6. Daily Life (2/2)


Convenience Stores

More than 40,000 convenience stores, known as konbini, can be found across Japan. Most stores are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and they constantly produce new innovative products and services. Although most of what you need for daily life can be purchased here, generally discount prices are not available. They usually offer a wide range of services -such as ATM banking, copier/fax services, ticket reservations for sport events and concerts, digital camera prints, bill payment including utilities, cell phones and some tax bills, and a limited range of delivery and postal services.


Modern Japanese supermarkets are organized much in the same way as their Western counterparts. They offer foods, clothes, and daily necessities usually at low prices. There are many large-scale chain stores, whose advertisement leaflets are periodically delivered with newspapers. Some large-scale electrical appliance stores offer products at quite reasonable prices.

Department Stores (also called “Hyakka-ten” in Japanese)

Department stores deal with higher quality products than supermarkets do. Prices are therefore higher, but much care is given to the nice wrapping of purchases and polite treatment of customers. They typically feature women’s clothing on many of their floors, with additional floors of men’s and children’s clothes, and home furnishings. Basement floors usually house a food department, while the top floors are restaurant floors featuring various types of restaurants. They are open on Saturdays, Sundays and most national holidays and some are instead closed on one weekday per week.

Flea markets, garage sales and bazaars for recyclable goods.

You will find many events held in various places where you can buy secondhand, used goods at surprisingly low prices. Some garage sales are held twice or three times a month, although not on a regular basis, in the vicinity of the University (Suita Campus) in Bampaku Kinen Park. ( See the following website for more information (http://www.garagesale.co.jp/)

The International Student Center organizes bazaars for used goods in spring and autumn. Also, information on international associations of each city, recycling centers, systems within the University and flea markets is introduced at IRIS, Information Room for the International Students. (https://ciee.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/)


Japan Currency (¥:Yen)

Bills 10,000 5,000 2,000 1,000   –     –  
Coins 500 100 50 10 5 1

Consumption tax

Consumption tax (10%) is applied to all products throughout Japan; 8% for food (not included medicine), drinks (not included liquor), and delivery and take-out service.

Credit Cards

Usually, a credit card may not be used to purchase a short distance train and local bus ticket. It is a common rule to pay in cash if the sum used is less than 1,000 yen. In Japan, you need to carry some cash at all times unlike some countries where it is possible to pay for most things by credit card.


There is no custom of tipping in Japan.

Newspapers, TV and Radio


There are five national newspapers (Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei and Nihon Keizai), local newspapers, and English-language newspapers such as The Japan Times, The Daily Yomiuri, the Asahi Shimbun, and the International Herald Tribune. You can also read any of these on the internet. Also, you can buy daily newspapers at station news-stands and convenient home delivery is available.  If you would like to subscribe to a newspaper published in your native country, contact Overseas Courier Service Co.Ltd. (OCS) (Tel: : 06-6473-2634).  The Osaka Municipal Central Library and Osaka International House Foundation offer the world’s major newspapers for public reference.


There are six VHF TV broadcasting stations (NHK General, NHK Educational and four pirvate stations), and three UHF TV broadcasting stations that can be received in the Osaka area. To receive bilingual broadcasts, you need either a TV with a bilingual feature or a bilingual adapter. Households with a television set must pay a viewer fee to NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation) (Tel:0120-151515(Japanese only))every 2 months.
You will receive a discount for advance payments of 6 months or 12 months.

NHK offers three payment options as follows:

  1. Automatic withdrawal from the designated banking account.
  2. Make a payment with an invoice slip from NHK at a bank, post office or convenience stores.
  3. Direct payment to NHK’s bill collector.

[ Satellite Broadcasts ]

Simply by purchasing and installing a compact parabolic antenna and a special tuner, you can receive broadcast satellite (BS) broadcasts on your television set. Subscription fees are charged. The following channels are available: NHK No.1& No.2 Satellite and other satellite and broadcast options. Also for a fee, communication satellite (CS) broadcasting stations provide TV news programs, music, and movies, CNN, SKYPerfecTV!.

[ CATV (Community Antenna Television) ]

By subscribing to CATV, you can receive television broadcasts, satellite broadcasts, CS broadcasts, FM broadcasts, public service broadcasts and CNN News services. You must first make a contract and request installation to receive these services. The CATV service is currently only available in a limited area, but the service will be available throughout Osaka City in the near future.

