Hot, sticky weather turning to cold, wet weather in the blink of an eye? Rain falling from otherwise sunny skies? Umbrellas for sale at every convenience store and news stand? Must be rainy season!
Rain, rain, go away...
What's Rainy Season?
Tsuyu, or rainy season, generally lasts from June 8 to July 20 here on the Kanto plain. The temperature swings from the low teens to the high twenties overnight and every thunderstorm is followed by a miniature heat wave. Degree by degree, it gets hotter, wetter, and stickier, before finally ending in the unbearable heat and humidity of full summer.
Keeping oneself and one’s clothes free of sweat, rain drops, and rain splatter can be easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve got some advice for you to weather the season in style. Read on for our nine tips on staying dry during the hottest, wettest, part of the year.
On the Go:
You’ll notice that our tips in this section are more geared towards keeping clean and cool than dealing with rain. That’s because, in our experience, rain is easy to deal with - just go inside - but the lasting effects of heat, humidity, and sudden changes in temperature can be much trickier.
Carry a towel. Cute animal shape optional.
(Photo by user Littleinfo on Wikimedia.)
1. Carry a towel.
You may have noticed that the teachers and students at your schools have suddenly taken to carry small towels with them at all times. Go down to your local convenience store or 100 yen shop and grab a couple for yourself. We recommend carrying at least two with you during rainy season and the subsequent summer months. Use one for wiping away sweat and the other for cooling off (by soaking it in cold water and laying it across the back of your neck.) And you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough to keep you supplied while your first set is in the wash.
2. Invest in a folding fan.
Folding fans have long been a symbol of Japan and for good reason. They’re compact, lightweight, and, most importantly, effective. Although there is nothing wrong with a pretty fan, we recommend substance over style in this case. You’ll want one that is a bit heavier but that will stand up to being pulled out of your bag a dozen times a day as you need to cool off in the office, in the classroom, or while walking from one to the other.
Our preferred umbrella.
3. Get an umbrella.
Umbrellas are everywhere in Japan. And so cheap! Until it starts raining. Then convenience stores sell out of stock within minutes. Department stores suddenly raise their prices. And any unattended umbrella will “disappear.” So, be prepared. Spend a little bit more money to find an umbrella that fits your frame - many Westerners find Japanese umbrellas to be too small to fully cover them and thus end up with one dry shoulder and one wet shoulder - and then label it with your name in Japanese. And don’t forget to take it with you!
4. Carry extra socks.
For a number of reasons, some streets in Japan do not have adequate drainage for sudden downpours. As a result, walking to work can lead to uncomfortably wet socks and shoes rather quickly. As you will probably have clean, dry shoes waiting to be worn inside your school, you’ll want to have clean, dry socks to go with them. We recommend throwing an extra set into your day bag so that you’ll be ready to face the day comfortably dry.
Remember to drink lots of water. Lots.
(Photo by Barbara Piuma on Wikimedia.)
5. Drink lots of water.
It’s easier than you would think to become dehydrated during the rainy season. The constant changes in the ambient temperature plus high humidity lulls people into drinking less water or tea than they normally would. Carry a thermos with water and take advantage of your schools’ tea services to make sure you’re drinking enough. At the same time, keep an eye on how much coffee and alcohol you drink as they can contribute to dehydration.
6. Stock up on wet wipes.
It’s easy to get up a better sweat than you wanted during rainy season, so it might be a good idea to keep a packet of wet wipes in your day bag, both to keep cool and to avoid becoming too fragrant during the course of the day. There are several good brands available with an assortment of cooling, moisturizing, and deodorizing varieties to choose from.
Again, rain is rarely the problem. But the amount of standing water left by sudden downpours makes for fertile mosquito breeding grounds and the constant humidity makes the mold run wild.
We love these little piggy mosquito coil holders. Seriously, they're amazing.
(Photo by Flickr user Typexnick.)
7. Invest in mosquito netting or mosquito coils.
Your local hardware store will have entire displays dedicated to all the latest and greatest ways to prevent Japan’s swarms of mosquitos from feasting on your blood. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice in choosing or setting up mosquito netting or coils. Both options are cheap, effective, and quite helpful in getting a good night’s sleep.
