In 2002 I went to work in Japan and learn Japanese. I have learned a lot about the Japanese language and culture, and about living and working in Japan. If you want to do this too, then I hope you will find this information useful.

Living in Japan

I’ve kept occasional notes on interesting things about Japan as I encountered them. These are all in the Japan section of Bennettarium, my personal website.

Smart Alien Registration Cards

The Japanese government is planning to update the alien registration cards (“gaijin cards”) that foreigners are required to carry in Japan. The cards will be made into smart cards, with integrated electronic chips. and the information on the cards will be stored in a central database.

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Job and Visa resources

I have updated the resources section in this website and split them into two. The Immigration resources page will help you get in touch with your Japanese embassy or get information from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Job resources page has details of organisations and websites that can help in your job search. And don’t forget the Recruiters page too!

Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau

If you’re in Tokyo, you will be dealing with the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau office. This is place you go to pick up and deliver forms and get those all-important stamps in your passport. Unfortunately it’s in Shinagawa, not near the station, which is very inconvenient unless you actually live nearby. The Immigration Information Center inside the Bureau has a useful telephone help line though.

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Your first point of contact regarding Japanese visa eligibility is your local Japanese embassy. If you are already in Japan, you may want to contact your home country’s embassy. There are official lists for both of these. These are the places you need to contact for official information about your Japanese work visa and other Japanese immigration issues.

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For a while now, this website has contained a bit of information about living and working in Japan. I have now redesigned and updated it, so I hope it’s now easier to use and to find whatever you’re looking for.

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Pocket PC as Japanese dictionary

I have heard that a Japanese Pocket PC model is the best thing to use as an electronic Japanese dictionary. Many companies make Pocket PCs. They come with the Microsoft Windows CE operating system — the Japanese version of this apparently has built-in Japanese handwriting recognition.

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Casio EX-word XD-470

Casio EX-word XD-470

I played with a Casio EX-word XD-470 for a little while in a shop. I was very tempted to buy it. The big selling point was handwriting recognition. You can handwrite kanji and kana on the screen using a stylus, and look up words that way. This is definitely better than trying to figure out the radical on some unusual kanji.

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Canon Wordtank IDF-3000

The Canon Wordtank IDF-3000 seems to be the updated version of the IDX-9700. It looks much better, with a bigger, clearer screen and much faster lookup. However, the functions don’t seem to work quite as well as the older models.

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Canon Wordtank IDX-9700

The Canon Wordtank IDX-9700 electronic dictionary does everything the smaller IDC-310 does, and more. Of course, you can translate English to Japanese and vice versa. You can also look up kanji based on reading, radical or stroke count, and look up words based on any component kanji.

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