Friday, August 31, 2012

MY NEW JAPANESE PHONE: How to get one in Japan

Yes, I got a phone, and it looks typically me (the entire back is totally pearl pink and soon to be blinged).

The truth is, I'm not very happy with it... My first choice was the Softbank 007SH in white- the only clamshell smartphone in the Japanese market and I had been drooling over it for months. My heart would literally beat faster when I watched videos of it online. But nooooooo, Murphy hates me. Out of stock nationwide; phased out; old model and whatnot.

My second choice, made after much agony and time, was the Softbank Honeybee- a phone designed for girls, all glittery and pink with girly apps and photo functions etc. Out of stock. Is it any surprise any more?

I didn't like any of the other models at all. I ended up settling for the newest Pantone (5), 107SH, because they had it in pink and it was the only non squarish/huge one... D: I was sooooooosososososooso unhappy. Still kinda am whenever I see a clamshell phone on the streets (very often).

So anyway, on to the main point of this post- how to get a phone in Japan if you're a foreigner. I realise there is a lack of such information online because I couldn't find a guide to it, so hopefully this helps. Please note that this isn't for those on tourist visas, but for people on long-term visas staying for 2 years or more (like for studies, mainly).

Firstly, I'm with Softbank, which is arguably the most foreigner-friendly carrier in Japan, so I do recommend it, despite many claims that it has the worst reception. It also has the cheapest smartphone data plans of the 3 big oligopolies. TBH, the download speed in numbers seems a lot slower, but IRL is really fast compared to other countries, considering the fact that Japan has the 2nd fastest internet speed in the world. Most Softbank phones can be set to English interfaces, and there are various English-speaking branches across Japan (mainly in Tokyo).

Okay, so if you're a minor in Japan (<20), the first thing you'll need to do is print and complete the Parental Authorisation Form. Softbank's can be found here, and I'm sure you can find Docomo/AU's if you search (or maybe not, considering their lacking English information). If your parents aren't gonna be around when you get your phone, you'll wanna complete that form before you fly to Japan (complete with photocopy of corresponding parent's passport and maybe IC too). Even if your parents will be with you, just do it beforehand to save time at the Softbank shop (it's a long process so you'll wanna save as much time as you can). Remember to bring your own identification documents (I brought my Zairyu Card, Passport and bank book).

Next, find an English-speaking branch of whichever carrier you want to sign on with. The one I've linked is Softbank, and once again idk about the other two. I went to Shibuya's branch, which is really near the station and quite big. I walked in and asked "英語を話せる人がいますか?" ("eigo o hanaseru hito ga imasuka?") They brought me an English-speaking staff, and we started talking about plans.

Even if you can speak Japanese (I can), I don't recommend attempting to do it all in Japanese because the intricate plan info and tecchie data stuff can get complex, and you really wouldn't wanna end up subscribing to unnecessary things that will increase your bill, or misunderstand the limits of your plan and whatever.

Once you decide on your phone model and plan (you have to get a phone with the plan, which is usually subsidised anyway), let your English-speaking staff know, and they'll bring you to a different section of the shop where there are lotsa counters. Next will be choosing a number, signing T&C forms, lotsa waiting, more waiting, and more explaining of your plan details whatnot. It's pretty easy once you get there because the staff will walk you through everything patiently.

It took me two hours, maybe? Walked away with my phone set up and formatted in English, with a nice phone number and mail address. You actually need a bank account to have your bill debited automatically every month, and you'll need a valid Zairyu Card with address in order to get a bank account and phone contract. I went to the city hall, registered my address, went to the bank and opened an account, and got my phone all on the same day before dinner. Pretty efficient IMO, so I was quite happy with that (but not my phone model).

If anyone wants to know how to open a bank account, I'm not gonna tell you- but The Japan Guy will. That post is really informative and even includes a demarcated sample account-application form which helped me fill out the application perfectly. My dorm leader met me and came with me to help, so I had it easier, but with The Japan Guy's post, it'll still be fine. No problems about being a minor with JP Bank, and there's one on my campus, which is why I chose it.

