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A Packing Guide For New Fukuoka JETs

AT A GLANCE

Fukuoka has been voted the best shopping destination in the world so when it comes to accessing most every day goods, Fukuoka retailers will have you covered.  However, there are some things that you should pack to have on hand as soon as you arrive and, as is the case with any foreign city, there will be some home comforts that you won’t be able to find in Fukuoka.

Follow this list as a guide to ensure you have everything you need to commence your new life in Fukuoka, whilst staying within your luggage weight limitations and avoiding unnecessary panic-purchases before you depart.

 

WHAT TO KNOW

BAGGAGE

Before packing, check with your airline or travel agent to confirm what baggage restrictions apply to you.  Weight limits vary depending on airlines, countries of origin and layover ports. When checking this, also clarify whether your maximum allowed baggage weight is suitable to be checked in one bag or if it needs to be spread across two bags. The maximum weight for checked luggage and the maximum weight per luggage item may differ, meaning you may need to divide your items between two or more suitcases.  The LMS Method is highly recommended for dividing your luggage between bags.

 

ELECTRICITY

The power service in Japan runs at a nominal 100 Volts (V) compared to 120V in the United States, 230V in the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand and 240V in Australia.  If your home country’s power source has a different nominal voltage than Japan, your electrical items may not function well in Japan, if at all. Check whether your electrical items will function in Japan and then consider whether they’re worth packing or buying new once you arrive. Electrical items are affordable and ubiquitous in Fukuoka, making it easy to purchase new goods and your predecessor may even leave some items behind for you.  Most laptop computer and digital camera chargers have built-in transformers that allow them to be used in all countries.  If you choose to bring these items, make sure you have the correct plug converter to fit the outlets in your apartment.

 

PACK FOR NOW, POST FOR LATER

If you cannot possibly fit everything you want to bring in your luggage, consider shipping some items to arrive in Japan at a later date. For JETs who arrive in July or August, you will experience at least two months of hot, humid weather before temperatures steadily decline. Winter clothing such as coats, sweaters and boots that take up a lot of space in suitcases won’t be used until October at the earliest, so it might be economical for you to ship a box containing these items in the post. The cheapest shipping options take 2-3 months to reach Japan from most western countries, which is a perfect timeframe to wait for your winter clothing after arriving in Japan.

 

DO BRING

  • Clothing to wear in a hot, humid environment.  Camisoles, under-shirts and light-weight jackets are recommended. It may seem unusual to wear more than one layer in hot weather, however under layers can absorb sweat, helping you to present well and keep dry and cool.
  • Type A electric plug adapters to fit your laptop or other appliances.
  • Souvenirs or omiyage  for your co-workers and neighbours.
  • Deodorant. Japan does have some antiperspirant products but they do not work in the same sense as those in the west and do not control body odour.
  • Prescription medication. Also bring extra prescriptions to save you time when visiting a doctor in Japan for a refill.
  • Glasses/contact lens prescriptions.  Spectacles and contact lenses are cheaper in Japan than in western countries and prescriptions can be filled at glasses stores, without requiring an examination from an optometrist.
  • Contraception. Japanese condoms are considered weaker than those in western countries and few size options are available. Cervical caps and IUDs are very hard to obtain. Oral contraception is available however a medical consultation is required to obtain a prescription.
  • Shoes if you wear larger than women’s US 8 or men’s US 10.
  • Underwear if you wear larger than women’s US 8 or men’s US 34.
  • Bras if you wear larger than 32 B.
  • Props for your self-introduction. Money from your home country, an interesting long-life food (buffalo jerky, shortbread, vegemite) and photos of your family and local area.

 

DON’T BRING

  • Small electrical appliances such as clocks, hair dryers, electric toothbrushes/shavers.
  • Winter clothing. (This can be shipped to arrive at a later date).
  • Basic household items such cooking utensils, towels and bedding.
  • Large units of basic toiletries.
  • Large amounts of food from home.  It is true that most cereals, meal bases and snacks from foreign countries are not available in regular stores in Fukuoka.  However, there are a number of foreign food stores in the city centres and online shopping sites where you can purchase these items. These are things that you won’t begin to miss until you spend some time in Fukuoka, so they needn’t travel with you for your initial arrival.
  • Too many clothing choices. After you settle, you will inevitably go shopping. You are paid a salary that allows for a comfortable lifestyle and you will ultimately treat yourself to some clothing items from Japan.

 

START NOW

Make a list or physical piles of items you want to take with you. Then, ask a friend or family member to help you reduce that number of items, following the above recommendations.  Purchase items that you will need initially and set aside a box of items that can be shipped to you later. Don’t forget to ask your predecessor what is in your apartment!

The LMS Method

One Large suitcase: To ship to Fukuoka from Tokyo. One Medium suitcase or overnight bag: To take to Tokyo Orientation. One Small carry-on or handbag: Containing  your passport and general travel items.   LARGE SUITCASE Anything you will not immediately need in Tokyo. This includes gifts for bosses and co-workers, any teaching supplies and most …

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