Tag Archives: banks

Progress in Canada: Phone Calls, Banks, a School, and Driver’s License

It was an interesting day today. What happened today changed tomorrow’s plans.

First of all, because of my wife’s permanent residency basically being approved, I called the call centre for immigration to see if she can land in Edmonton. They said it’s possible, but with such short notice that she was given, it may not be possible to get an appointment in time. So, we may have to go to the border with Montana and make a U-turn. Both of the representatives I spoke to were very kind and helpful.

Then I made another phone call. This one was to the elementary school my daughter will go to school. They were very friendly, and asked us to visit the school and register our daughter in the afternoon.

So, after lunch, we went to the school, filled out the registration, and discovered that she can get bus service! That’s excellent news. She’s now registered and will be attending kindergarten next September. We also found out there’s a parents only orientation next week on Thursday. That should be interesting.

Later on, we went to a few banks to get some information about accounts. The credit unions seem more promising. We also checked the mail, and much to my surprise, the translation of my Japanese driver’s license had arrived! That means I can get my driver’s license tomorrow.

After dinner, I took my daughter out to the park to blow some bubbles, and saw a great sunset.

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Nice way to end the day. Tomorrow, my daughter meets one of my aunts for the first time, and I’ll get my driver’s license figured out. And we’re going to see a movie.

How was your day?

Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada

Having lived in Japan for ten years, there are quite a few things from Canada I don’t have access to at all.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to eat a real hot dog in Costco, find Marmite in Union, and A&W Root Beer in Carnival, but there are some things that are impossible to find here. This week’s question comes from stomperdad.

Besides family, what do you miss about Canada that you wish Japan had?

Most of things I miss are food.  There are a lot of similar fast food restaurants here, such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King, but what I really want isn’t available here.

Harvey's burger and fries.
Harvey’s burger and fries.

I always loved going to Harvey’s. The ability to customise your burger is missing from fast food places in Japan.  And eating a Harvey’s hamburger was so satisfying.

I’m not a big fan of pizza, since I don’t like pizza sauce or tomatoes, but I loved getting pizza from Panago. Again, you can customise the entire pizza. It’s just absolutely wonderful.

Although you can get KFC here in Japan, the fries are totally different. I miss the fries and gravy from Canada.

And speaking of fries, I really want New York Fries and gravy, and maybe even poutine.

Moving away from the restaurants and into general food, I miss pepperoni (what we get here in Japan is incredibly hard and it’s called spicy salami), affordable cheese, Cheez Whiz, dill pickle potato chips, salt and vinegar potato chips other than Pringles, raspberries, saskatoon berries, and bacon. You can get bacon in Japan, but what’s here is thick and never crispy. I really want crispy bacon! I also miss Canadian Chinese food. What’s here is good, but I think it’s better in Canada.

Other things include using a debit card (Japan is cash-based), efficient banks, 24 hour ATMs (they close for the night in Japan), and roads that are easy to drive on. I also miss being able to watch NHL games on TV. Can’t get them here at all.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I can think of at the moment.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.

Life in Japan: Least Favourite Thing

Another week has passed. Time goes by too quickly. Well, it’s time for another question about living in Japan. This is kind of a part two question from the last week.  Again, it’s S. R. Carrillo asking.

What’s your least favorite part about living in Japan?

JPY_BanknotesUnlike the last question, I find this one easy to answer. There are some things I don’t like about living in Japan (cockroaches, very big spiders, drivers who run red lights), but there’s one really big thing that I don’t like.  Banks.

Japanese banks are pretty similar to those in other countries.  They have ATMs, they have bank tellers, they have many services. However, the ATMs tend to only be open during business hours or slightly longer than business hours. But that’s not the worst thing. The banking system is rather archaic.

In Canada, waiting in line to see a teller isn’t that long, and once you’re up there, you can get everything done within two or three minutes with a minimum of paperwork.  Everything is electronic.

In Japan, you take a number and wait.  And wait and wait. Often fifteen to thirty minutes. Then your number is called and you go up, give them the forms, the money (if depositing), and then they give you another number.  As I watch the bank teller, he or she (usually she) works on processing the transaction…on paper. She then hands it off to another person who works on it for a few minutes, still on paper. Then that person hands it to yet another person who works on it, also on paper. They don’t use computers very much.  Finally, they bring it back to the teller, who then calls me up to get my paperwork and anything else.  Total time waiting can be up to an hour, though I’ve gotten through everything in as little as fifteen minutes.  That’s rare, though.

For a country that’s high tech, the banking system is incredibly old-fashioned. And everyone pays with cash! I’m used to that now, but when I return to Canada, I’m going to find it strange using my debit card again.

If you have any questions, check out the original post and leave a comment with your question.  Any comments on this subject, leave them below.