 
  • I cannot think of a single electronic besides clocks that do not run perfectly in Japan. They may have less power than you are used to, but they will function just fine. Personally I have a CuisineArt hand held and of course chargers and the like, no problems here. 
Extra important advice:
In your carry on pack everything you might need for a week or two. This is good so you don't have to root through your bigger suitcase during orientation only to go through the hassle to pack it all up again. The less bags you open the smaller the mess. Also if you are lazy and haven't unpacked before school starts then you will know where everything you need is conveniently located. 

No comments:

Post a Comment