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Living in Japan

Typical Japanese lifestyle and everyday living

Climate and weather

Kashiwa City and Nagareyama City are located in Chiba Prefecture, which has a relatively moderate climate throughout the year. However, please be aware that during the mid-summer, the temperature can still climb well in excess of 30 degrees Centigrade, which, compounded with typically high humidity, can create the uncomfortable conditions associated with the hot summer. Also, snow falls in Chiba Prefecture during the mid-winter months.
Air conditioners, fans and heating stoves will help to comfortably control the temperature inside your residence.

From summer to autumn, Japan experiences several typhoons (tropical storms) every year. It's best to be prepared for these storms by storing an emergency kit (with flashlight, batteries, food, water, etc.) in an accessible place. Also, you should familiarize yourself with your nearest local emergency shelter.

Be aware of mold

The months of June and July are known as the "rainy season" in Japan.
Even when the rainy season is finished, summer in Japan is typically hot and very humid. Therefore, it is easy for mold to grow.
Exposure to mold is unhealthy. Therefore, be sure to open your windows on clear days, try to have good ventilation, wipe off condensation from the inside of windows and doors, and use moisture removal goods, such as a dehumidifier, to prevent the growth of mold.

Drinking water

Generally, it is not a problem to drink tap water in Japan. However, if you don't like the local water smell or taste, it's best to boil your water, use a water purification system, or buy bottled mineral water.

The traditional lifestyle without shoes inside a building

In almost all Japanese homes, you step up to enter from the front door area after you take off your shoes. Sometimes, you will wear room shoes (slippers) inside the house, but you should take off these slippers when you enter a tatami (Japanese straw mat) room. Nowadays, at most offices, you don't have to take off your shoes to enter, but there are still a few traditional businesses in which you have to take off your shoes.

Bathroom and toilet

Pay attention to the traditional Japanese etiquette when taking a bath, especially when you visit someone's house or a public bath.

Wash and rinse off your body, before you enter the bathtub.
Do not wash your body inside the bathtub. To use soap, you should come out of the bathtub first, then wash and rinse your body outside of the bathtub.
Traditionally, in Japan, the hot water in the bathtub is not changed after every person takes a bath. Do not unplug the bathtub to let the hot water out. When you finish your bath, leave the hot water in the bathtub.

In Japan, there are 2 styles of toilets (so-called "Japanese style" and "Western style"). If you use the "Japanese style" toilet, you will have to squat. Except for toilet paper, please do not flush any other foreign objects, such as sanitary napkins or the cardboard core of the toilet paper roll.

Restaurants

At most Japanese and Chinese restaurants, chopsticks are usually served. If you can't use chopsticks, please don't hesitate to request silverware.
In most restaurants and bars in Japan, even where only alcohol is served, there is no system of paying for individual drinks or snacks, one at a time. You simply pay your total bill when you leave the restaurant or bar at the cash register.
Typically, in Japan, there is no system of tipping for service, but nowadays, many hotels and a limited number of restaurants will include a prescribed service charge (normally a percentage of the total) on your bill.

Shopping

In Japan, when you purchase goods or use the money transfer service at the bank, you have to pay the Japanese 5% consumption tax.
The 5% consumption tax is included in the price shown on the price tag of any item for sale in Japan. (The listed price reflects the total cost of the item and the sales tax.)
For most shopping, you should usually plan to pay in cash, but nowadays, a limited number of places, such as hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets, accept credit cards.
You can cash a personal check only at the bank where the check was written or at the bank in which you have your own account (in your name). In Japan, you cannot write personal checks for purchases.

Basic information for shopping

Holiday and National holiday

Almost all government offices, banks and post offices are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays in Japan, but many department stores, shops and restaurants are open on these days.

In Japan, if a National Holiday falls on a Sunday, the next day (Monday) will be observed as a holiday. In addition to the Japanese National Holidays, many public offices, banks and schools will also close for a few days in mid-August, for a period of days known as "Obon" (the Buddhist event), as well as at the end of the calendar year and the beginning of the new year (especially January 1 to 3).

Public telephone

Use 10 yen coins, 100 yen coins. or a telephone card to place a phone call.
Telephone cards are readily available for purchase at the kiosk or newspaper stand of the station, as well as in vending machines or convenience stores.
If you see the sign "International Call" then you can also place international calls from that public telephone.

TV and radio

In Japan, you can enjoy watching the TV or listening to the radio, and are authorized to receive any TV or radio broadcasts that with your TV or radio antenna.
There are also a variety of commercial cable and satellite TV broadcasting networks, for which subscribers need to pay charges. NHK is Japanese national public broadcasting, and, if you own a TV set, you must pay a listening fee, as prescribed by Japanese law, regardless of whether you watch NHK programming or not.

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