Greetings from 10,000 meters — I am beginning this week’s column from somewhere high over the Pacific Ocean on United Flight 897 bound for Tokyo.
When we were kids living in Japan, we used to joke about the day we would travel overseas “just for the weekend” — well those times are well and truly here.
Even better than that is the people you meet on the plane. I have just met two dear, longtime friends and it will certainly be a short flight back to Japan because of their company.
Working from home
Dear Lifelines: I do nearly 90 percent of my work at home. I have heard that this entitles me to claim for a partial refund on taxes.
But what tax and how do I apply for a refund? — Would like some back
Dear Would Like Some Back; You’re absolutely right about partial tax refunds.
We checked with the tax office and you are allowed in principle to claim rent or any house payments, gas, electricity and any expenses directly related to keeping the house as your workplace.
They are pretty flexible with the designation as many Japanese, particularly in the past, worked from home.
Simply go to your local city office — kuyakusho or yakuba — tax section and they will give you a form to fill out detailing the percentage of how much you use for work and will help you fill out your tax form accordingly.
Do any of our readers have any experience in working from home and securing some form of cash back? Let us know.
Dear Lifelines: I am currently living in Nagano and am interested in seeing a sumo match. I was told by some other expatriates that sumo often goes on tour and there are matches in small towns. Will there be any occurring in Nagano between now and June? I would like to plan a trip to see a match. — Debbie in Nagano
Dear Debbie in Nagano; We checked with the Sumo Association and sorry, there are no matches in your area this spring.
The closest would be in Tokyo or in Ibaraki in April.
At the same time, they make all the sumo summer venue decisions in May and they told us to call back again after then to see if Nagano is in the listing for June, July and August.
You can call the Sumo Kyokai at 03-3623-5111 to get more information about upcoming sumo competitions taking place in your area.
A reader writes
Dear Lifelines: I read the query about “drowning in paper” recently. Try email@example.com. They are a professional group and provide all sorts of personal services for the international community.
I have used them in the past for translation assistance and school help for my kids. They are very efficient and extremely reliable.
Reader Bob of “Spacemakers Unlimited” writes:
Dear Lifelines; I am a personal organizer. I am a retired engineer, who, as a “trailing spouse,” followed his wife to Japan, where she now works.
I restore antiques and do special handiwork and my specialty is creating space where there is none.
In the organizing business there are two distinct parts: one is the consulting part, whereby after a visit I indicate what should be done, how and where to get the tools.
For this consultancy a flat fee is charged depending on the size of the job.
If I am then invited to execute the suggestions, that fee is deducted from the job, which is charged per hour and includes time for travel and purchases.
Maybe this can help your readers.
You can contact Bob at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a last minute airline ticket? Send an e-mail to Mr. Watanabe at: email@example.com. They have been helping the international community for years. You can now do the whole thing from your own home.
Need affordable health insurance? Call 0484-79-2317 and speak to Mr. Mine. He has been helping the international community for years too.
Want to get involved in a fun event in the community? Contact The Ireland Fund — their yearly event, the fabulous Emerald Ball is coming up soon. Check out www.irlfunds.org or call: 090-1453-2503 for information.
Someone to do your hair who has oodles of experience cutting and styling non-Japanese hair? Give Jun a call at: 03-3423-2244.