Sunday, August 2, 2015

Movie Review: Attack on Titan (Part 1)

Fans of the series, rejoice! August 1 marked the opening of the live movie adaptation of the popular manga/anime series "Attack on Titan." And despite the unconvincing trailer, as a fan of the series, I just had to watch it!

And I did. I got myself a seat on the first showing time on the first day. The theater was packed! After several advertisements of funny and interesting satires about the life of Japanese salary men, the curtains opened to what would possibly be the longest, most butt-hurting two hours of my life.


Here I will write down my thoughts about the movie because I feel that if I don't write them down I might explode. (Warning: May contain spoilers!)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

OFWs: New Procedure for OEC Processing at POEA

"Go online, don't fall in line."

So goes the catchphrase of the new procedure for OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) processing at POEA Davao.

It seems that in May of this year, POEA launched their new online system for processing overseas worker applications, which they call "Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System."

Here's a quick run-through of the new application (for renewal) procedure:
  1. Go to bmonline.ph.
  2. For new users, fill up your details under the "New User?" panel, check the "I accept..." checkbox and then click the "SIGN ME UP" button.
  3. You will then be asked to fill up an online version of the application form that you used to fill up manually at the POEA office. If you still have a copy of your latest OEC, you can enter your OEC number when asked. But if you don't have a copy, like me, you can leave this field blank. When filling up the form, always click SAVE after you've filled up each section.
  4. Upload a recent ID picture.
  5. Choose your POEA branch and set an appointment. The date and time is up to you, but the system will display available slots for each day.
  6. Print the form that you filled up. It doesn't have to be in color.
  7. Go to POEA on your appointed date and time, bring the printed form, a photocopy of your passport (page with picture and the page with the VISA stamp), a photocopy of your visa, and for workers in Japan, a copy of your residence card. Just in case, also bring a copy of your employment contract.

Monday, January 26, 2015

OFWs: How to Renew Philippine Passport in Japan (Tokyo)

2014 was a very memorable year for me. It was a year of change and big decision-making. And now we've just entered 2015 and wow! I can't believe I've been in Japan long enough to have to renew my passport already!

That's right. Renewing my passport was number one on my to-do list for 2015.

Here, I will be writing about my experience during passport renewal and some tips to make your processing faster and easier. Please take note that the steps I will be listing here are for processing in the Tokyo area. The steps in other branches of the Philippine Embassy might be different.

According to the Philippine Embassy (Tokyo) website, the processing can take up to two months so I would recommend you start processing your passport renewal at least 6 months before the expiration, especially if you have plans to travel. Also, personal appearance of the applicant is required, so make sure to arrange your schedule beforehand to avoid conflicts.

What: Philippine Passport Renewal (E-Passport, with the brown cover)

What to Prepare: (as listed on the embassy's website)
1. Passport for renewal
2. Photocopy of the photo page AND the back page (emergency contact page)
3. Filled up renewal form, which can be downloaded/or filled up online
4. Letter-pack 500 envelope, addressed to yourself 
     *Your new passport will be mailed to you using this envelope so make sure to fill-up your address correctly.
5. 6,900yen for the processing fee

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crossing Prefectures: Things to remember when moving to a new city

June was full of new experiences that were both exciting and tiring. As one may have guessed from my previous post about resigning from your job in Japan, I changed my job and had to move to another prefecture.

Moving to another house in the same prefecture does not require a lot of paperwork, but the same is not true if you're moving to a different prefecture.

In Japan, you have to "inform" the current city you're living in that you will be moving out - it's basically like "resigning" from that city - and then register your new address in your new city.

※By the way, the Japanese word for "moving in/out (house)" is "引越し(hikkoshi)".

When you first decide to move out of your current city, you have to get a "転出届" or a "notification of moving out" just before you leave. It is easy to get from the City Hall and does not cost anything. You just have to go to the nearest City Hall (市役所), fill up the form, stamp it with your personal seal, submit it to the processing counter, and wait for it to be printed and handed to you. It probably will not take 2 hours, unless there are a lot of people.

The things to prepare are the following:
1. personal seal (印鑑)
2. pen for writing
3. valid ID (passport, alien registration for foreigners, driver's license, etc.)
4. application form

As for the form that you have to fill up, there are usually examples of how to fill them up so just follow those and you will be fine.

It is more convenient to get a 転出届 before you leave, but in case you didn't know about it and have already finished moving (just like me), it is also possible to request for it through post mail. It will take around a week to be delivered to you and it will cost you money for the sending of the forms.

Notifying the City Hall about your move is important because it will determine where you pay your taxes. If you don't get a 転出届, you will still be considered a resident of your previous city even if you have already transferred, and you will still have to pay taxes to that city.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How to Resign from Your Job in Japan

"I QUIT!"

You slam your fist on your boss's desk, then storm out the room - like a boss - and you're a free man.

We all wish quitting is as easy as what we see in the movies, right? But reality is different. It is more difficult - even more so if you're working in a foreign country.

I know this is a rather "unpleasant" topic to write about (because it's about "quitting"), but I would really like to share my experience and help fellow foreigners working in Japan who are thinking of quitting from their companies.

There are many reasons that people quit their jobs and people quitting after only a few years is not a surprising phenomenon in countries other than Japan. Yes, Japan is somewhat an exception because people tend to stick to their first company throughout their whole career life - and that's like their whole lifetime! That's how dedicated the Japanese are. Of course there are many exceptions but those who stay for a lifetime probably outnumber them.

Quitting your job can be really intimidating and scary, much more if you are working in a foreign country. So of course you would want to leave smoothly, without burning bridges(unless of course, you had a really unpleasant experience that you just want to forget and start fresh). But this can be really tricky, especially if you work in a Japanese company. First, there's the language barrier. Are you able to clearly convey your intentions? Second, which is a very important factor, is the difference in culture/business practices. In the US, or other countries, you can probably just submit a resignation letter to your boss, take all your stuff, and leave without much of a fuss. In Japan, it's a rather lengthy and not exactly hassle-free process, but if you want to resign smoothly, you have no choice but to follow their customs.

So let me share my experience and some tips for foreigners in Japan. I would like to stress that this is how it went down for me and things may be different depending on the culture/practice of the company.