JET Packing for Japan – What to Bring

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No not that kind of Jetpack…….

So now that I have been residing in Japan for around 2 months I feel I have the insight to critically asses exactly what I bought over with me.
As many of you 2012 arrivals will soon be entering the packing phase of pre-departure, I thought I would share my list that I compiled from advice I obtained around the interwebs and my own experiences.

Definitely Bring!!!!
-A laptop (you don’t wanna deal with getting one here when you first arrive)
-A good digital camera (caz your gona wanna capture these memories! I recommend a DSLR and if you go down this path also bring an ultra compact if you ever go somewhere where is not practical to bring a DSLR)
-5 tube of toothpaste
-5 roll on deodorants
(both of these things you will have an enormous amount of difficulty find an equivalent of in Japan)
-One suit! (you will only wear this for your first week as Japan is all about coolbiz at the moment)
-1 pair of slacks
-5 business shirts
-10 T-shirts/Shirts
-2 pairs of jeans
-A couple pairs of shoes (1 formal, 2 casual, 1 pair of runners)
-7 pairs of socks and undies
-3 Polo shirts/Shorts/Tracksuit pants (If your teaching shougakko)
-Prizes and teaching material from your home country (these will make your jikoushoukai sparkle)
-Omiyage!!!! Don’t forget this shit, will do wonders to lube up your relationship with a grumpy Kyoto-sensei)

*Just a note im Japanese sized in most respects so i can buy clothes here cheaply and easily, however if your chunky forget about it. I was a small-medium back home, here I am large!

Consider Bringing!!!
-Electric shaver!! I’m a kinda perpetually fuzzy kinda guy anyhow but I bought a close shaving one and the facial hair grooming kind which is hella useful for prolonging trips to the hairdressers.
-Hard drives full of TV shows and movies (I personally brought 6TB of shows but I’ve been to busy to watch em, if I was lonely in the inaka it would probs be a different story however)
-Non-Prescription medications, you can find everything here but just keep in mind that they may look and be packaged vastly differently, also the dosage is often different (when I was on pain meds I just ate 50% above the recommended dose as Japanese people are likely smaller than you and need less).
If you don’t speak any Japanese it can often be a challenge to get what you need from a pharmacist. So maybe bring some ibuprofen and you’ll be sweet (yea you can get it here and it’s cheap).

Do NOT Bring!!!
-Food!!! This is retarded, especially in big city’s like Kobe, I can get nearly everything (at a price though) at Costco and Jupiter.
-More than 1 book! Seriously there chunky and not that hard to find.
-Japanese textbooks, again there heavy and you can get genki 1 for 3000¥!! Yasui ne!!

Things that with hindsight I would have done differently……
Sadly enough I find that my biggest regret is my laptop, now I bought a top of the line 3000$ gaming laptop that with the charger and what not comes in at around 6kg.
This was a mistake, again it might be an ESID thing but my JHS not just allows me to bring my laptop to school but expects me to! A week into lugging this beast too and from school I realized the error in my ways….. For starters I have little to no time for gaming in my day to day life. This may be due to the fact that I’m in Kobe and there are more interesting things to do than play on the computer, and perhaps come winter I may be eating my words when I’m cold and bored in my lil apartment, surely if I didn’t have to lug it and I was bored in the inaka all the time my opinion on the laptop issue may have been different but at the moment i just wish every day I brought a lighter PC!!
I also wish I had brought all the prizes I could carry (well in a way I did), to the Aussies those little clip on koalas are worth their weight in gold! Everywhere I go in my JHS I’m followed by girls perpetually whining ‘koala please’, god even kocho-sensei lost her shit over them and has half a dozen hanging off her bamboo feature in her office!
More shampoo and conditioner!!! Somehow this stuff found its way out of my bag during the weight culling period after I noticed I was attempting to bring my weight in luggage, I’m yet to find a Japanese brand I like……

So now onto how exactly the big day of departure is going to go down. Are you from a land down under? Then read on!!! If not well you can read on if it pleases you however the usefulness of the following information will be less than amazing. Anyhow Australians you will be sent over to Tokyo via a Qantas flight economy class, what does this mean for you?

Well your checked in luggage will be limited to one suitcase with a maximum of 23kg bringing a heavier suitcase than this will award you the magical prize of a 50$ heavy surcharge, bring more than one suitcase and you will be given of the honour of winning the major prize of a 150$ extra piece surcharge!!!! Pre-departure make sure your life is packed up into a nice little parcel within these guidelines for checked baggage on the Qantas website unless your looking to set the new high-score for idiocy.

For more information on how much you can with you on the plane refer to the Qantas carry on guidelines, however as a general rule you can really sneak a couple extra kilos on with you if your clever, I personally will be bringing my DSLR case with body and 2 lenses, a backpack loaded to the top and my behemoth of a laptop (its like 7kg with the charger and addition hard drives)

For more good advice on exactly what exactly what should and should not find its way into your suitcase check out this post by Surviving in Japan

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