Shared bank account for non-married couples in Japan

The internet wisdom seems to agree that shared accounts (or joint accounts) are illegal and impossible in Japan. As a workaround some banks will issue a second card in the name of the spouse (e.g. SMBC), however that’s generally only available for married couples.

So if you live with a partner, but not married, you are out of luck? Not entirely.

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Online party games for a multi-lingual family

My partner is Japanese, and speaks English, while my family is Hungarian and speak varying levels of English. This Christmas we had an online board game/party game session, and I got to pick the games.

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Video for a Japanese learning podcast

This week I got to help out with a video for a Japanese learning podcast episode by Momoko sensei. I like taking photos, especially to capture life in Japan, so I was very happy for this opportunity to show them to the world. Most of the photos in the video are mine, except the ones at the purikura section. Enjoy!

Times Car Share

Even though Japan has amazing public transportation, sometimes having a car can make things so much better, like going for a day trip to the countryside or picking up someone at the station. This gets even more important as you leave Tokyo: for example Kyoto’s public transportation is mostly buses that can be significantly delayed due to traffic, and they are slower than cycling (due to stopping all the time). Moreover (especially on the weekend) they might only come once every 30 minutes, so you usually end up waiting at the bus stop for quite a while. Traditional car rentals are great for day trips, but get rather complicated and expensive for short trips.

The solution for this situation is car sharing: essentially a self-service car rental with support for very short rentals. I have been using Times Car Share, but other big players in the Japanese market are Orix and careco with very similar service and prices. At the end of the day it probably comes down to which one has a station close to where you live.

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PayPay - pay with your phone

Japan is famous for it’s love for cash and the people are very reluctant to use anything else. The government even had a 2-5% cashback program on most cashless payments in 2019-2020 to change this. Even after this, credit cards are often not accepted, especially at smaller shops or restaurants. On the other hand Japan has a handful of barcode-based mobile payment solutions: PayPay, LinePay, auPay, RakutenPay, FamiPay, MerPay etc., out of which PayPay seems to be the most widely accepted (in my experience).

Promo photo of the PayPay app from https://paypay.ne.jp/

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Coke ON - buy from vending machines with your phone

Japan is full of drink vending machines:

Vending machines in rural Tochigi

However I don’t like coins. The vending machines at the train stations usually accept Suica, but elsewhere they are mostly cash only. Or that’s what I thought.

Meet Coke ON, the fun and reasonable (🤨) Coca-Cola official app, which lets you buy drinks from selected vending machines using your phone, paying with credit card, PayPay or LinePay. Moreover you get stamps for each purchase, that gets you a free drink after 15 stamps.

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Getting a .jp domain

I have a super common family name in Hungary: Szabo. It means tailor, and appr. 2% of Hungarians have this family name (203,126 out of 9,730,000). Thus szabo.hu, szabo.eu, szabo.com, szabo.net, szabo.info, szabo.me, szabo.xyz etc. are mostly taken. However I recently checked and szabo.jp was available! Following a Tokyo Cheapo guide I found Star Domain and bought the domain there for 2560 yen/year. (Star Domain has a referral program, so if you use this link, I might earn a little money.)

I already had hosting elsewhere, so I only needed the domain and Star Domain has a pretty straightforward DNS configurator. I read that only people in Japan can register .jp domains, so I expected some verification, but only my phone number was checked and after I paid for the domain, I could use it immediately.

Most part of the site is text based, so Google Translate makes it possible to use it without knowing too much Japanese.

Times Car TCP test

I’ve been using Times Car Share for almost half a year now, and totally love it. I’ll write a separate post about it, but yesterday I took their online quiz for some extra TCP points. As I was googleing some of the questions, I found an older set of questions, so I decided to share the latest ones.

I still think that you should try to complete the quiz alone, as it is used to ensure you are aware of how to use the service properly, but if you failed or just want to double check some answers, here they go.


設問1

ご利用中に事故や会員様の過失などによりクルマに損傷を与えた場合にお支払いいただく「営業補償金額(NOC:ノンオペレーションチャージ)」はいくらでしょうか?

答え: 自走不能の事故の場合50,000円、その他は20,000円解説 タイムズカー車両をご利用中に事故や会員様の過失等により、車両に損傷を与えた場合には、損害の程度や修理期間にかかわらず、営業補償の一部として20,000円または50,000円(自走不能な事故の場合)のNOC(ノンオペレーションチャージ)金額を請求いたします。 その他、クルマのキーの紛失等、保険適用を受けないクルマの損害についての請求については、「補償制度」ページよりあらかじめご確認ください。 「補償制度」ページはこちら


設問2

TCPプログラムでステージ4になると全車両をベーシック料金で利用することができる。

答え: YES解説 カーシェアポイント(cp)500cp以上、あんぜん走行距離2,000km以上を満たすとステージ4となり、プレミアム・ミドル車両もベーシック料金で利用できる特典があります。他に6時間以上のご利用で1,000円引きになる特典も。詳しくはこちらをご確認ください。 TCPプログラムついて


設問3

カーナビから、近くのタイムズの駐車場を簡単に検索することができる。

答え: YES解説 ご利用中に、ちょっとクルマをとめたいなと思ったときは、カーナビの「最寄タイムズパーキング検索」から、近くのタイムズの駐車場を検索することができます。 空き状況も表示されるので、迷うことなく駐車場を見つけられます。 タイムズカーナビ画像

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