That's about it for the post. If you have any questions, do comment below (or ask me on FB or Twitter).


Thursday, August 30, 2012

TOKYO: Various things

To be honest, I leave the hotel every morning and come back late after dinner, so I have no time to blog and can also only upload pre-written posts either really early or really late...

Anyway, I'll go over what we did day by day until today- when my parents leave... (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)

We arrived Saturday afternoon- I got some admins stuff done at administration, we bussed to Shinjuku, wandered around and got dinner (because by the time we reached it was nearly evening) at a depachika and brought it back to the hotel to eat.

Day 2, Sunday: Left early for Ueno to look for some food (for my mom), couldn't find it whilst melting in the sweltering heat, went over to Ochanomizu for church and came back to Shinjuku for dinner- Yoshinoya- which I had a crazy allergy reaction to, but hadn't known at that time it was the food.

Day 3, Monday: Got up early and headed over to Mitaka to settle more admin stuff, rushed to ICU for a tour of ICU with a Japanese girl one year my senior named Miwa. Met my dorm leader, Eri-san, after that to open a bank account on campus, then visited the dorm (for my parents to see what it's like). Had lunch in gakki, my school cafeteria!

Headed to Shibuya after to GET A PHONE. And as Murphy would have it, they're out of stock nation-wide of the phone I've been drooling over for the past few months. Then watch as Murphy cackles gleefully when I'm informed my second choice phone, which I spent some time picking, is also OOS. ¬_¬ Settled for something I don't really like (will do a post dedicated to phones in Japan and how to get them when you're a foreigner) but will do. D:

Day 4, Tuesday: Went to Harajuku in the morning, walked Takeshita-doori, went to Kiddyland, TOOK FAMILY PURIKURA, then headed to Akiba to get some electronic stuff and a late lunch, before heading back to Shinjuku to pack some depachika/conbini dinner back to the hotel again.

Day 5, Wednesday: Went to our previous home in Tokyo- Ikebukuro. We know that place a lot better than Shinjuku and kinda missed it, so we went there. Pictured above is our Ikebukuro haul ^o^ I mainly got gifts for other people okay!

Day 6: Today. I part with my parents. :( No elaboration.

That's about it for my holiday week in Tokyo. Tomorrow, I move into my dorm and begin university life... My 9-month break is over..... Let me curl up and die now.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tokyo DESU

I believe I already announced this a few days ago, but I'M IN TOKYO!!!

I've got my personalised Suica,

soaked in the insane Japanese cuteness,

seen Miku×FamiMa food,

been envious of cute Japanese sales assistants' gel nails,

drooled over the unreachable Docomo Q-Pot phone,

been to church and gotten free snacks,

and SHOPPED!!!!! I bought more than this, of course, just didn't photograph it all for the element of surprise in future OOTDs (bought the gorgeoustest shoes!!!).

Anyway, we've basically wandered around for the most part, ran some necessary errands (will cover in another post), and shopped~ Visited my university too, so expect photos~


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Purikura 101

Here's a little vlog for you, just to demonstrate how stressful purikura really is.

This was from my farewell outing with T. Enjoy~


Monday, August 27, 2012

Final gel nails done in Singapore

A long time ago, when I received my last pay (April? May?), I set aside about $300 to do my hair and nails. I made an appointment last month to do my nails at a rather pricey but high quality home salon I've been eyeing for awhile, and had cash on hand to pay for however expensive it'd turn out to be.

Unfortunately, as I have been so altruistically living off my own backdated salaries even after I stopped working (haven't taken any allowance from my parents since 'A's ended last year), I eventually ran really low on funds this month and had to dip into my manicure savings.

I grudgingly cancelled my nail appointment and was ready to settle for some low quality service and a hardly long-lasting manicure from FEP. Until I did my hair on Wednesday and the bill came up to more than what was left of what I had set aside for my hair AND nails combined (more than I had available in my bank, actually- so I paid part in cash, part by card :X).

