Preparing to Travel to Japan

Uploaded by MyHusbandisJapanese on 27.02.2012

So! You're going to Japan! Or maybe you just want to go in the future.
Either way good luck but before you leave there are a lot of preparations to make...
...and that's where this video comes in.
I'm gonna talk about calling your credit card company, having someone check your mail,
your car and car insurance, power of attorney, visiting your doctor and Yakkan Shoumei.
The first thing you wanna do before you leave is call your credit card company
and have them put an alert on your card so they know you'll be using while you're abroad.
You might only be able to put a notice on there for a couple months,
so you're gonna have to keep reminding them that you're still abroad.
To do this you can either call them collect from an international phone number,
if they accept collect calls, or you could have someone you trust like your
parents call for you from your home country.
In that situation your parents may need power of attorney, which I'll go over later.
If you don't notify your credit card company you run the risk of them detecting
fraud and freezing your account, which means you won't be able to use it at all.
If this happens they'll either try to call you or send you a snail mail letter,
and since you'll be in Japan you'll never know!
Unless you have some checking your mail, which is my next point.
You never know what kind of mail you're going to get while you're gone.
The first time I came to Japan I was selected for jury duty!
Fortunately I had some going through my mail so they were able to fill out my return
slip with my excuse and take care of it for me.
If they hadn't I would've had a headache to deal with after my return.
If you have a car it would also be a good idea to leave it with someone you trust so
they can run it for you every now and then.
You don't want to come home to a car that doesn't work!
You should also consider contacting your insurance company to change your policy.
You might be able to switch it to something much cheaper, essentially putting it in
a standby mode until you return, which could save you hundreds of dollars.
And what happens when something goes wrong with any of these things and you can't deal
with it because you're not in the country?
That's where power of attorney comes in!
So what is power of attorney? The basic gist is that you're giving someone the legal right
to make financial or medical decisions for you on your behalf.
With unlimited power of attorney
this person can essentially make any decision for you, which should be raising
a red flag!
It can be dangerous!
This is why you never give power of attorney to someone you don't have an
established history of trust with.
You don't give it to your boyfriend girlfriend.
You don't give it to your fiance or fiancee.
You don't give it to your best friend. You don't give it to a family member who
needs to borrow some money but promises to pay you back in the future.
Your best bet is giving it to one or both of your parents, or whoever raised you.
If you don't have someone you can trust don't give it to anyone at all!
This is also why you wanna go with limited or non durable power of attorney.
It gives someone the right to act on your behalf in specific situations
for a specific period of time, which you will specify.
For you this would probably be managing your finances while you're abroad.
So! What are the benefits of giving some power of attorney?
This is going to let someone pay your bills for you,
sign and process your checks for you, deal with your bank for you,
or handle your insurance.
To give someone power of attorney all you need to do a search online for a limited
or non durable power of attorney form for your state,
fill it out and then sign it in front of a public notary at your bank, along
with the person you're giving power of attorney to.
There are other ways to do it that this will probably be the easiest for most of you.
Now, you may not need power of attorney. Keep in mind that you're taking a risk when
you grant someone that ability,
and it is in no way necessity before you leave.
If you do have a ton of affairs that need to be managed while you're gone,
then make sure you give power of attorney to someone you completely trust.
So you've taken care of all these things but you're still not done yet!
You're also going to want to visit your doctor.
This is a good time to get updated on any vaccines you may have missed.
And if you're going to be spending a lot of time in the countryside in Japan
they may recommend that you get the Japanese encephalitis vaccine.
Japanese encephalitis is a fairly nasty mosquito born disease
that could potentially cause retardation, coma, deafness or even death.
So if you're gonna be spending a lot of time in rural Japan,
make an appointment and get that vaccine!
Depending on your doctor they may also send you away with some prescriptions
for travelers, such as general antibiotics.
If you're coming to Japan as a student or teacher you will have to enroll in the
Japanese national health care system.
But for at least your first year it should be fairly cheap,
and it pays for 70% of your health care costs,
so if you do get sick here don't be afraid to see a doctor.
For prescriptions that you do bring to Japan you will need a document called
a Yakkan Shoumei.
I've been back and forth several times and I've only applied for it once so you can choose
not to, but if you don't then immigration officers do have the right to take away
your prescription drugs, even if you need them.
It's at their discretion so they can let you in with them, too,
but it's up to you if you want to take that risk.
Personally they've never gone through my bags on my way into Japan,
but that doesn't mean they will never go through yours.
Getting a Yakkan Shoumei is pretty tedious but the directions are easy to follow.
I've posted a link that includes those directions and the form you need in the
info section down below.
What you're gonna do is fill out an info, a page listing all your medications,
and one page for each medication that details all the ingredients and the usages
of those medicines.
You should be able to get all the information on the info sheet that comes with
your prescriptions, so don't throw them away.
But if you do you should also be able to Google all of it online.
You also need a copy of the prescription with you doctor's signature and your name,
a copy of your itinerary or flight tickets,
and a return address envelope.
The exacts are in the link down below.
You also need to send them Japanese postage stamps or an international response
You can get an international response coupon at your local post office. But the postal
workers might not know what it is so make sure you call around to find someone who
knows how to fill it out.
They say to give it two weeks to get your response back.
I got mine back in one,
but I've also sent a letter to Japan before that got sidetracked in Mexico for a month,
so really, give it some time!
So, to go back over real quick the things we talked about:
calling your credit card company, having someone check your mail,
calling your car insurance company, power of attorney, visiting your doctor and
the Yakkan Shoumei.
All of these things are optional.
You're a real life person making real life decisions so you can do whatever you want!
Personally these are just a couple things that I've dealt with on my way to Japan.
In my next video I'm going to go over what you should take with you to Japan, which will
include visa/passports, the best way to exchange money,
what clothes you should bring,
food and toiletries that you can and can't get in Japan, and gifts!
And if you have any questions on preparing for Japan leave them in the comments below!