8. Cool your home with cool pads and fans.
While you’re at the hardware store, look into buying cool pads. These gel filled mats are designed to go under your futon while you sleep. Electric fans are likewise worth their cost as they can help keep your air-conditioning bill low. For extra effectiveness, fill a plastic bottle with water, freeze it, and then position it so that the fan blows across it.
9. Watch out for mold.
Mold is to rainy season as Santa is to Christmas: you don’t get one without the other. While the mold in Japan is generally mild, if it gets dense enough it can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and rashes. A little bit of water and bleach will take care of most varieties. The key point is to scrub it away the second you see any. Keep some rubber dishwashing gloves on hand and you’ll be all set.
Tsuyu means "plum rain" because the plum blossoms bloom during this time of the year.
There you have it, 9 tips for surviving Japan's rainy season! Do you have any tips you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments. Good luck!
*Umbrellas and bicycles are about the only two things you will ever have to worry about having stolen in Japan. You can lose your wallet and have it returned with all your cash and credit cards undisturbed, but leave your umbrella alone for even a second on a crowded train and you’ll never see it again.
We've told you all about the different kinds of visas and we've given you some information on how to get your visa. But, for those of you who are already in Japan, the rules and regulations for your visa are a little bit different. The first step is to figure out what kind of visa you have.
Coming to Japan, Step 3.5: Tourist, Working, or Family Visas.
Tourists, Families, and Job Changes
Maybe you came to Japan on vacation and have enjoyed yourself so much that you've decided to get a job and stay a while longer, or maybe you're married to a Japanese national, or maybe you've already been working here for a while and are looking for a change of pace. We'll discuss all three scenarios and the most likely applicable visas in this post.
(If you're in Japan on a tourist visa keep reading. If you've already got a working visa or family visa skip down to the next section.)
It is not uncommon to change from a tourist visa to a working visa. The most difficult part of the process is realizing that you are not able to work in Japan on a tourist visa! If you want to work in Japan you absolutely must have a working visa.
If this is the case, you should begin looking for work immediately (say by sending us your resume via this page). Once you have found a job, your company will be able to provide you with the necessary documentation to begin the visa change process.
However, you will still need to provide the following documents:
As always with these sorts of matters, there may be other documents needed as well. To be sure you have everything you need, look here (http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/tetuduki/kanri/shyorui/02.html) on the Immigration Bureau’s site for more information. Once you have all the necessary documents, take them to the nearest city or prefectural office and begin the submission process. It is possible to begin working once the application has been submitted. Just be warned that you may face severe penalties if your application is denied and you continue to work. Good luck!
Family Visa and Working Visa
Congratulations, you can begin working right away! Make sure that your visa is still within the expiration limits and that it is in good standing and you are free to join any company you choose. We recommend this one right here. Good luck!
Visa applications can, and do, take time to process. Choosing the right visa and following all the necessary steps is a detailed and lengthy process. And there is a bit of a catch-22 in that you will (most likely) not be able to complete the application until you have a job lined up, which might require you to have a visa…
In this post, we’ll look at the steps you’ll need to take to get a working visa that will allow you to move to Japan and work with us at Work Tochigi.
Coming to Japan, Step 3: How Do You Get a Visa
1. Check-in with Your Local Consulate
So. We (Work Tochigi) have interviewed you and decided to offer you a position. You have decided to accept. We’re all thrilled and eager to have you move to Japan as soon as possible. What should you do next?
Because the visa application process can differ widely for residents of different countries, your next step is to contact your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate and make an appointment to speak with an official.
They will tell you which documents you will need and what they will need to see from us in order to get your visa.
Official List of Embassies and Consulates
2. Get Your Documents in Order
You will need:
It is also possible that they will ask for a set of documents from us. We will have these prepared and ready for you early in this process.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Documents List
Yup. Once all the paperwork has been filed, there is not much else you can do. Although the agencies involved do their best to respond to applicants within a month, waits of up to six months are not unheard of. Be patient. Study your Japanese.
Once you have had your visa approved, contact your company representatives in Japan (here!) and get packing! From the date of issue, you’ll have three months to enter Japan and start working. Good luck!
The image attached to this post was created by Joao Silas.
In our last article, we said that coming to Japan is an easy but detailed process. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to your visa status and it all starts with choosing which visa is right for you.
Coming to Japan, Step 2: