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Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007

LIFELINES

Shipping, martial arts, health costs


Heading home

HB has been teaching English in Aomori Prefecture for over 20 years and is planning to retire in the U.S.

"Are there international moving companies in Japan that can come to a home, pick up items to be shipped, and deliver them in the U.S.? Web sites? Costs? Time frames? I hope you can help."

There are a lot of companies in this line of business. Here is a list to get you started:

*Allied Pickfords — phone (04) 5651-2747, fax (04) 5664-7134 or check out www.alliedpickfords.co.jp

*Economove — call (toll-free) (0120) 981-862. Web site at www.economovejapan.com/index.htm

*Econoship — phone (toll-free) (0120) 222-111, mail info@econoship.net or check online at www.econoship.net

*Japan Express — call (toll-free) (0120) 228-322. Online at www.japanexpress.co.jp/hikkoshi/eng.htm

*Japan Luggage Express Ltd — phone (toll-free) (0120) 48-0081 or check www.jluggage.com

*Nippon Express — call (toll-free) (0120) 150-422 or find them online at www.nittsu.co.jp/english/e_index.htm

*Premier Worldwide Movers — phone (03) 6402-2371. Web site at www.premierworldwide.com

*Quoz — call (03) 5932-7777. Web site at www.quoz.biz

*Shipmates — call toll-free on (0120) 225-188 or check www.yourshipmates.com

Shipping will generally take a week to 11 days, depending on the destination, and cost varies quite a bit depending on various factors such as where you are shipping to, what you are sending and so on.

Do any readers have any good (or bad) experiences we can pass along?

Hefty health payouts

PL writes from Kyoto: "In your Lifelines on May 8 you wrote that 'national health insurance is inexpensive if you don't have a high income.' This is not true. As a single person with a relative modest income of about ¥250,000 you can end up with a bill of close to ¥50,000 for health insurance. I know a number of people who would like to get out of the system for that reason."

Thanks for the mail, PL. The fact the system works on a sliding scale means that if your salary just falls into the lower end of a higher band, your insurance payments will be proportionally more of your wage than someone at the higher end of the same band. Please send us more of your views on the "shakai hoken" system.

Martial arts for beginners

Chris is looking for somewhere in Kanagawa that offers courses for beginners in Japanese martial arts.

"Are there any taught in English, or intended for foreigners? It seems that a lot of the schools just throw the beginners in with the experienced ones, and I'd rather not start out that way if possible."

Obviously there are plenty of dojos to choose from in any area of Japan, but one of the best places to start is the local police headquarters, which tend to provide classes in martial arts for the community.

One dojo we found in Kanagawa is the Asahi Judo Academy in Hirakawa. Their number is (045) 491-7694 and you can contact them by e-mail at sensei@e-budokai.com.

Ken Joseph Jr. directs the Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com or on (03) 000-911. Send questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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