These are really great tips! I read about Softbank in another post earlier (here - http://www.mangauk.com/post.php?p=5-things-to-prepare-you-for-life-in-japan-part-2) so I think I shall try them first when getting a phone! I laughed at you saying "Arigato" to a man in the street - it's the kind of thing I would do, too!
A reader replied recently with:
A "mansion" means it's a multi-unit apartment building, more than two floors, not that it is newer. There are plenty of older mansions. Smaller buildings are called "apaato". And the owner does not always live in the building.
And you can easily get large refrigerators so no need to worry about that (although you'll need to make sure you're in a big enough apartment - not a tiny one room place). There are also English-speaking real estate agents in the major cities. But don't worry about being near the train station unless you live in a big city and they have a good bus system.
It's not always expensive to live in Japan - it primarily depends on where you live, how you live, and what you compare it to (where you're from). There are plenty of ways to save money. As for expressway tolls, they can add up, but are often cheaper than taking the bullet train (as great as public transportation is). Getting an ETC system will save you money on this.
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I understand we will know if Japan is our destination this coming Wednesday.
We are an American family in Singapore - for he last 2years- and hopefully will be on to Japan.
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