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Tuesday, May 27, 2003


Painless driving instruction and a move to Japan

More on DIY trading

"Gaijin" writes that further to my answer to Wilma Jay (Lifelines; April 29), there are around 60 Internet brokers through which she could do day trading. (Gaijin himself/herself makes a living through trading).

However, just as in the U.S., rates, software etc. varies greatly. There is no broker that has an English setup, but the order forms etc. are very simple to use. Gaijin suggests Wilma -- or any other seriously interested party -- get in touch directly by e-mail; he/she will help as time permits: gaijin2004@yahoo.co.jp

Driving lessons

Helen Price from Kawasaki read the advice on driving lessons at Koyama (Lifelines; May 12) with interest.

"I got my license from them a few years ago and enjoyed the whole experience, believe it or not. The staff there really made me feel at ease. A friend of mine did the same and then managed to get a job there teaching the staff English once-a-week." (He's still at it, which is an endorsement in itself.)

Helen, by the way, is the director of Actus Ballet Studio. The main studio is in Saiwai-ku, Kawasaki (near Shin-Kawasaki station). She also holds classes in Landmark Plaza, Yokohama, for students from age 3 to adult.

For further information, phone/fax (0422) 47 4664, or e-mail: yokohamaballet@yahoo.com

Relocating to Japan

Roger Voss in Canada loves Japanese culture, the way of life and its history. Now he would like to move and wants to know how to make the transition as painless as possible.

"Basically where do I start? I'm from Vancouver, B.C., and my job allows me to work wherever I want, as long as there is a high-speed Internet connection."

Roger should begin with the Japanese Embassy or consulate for advice on visas. Best you come for a look-see first on a tourist visa, which will allow you to stay here for 90 days. After that, life gets more complicated.

Read as much as possible in advance. Check out Web sites, from sightseeing to survival. Travel around the country. Talk to people. Check out organizations in your field. Make friends, business contacts. Hand out business cards like crazy.

If you decide to base yourself in Tokyo, there are relocation companies that can cushion the cultural shocks and help you find your feet. But be warned: such services do not come cheap.

Oak Associates, for example, not only looks after corporate clients relocating personnel and their families to Japan, but has a new venture, Oakbridge Inc., in the U.S. that supports international professionals. Phone (03) 5472 7077 for info or e-mail info@oakassociates.co.jp

Ike Enterprises is a smaller outfit that also targets corporate contracts but will deal with individuals under certain conditions (ie, advance payment).

Coordinator Yumi Umemura says: "As a relocation support and consulting company, we provide comprehensive services from orientation, registration assistance to immigration-related services. A client can also select from different types of package plans, which provide full support from pre-departure to repatriation, which includes house hunting coordination to negotiation of terms and conditions of property lease agreement."

Phone (03) 5491 4811; fax (03) 5491 4812 (Please note, from June 1, the number is (03) 5760 7788. E-mail is ike-ent@galaxy.ocn.ne.jp.

Also check out Navicom, which offers one-day seminars on Japan orientation: for example, strategic business manners, Japanese table manners and how to live in Tokyo in 2003. Phone (03) 3356 5556; Their Web site is at www. nvcm. info/ e

Not for publication

Just a small reminder. Will readers please state whether letters are for publication or not.

Add NFP (Not for Publication) where it is visible.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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