For further information, contact:


There are five AM broadcasting stations and five FM broadcasting stations in the Osaka area. As multi-language broadcasting stations, FM CO.CO.LO (76.5 MHz) and NHK Second Radio Station (828 MHz) are on air in Osaka.

Noise Caution

At night, most of people usually try not to make loud noise in Japan. People turn down the TV and use ear phones when listening to music, and even try to avoid washing clothes or doing vacuum cleaning at night. Also, try to keep your voice low when you have friends over to your house at night. Such sense of social etiquette will be needed for you to live comfortably surrounded by the thin walls and floors of some lodgings in Japan.


You may believe that there is no big difference in how to use a kitchen in all countries. However, some landlords are not willing to rent their houses to a foreigner because of the use of kitchen. The following are some basic tips to remember.

  1. Wipe off splashed grease and dirt in the kitchen after cooking fried or sautéed food.
  2. Ventilate the kitchen during and after cooking.
  3. Habitually clean up the kitchen each time you finish cooking. (Cover tables and wall with aluminum foil will help to prevent stains)


In Japan, all trash must be separated according to its category. It will be collected at a certain time of the day in a designated area. Otherwise, garbage will not be taken away. It may be no exaggeration to say that keeping this rule is the first step to adjusting to life in Japan.
Each city has its own rules on the disposal of household garbage. Please make sure you ask your landlord, neighbors or city office about the rules for your area and follow them. Generally, garbage that you cannot put into the designated bag regardless of whether or not it is burnable or unburnable needs to be collected on a designated date for a fees.
The following are the contact telephone number and websites of the department of each city office for inquiries about disposal of garbage.


“Assistance for Foreigners at Times of Disasters” is a useful information source created by the Tokyo International Communication Committee. This Q&A type manual covers various aspects when foreigners face trouble in the case of disasters such as earthquake.

Eight languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Nepali, Portuguese and Spanish ) are available in PDF format.

Please remember two emergency phone numbers. One is “110” for the Police Department and the other is “119” for the Fire Department. These calls are free in Japan and can be made from public phones or mobile phones.

24-hour duty policemen are assigned to Koban (police box) which are located near stations and various other areas. They patrol the neighborhood, handle theft and other criminal reports, take care of traffic accidents and lost and found items and give directions.


Call “110” or go to the nearest Koban to report the crime. Also contact your bank or credit card company if your cards or bank cards are stolen.


Regardless of the size of the fire, when you see a fire, you need to dial “119” and call out in a loud voice to let the neighbors know it. It is important that you prepare an extinguisher in case of fire. Participate in fire drills in your community and brush up your prevention skills with an extinguisher.

Traffic accident

Dial “119” first if anyone is injured, then dial “110” for report. If you are involved in an accident, you should record the name, place of work, telephone number, license plate number and insurance status of the other parties. Also get the names and telephone numbers of any persons who witnessed the accident. When the police arrive at the scene, follow their instructions. Please note that NHI (National Health Insurance: page XX) does not cover medical costs incurred by traffic accidents. Those costs will be reimbursed at a later date from the voluntary insurance maintained by the party found to be liable for the accident.

Later on, if any trouble occurs relating to the accident, contact the Traffic Accident Consultation Section of your city office.

Lost and Found

If you have lost items, report to the nearest Koban as soon as possible. If you are at a train station or a department store, hand over the items you have found to a station attendant or to the lost and found section of the store.

Sudden illness and injury

If your injury or sickness is not serious enough to necessitate calling an ambulance and you think you can make it to the hospital by yourself, use a taxi or drive by yourself. In instances where you don’t consider the situation to be an emergency, but nonetheless need to find a doctor, please phone the hotline→(Osaka Municipal Emergency Medical Information Center Tel: 06-6761-1199 (Japanese only)). Call an ambulance on “119“, in case of a medical emergency or serious injury ONLY. Keep the phone line switched on for a while, so that you can comply if the ambulance attendant asks you for assistance in caring for someone in distress. The ambulance attendant carries a checklist of symptoms written in about 15 languages.


Japan is an earthquake-prone country. Please act in a calm manner if an earthquake happens.

[ In case of earthquake ]

[ Prepare yourself ]

Typhoon, Torrential Rain

Typhoons are a type of tropical storm generated normally between May and November. Japan is approached or sometimes hit by a number of typhoons between July and October every year.

[ If typhoon or torrential rain hits your area ]

Other Information


℃: Celsius 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
°F: Fahrenheit 32 50 68 86 104 122 140 158 176 194 212
Conversion Calculator   ℃→°F:1.8 × ℃ + 32 = °F  °F→℃:(°F-32)×0.555=℃

Clothing size

Please note these figures are for your reference only. Actual sizes may vary according to manufacturers and products. Also, some countries allow and adopt various ways of notation on the products.