Somehow, without me even bothering to pray about this (come on, even I wouldn't pray about a manicure...), God answer unprayed prayers in the form of one of the pastors in my church, who approached me during my last Sunday in Singapore. His daughter owns a nail salon and he wanted to treat me to a manicure!!! He told me to do whatever I wanted, pile on whatever I wished for, and it would be his farewell/good luck present to me.

At that point in time, I was certainly thankful because that meant I'd be able to save a bit more money to use on other things (like food, which I had no money for). But when the hair bill dropped, it really made me grateful for God who predicts. :'D

So my last day in Singapore came round, and I made my way to the salon- or attempted to. Thank goodness for my own foresight and underestimation of my navigating skills, because I factored in extra time for finding my way and I really needed that. I managed to get lost several times looking for The Plaza on Beach Road. To be fair, it wasn't my navigating skills that were lacking- it was iPhone maps'. Every time I refreshed my map to pinpoint my location, it placed me in different places, despite me not. having. moved. at. all.

Eventually got there after calling my benefactor and asking like 4 random passerbys. Spent a luxurious 3 or so hours getting my nails done, complete with a foot scrub and massage. ૮(  ऀืົཽु ˙̫̮   ऀืົཽू)ა✧ The service was impeccable, especially since when I wasn't even a paying customer. The quality was awesome, attention to detail was at a whole new level, and I absolutely love my nails. I was actually initially disappointed because the range of gel polish colours wasn't quite wild enough (for me), but I worked around what they had and came up with this design on the spot.

When it was time to leave, I found my way to the bus stop that I came from, hooray! But boo it's a one-way street so I have no idea where the corresponding opposite bus stop is!!! Wandered upstream for awhile and saw an MRT symbol, so decided to just follow the signs. I somehow ended up in Bugis. BUGIS. How far did I walk?! Fortunately, I know the way home form Bugis, so I had no problems after that, but it sure was an exhausting adventure I'd rather never experience ever again.

That said, I must of course do what I can to help my benefactor get customers, especially after her and her father's generosity.

Everything Nails
The Plaza #02-343/344
7500a Beach Road, S199591

You can say that Bethany referred you, but you won't get a discount (I'm not sponsored!). The atmosphere is really relaxing, and it was ozzzm therapy before leaving. Just don't get lost looking for it (The Plaza is connected to Park Royal Hotel, so just enter through the hotel).

Anyway, I'm incredibly satisfied with my nails and I just hope the 3D metal bits won't drop off. Ever. I'll begin blogging about my life in Japan very soon~~~


Sunday, August 26, 2012

T farewell ☹ (+ OOTD)

The day before I left, I said farewell to my BFF. (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) Sure, we've never been the emotional types to consciously miss each other, but still- we're never gonna have Taimei together or take Purikura unless her mom allows her to visit Tokyo (and only for the latter).

Nothing much to say here in any case, since it's not like we did anything out of the usual.

 Both of our last Taimeis


Let's talk about this epic last shot where T herself put a skull on her face to censor it. And FHL it was the biggest shot they printed!!! =͟͟͞͞ ऀืົཽ≀ ͔ ͕̮ ऀืົཽ✧ She did it because she wanted to hide her eyebags. -_- Why couldn't she just have spammed the artificial blush instead, right?

Never complete without the hours spent in the ozm lighting. About 90% of "purikura time" is spent camwhoring, really.

  Her feather

 Her newest tattoo

 Her self-done french waterfall

 Camwhoring on timer

 Tired from camwhoring

dotted peter pan collar blouse - Forever 21
high-waist acid wash denim shorts - some random store in FEP
leopard print belt - ASOS
cutout oxfords - random store in Paradigm KL
chain bracelet - Juicy Couture

 Gorgeous slit/bow detail on the back of the blouse

 OOTD selca attempt

My eye makeup up close because so many people keep asking how I do it...

Okay, that's it for this photo-heavy post. I'M IN TOKYO!!! Will start blogging about Tokyo stuff once I clear one or two more posts before starting my new phase in life! People who have me on FB can expect daily photo uploads of my first week in Tokyo with my parents~~~

I'm also going to visit my university tomorrow~ It's all sinking in and becoming a little more real now. *_*