Finances in Japan

Finances in Japan. Thanks to everyone who wished me well on the announcement of my planned move to Japan in August. As I mentioned in that blog post, I had begun writing about those exciting first few days when I was offered, discussed, and accepted the position in Japan. But of course, due to various factors, I was not able to post these thoughts immediately. I wrote this next blog post about a week after the previous one. At the time, I had just received my contract from the school I’m working with in Japan. And I spent a bunch of money sending that contract back along with the various documents I need to get a visa to Japan. So, naturally, my thoughts went to my finances in these last few months I have in Fort McMurray, and during my first year in Japan…

I got my contract from Grace English School in Japan. And it made things so REAL for me! Today I spent my lunch break preparing the rest of the documents I need to send back before getting  a hair cut and some “passport” photos. There was a little bit of confusion because according to the photo shop, Japanese visa photos are 45mm x 35mm though I was told by Grace English School that I needed 40mm x 30mm. That was a little tense, because the photos were on the expensive side, not to mention the cost to courier them to Japan. But I went ahead and did what I was told, and now after some more thorough research and it turned out to be the right choice, because the photos were not for the visa yet. They were for the “Certificate of Eligibility” which is what my company needs to get in Japan and send to me, so that I can apply for the visa.

Afterward, I went to Canada Post to get the stuff mailed out. And once again I was met with some confusion. Again, I was told that I needed to send the package by Fedex and get a tracking number. But unfortunately, there are no Fedex outlets here in Fort McMurray. So I went to Canada Post, because I knew at least their XPresspost system at least has tracking… Only to be told that they do have Fedex delivery… Their Priority Global (the next level above Xpresspost). The problem was, it required a phone number, which I was never given. Also, at $80, it’s $20 more expensive that the corresponding Xpresspost package. Again, not wanting to take any chances, I decided I’d do the Priority Global, but it did mean going back to the office first to find the phone number.

All that said, total expenditure by the end of today just as a first step to getting the visa = just over $100. Total more to spend: Well, mainly a trip down to the Japanese consulate in Calgary once I get the paper work from Japan.

Which brings me to the topic of my Finances in Japan. Which is to say, I’m gonna take a HUGE hit financially. Especially since my paid job in Japan is part time. I’m not going to get into too many details. But suffice it to say, I am going to be making somewhere around 1/4 of what I am currently making. Nevertheless, I am receiving a salary. And a lot of expenses are going to paid for. As I understand, they will even be sending me 70,000 Yen to buy my ticket to Japan. Although at just over $800 CAD, that won’t cover the whole cost.

But, I do feel pretty confident. Right now I’m focused on saving as much money as a I can. I’m determined to have saved enough money so that I can still pay for all my obligations here in Canada (for example, the two children I sponsor through World Vision and Compassion… along with some outstanding, but very low interest debt) using the money I’ll have saved up in my Canadian bank accounts, without having to transfer any of the Japanese Yen I earn to Canadian Dollars (although with the Canadian Dollar so weak, it might be a good idea…. I’ll think that over). The expenses are not much. but they are significant… About $500 a month. So the question is, how many months of that can I save up.

Anyway, just a quick thought on this aspect of the job. Obviously I’m not doing this for the money. But money is a legitimate concern that I need to live with and make correct choices about.

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