Women’s Clothing size Women’s Shoe size
Japan 7 9 11 13 15
Korea 44 55 66 77
USA 4 6 8 10 12
UK 32 34 36 38 40
Europe 36 38 40 42 44
Australia 12 14 16 18 20
Japan 22 22.5 23 23.5 24 24.5 25
Korea 220 225 230 235 240 245 250
USA 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8
UK 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5
Europe 36 37 37 38 38 39
Australia 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7
China 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Men’s Shirt:Shirt Collar Men’s Shoe size
Japan by cm 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
By inches 14 14.5 15 15.5 16 16.5 17
Japan 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 26.5 27
Korea 240 245 250 255 260 265 270
USA 6 6.5 7 7.5 8-8.5 9 9.5
UK 5.5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8
Europe 39 40 40 41 42 42 43
Australia 6 6.5 6.5 7 7.5 8
China 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Weights & Measures


cm 1 100 100000 2.5399 30.479 91.440
m 0.01 1 1000 0.0254 0.3048 0.9144 1609.3
km 0.001 1 1.6093
inch 0.3937 39.370 39370 1 12 36 633.60
foot 0.0328 3.2808 3280.8 0.0833 1 3 5280
yard 0.0109 1.0936 1093.6 0.0278 0.333 1
mile 0.6214 1


g 1 1000 28.35 453.59
kg 0.001 1 0.028 0.454 1016 907
once 0.035 35.274 1 16 35840 32000
pound 0.002 2.205 0.063 1 2240 2000
ton 0.011 0.0011 0.0005 1.12 1


m2 1 0.0929 100 10000 4046.9
km2 1   0.0001 0.001 0.0040 2.590
square foot 10.764 1 1076.4
are 0.01 10000 0.0009 1 100 40.469 25900
hectare 0.0001 100 0.01 1 0.4047 259
acre 0.0002 247.11 0.0247 2.4711 1 640
square mile 0.3861 0.0016 1


cm3 1 1000 16.387 28.317 4546 3875
liter 0.001 1 0.0164 28.317 4.5461 3.7854
cubic inch 0.0610 61.024 1 1728 277.42 231
cubic foot 0.0353 0.0006 1 0.1605 0.134
gallon 0.0003 0.2642 0.0043 7.48 1.2010 1
Other Useful Links
Foreign Missions in Japan http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/protocol/index.html
The Immigration Bureau of Japan http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/index.html
Suita City http://www.city.suita.osaka.jp/home/language.html
Toyonaka City http://www.city.toyonaka.osaka.jp/multilingual/index.html
Minoh City http://www.city.minoh.lg.jp/multilingual/index.html
Ibaraki City http://www.city.ibaraki.osaka.jp/aboutsite/englilsh.html
Ikeda City http://www.city.ikeda.osaka.jp/homepage/honyaku.html
Osaka Information Service for Foreign Residents http://www.ofix.or.jp/life//index_e.html
Osaka Ryugakusei/International students Net http://www.facebook.com/osaka.ryugakusei.net
A Guide for LIVING IN OSAKA http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/enjoy/en/index.html
Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan http://www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/index.html
Center for Multicultural Information and Assistance Hyogo http://www.tabunka.jp/hyogo/index.html( Japanese & Portuguese)
Osaka International House Foundation http://www.ih-osaka.or.jp/english/
Suita Interpeople Friendship Association(SIFA) http://suita-sifa.org/en/
Association for Toyonaka Multicultural Symbiosis http://www.a-atoms.info/information-for-foreigners/
Toyonaka International Friendship Association(TIFA) http://tifa-toyonaka.org/en/
Minoh Association for Global Awareness( MAFGA) http://www.mafga.or.jp/en/
NPO OIC http://www.oic.or.jp/(Japanese only)
JSPS( Life in Japan for Foreign Researchers) http://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-plaza/51_lifeInJapan.html
Osaka Information http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/
Tokyo International Communication Committee
( Living Information)
Osaka Disaster Prevention Net http://www-cds.osaka-bousai.net/en/pref/index.html
AMDA International Medical Information Center http://eng.amda-imic.com/?ml_lang=en
Osaka Medical Facilities Information System http://www.mfis.pref.osaka.jp/apqq/qq/men/pwtpmenult01.aspx 

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