I am starting a small business and looking for an office. I hear that you have to pay many months — up to a year — to rent an office. Is this true and is there anything I can do about it?
Well done on setting up your own business. At The Japan Helpline, we are seeing more and more members of the international community here in Japan opting to establish their own companies rather than work for somebody else.
When it comes to renting office space, it shouldn’t cost you the Earth. The best thing to do is to find a place that is dual use — in other words, it can be rented as a place to live as well as work.
There are many more of these types of spaces now than there used to be.
When you are looking for a place, tell the real estate agent you are looking for an apartment but would also like to work out of it sometimes.
You should be able to rent an “office” just by following the requirements for renting basic accommodation.
I am new to Japan and having a terrible time trying to figure out the garbage situation. Can you explain it to me?
You are entering the “danger zone” in Japan, where just sorting out your garbage can be very complicated and often get you into trouble with your neighbors.
First, there are different classifications of garbage here, with three main types — burnable, non burnable and large.
In Japanese, these are “moeru gomi,” “moenai gomi,” and “sodaigomi.”
It’s bad enough that you have to sort out the “gomi” in the first place, but each type of garbage must be put out on its own assigned day.
Now, depending on your “kinjo,” or neighborhood, you will have another couple of ”gomi” types — newspapers/magazines and cans/bottles.
These too must be put out on assigned days.
It really can be a nightmare trying to figure out what kinds of garbage to put out on what days, and even long-term residents can still make a complete mess of it.
The best way to work with it is to find a kindly neighbor and tell them you need some help. They will show you the sign in your neighborhood that tells you what day to put out the different types of “gomi.”
Peter Van Buren from the U.S. Embassy has put together a wonderful site for the American, and foreign, community in Tokyo.
Peter is asking our readers from the U.S. to make sure that they remember to cast their votes in the upcoming elections.
For more information on voting and to keep updated on news affecting American residents, check out the excellent www.tokyoacs.com