Thanks to SiJ's Sponsor: The H&R Group

As you may know, Surviving in Japan functions from my research, experiences and free time; your support, ideas, guest posts, and feedback; and, more recently, kind sponsors. Today I'd like to introduce The H&R Group, Surviving in Japan's current sponsor.

The H&R Group offers a variety of real estate, relocation and life-enrichment services to ensure smooth transitions for expats in Japan, particularly for those of you moving to or living in Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya. And they help not only assignees and their families, but also the companies they work for.

For a better idea of what services they provide, The H&R Group family consists of:

Buying a Used Car in Japan - What You Need to Know

Today's post comes from David Ainley of Motovique. Motovique is a privately owned business helping private individuals looking to buy and sell their vehicles at a fair price, or simply assist sellers to transfer the title on their cars with ease. They also offer free resources for the international community over on their blog. 

Buying a Used Car

The cost of buying a used car in Japan. Infographic by Motovique.

With some three million used cars sold annually in Japan, the vast number of vehicles available to buyers can be confusing. Whilst the level of courtesy and service offered is generally of a high-standard, the processes involved in buying a used car in Japan can be confusing. While cars seem relatively cheap in Japan, buyers need to be prudent in their search, as vehicles listed at dealerships and online can be misleading.

26 Fun and Useful Japan Links - Nov 20

Oooooo, it's illumination time! 
Happy Fall and Thanksgiving to all who celebrate. Here's another round of plenty of fun links, plus quite a few useful and informative ones. Enjoy!

HOW TO: Search for an Apartment in Japan - Part 2

We're finally back with part two on how to find an apartment in Japan. In part one, we discussed ways to find apartment rental listings and real estate agents and gave you some helpful search words. Today, we're going to walk you through how to use Suumo, which is one of the Japanese apartment listings sites we listed in part one. As to be expected, each site is different, but most of the vocab below should be helpful when searching online in Japanese.

How to Use Apartment Search Sites - Suumo

Starting a Business in Japan: Mister Softee [Interview]

Today I'm happy to introduce entrepreneur Andrea Fisher, who, aside from creating her own line of stylish flute bags and previously running a fleet of soft cream trucks driven by women, has now brought her soft serve franchise to Japan. She shares with us the process of starting a business here, the difficulties involved, and why she chose Japan.

HOW TO: Heat Your Home (and Stay Warm) in Japan This Winter

heater, japan, japanese, winter, heating
Original photo via manicstreetpreacher, design, editing and text by me.

Winter in (most of) Japan can be cold. And not just in the mountains of central Japan or Hokkaido as you would expect, but even coastal climate areas like where I live here in Shizuoka. It may not typically snow here, but the wind is strong and biting.

Well, obviously, it's cold. It's winter. And I'm a wimp when it comes to cold.


Many homes in Japan are not insulated well and don't have double-paned windows, although this is changing with newer structures. Despite that, there's a good chance many of you live in a drafty apartment or house.

That said, there are some ways you can winterize your Japanese dwelling, but if you're on the hunt for a decent heater, you'll find several options below, depending on your preferences and budget. (I've previously written a guide to heaters in Japan, but expanded a bit in today's post.)

HOW TO: Travel From Narita Airport to Tokyo With a Bicycle

Today's post comes from Byron Kidd of Tokyo by Bike. Byron covers anything and everything related to cycling in Tokyo as well as other parts of Japan and Asia, so I highly recommend following his stuff if you're a cyclist or would like to know more about it as it pertains to Japan. -Ashley

輪行初挑戦 taking my bike on the train
Bicycle in a bike bag on a train in Japan. Photo by mumblion 

A question I'm asked time and time again is:

"Upon arriving in Japan, how can I transport my bicycle from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo?"

Of course, you could ride, but after a long flight I doubt you'd be alert nor energetic enough to navigate the 76km from Narita Airport to central Tokyo. It's an option if you're up for the challenge but not one I'd recommend if this is your first trip to Tokyo.