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 Ashley Thompson

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Ashley Thompson
Ashley Thompson writes Surviving in Japan, a blog supporting expats living in Japan. She has been writing The Japan Times' Lifelines column since 2011.
For Ashley Thompson's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Sep 16, 2013
Before you leave Japan, there's an awful lot to do
Preparing to leave Japan can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process, especially if you try to do it in less than two months, as my husband and I did. But regardless how much (or little) time you have to get ready, we learned a few things from our experience that might make yours easier. This isn't an exhaustive list, but the tips below are some of the most important to take care of before you leave.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jan 28, 2013
Give sufficient notice when breaking an employment contract
Reader JA asks if it's legal for an employer to demand compensation if an employee quits their job partway through their contract.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jan 1, 2013
Myriad options for studying Japanese in the sticks
Reader JA is seeking a Japanese language school in the countryside here for his 18-year-old son.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Dec 25, 2012
Sites for J-footy fans; variable service at Softbank
In response to our Oct. 23 column, " 'Prenups' uncommon but doable; aid for avid J. League fans," some of our readers wrote in with their favorite Japan soccer resources.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Dec 4, 2012
Softbank's policies on foreign customers hard to pin down
Some of our non-Japanese readers are wondering why, when trying to sort out a phone and contract with Softbank, they often seem to be subject to different rules than Japanese customers — and even fellow foreign residents.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Nov 27, 2012
Ink doesn't always cause a stink at the onsen
In response to our Nov. 6 column ("If you need to bring drugs to Japan, sort out the paperwork — or else"), regarding how to find tattoo-friendly onsen, a few readers wrote in with their public bathing experiences.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Nov 20, 2012
Occupants can suggest a buyout, but final word lies with landlords
Reader AP asked how house and land prices are decided in Japan.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Nov 6, 2012
If you need to bring drugs to Japan, sort out the paperwork — or else
Reader BM wants to know if morphine can be brought into Japan legally, and if having a tattoo would prevent her from visiting bathing facilities.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Oct 23, 2012
'Prenups' uncommon but doable; aid for avid J. League fans
Lana is planning to get married in Japan and wants to know if it's possible to arrange a prenuptial agreement.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Oct 16, 2012
Retirees can be rehired, but often under worse conditions
Reader PW teaches at an international school in Tokyo and wants to know about Japan's retirement laws:
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Oct 2, 2012
Companies liable for drug trial damages
MJ is considering using an experimental drug that his doctor has offered to treat colitis, but isn't sure who is responsible if anything goes wrong.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Sep 25, 2012
Gaijin cards valid until 2015 — but not at the post office
Reader AM informed us that Japan Post no longer accepts alien registration cards as valid identification.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Sep 18, 2012
Unlike giving blood, becoming an organ donor easy
Bob is wondering if the blood donation rules, which we covered in "Less-than-fluent foreigners may have trouble giving blood" (April 3), also apply to organ donors.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Sep 4, 2012
Self-sponsored visas: a passport to freedom or a world of pain?
In response to our July 31 column, "How would changing jobs affect my visa?" S.E. asks: "I have heard of foreigners sponsoring their own visa, but is this true? If so, how can I go about this?"
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jul 31, 2012
How would changing jobs affect my visa?
S.E. has been working at the same English school for 16 years but is thinking of leaving her job and moving to another part of Japan.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jul 24, 2012
From baby massage to fostering pets, many options for volunteers
Reader M.S. is looking for volunteer opportunities in Tokyo that don't require fluent Japanese ability, as many — if not most — do. In particular, she'd like to work with animals.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jul 10, 2012
Complex rules in place for safety's sake, but Red Cross still wants your blood
Some readers may have misunderstood the intent of our May 22 column, "Foreigners disqualified as blood donors for wide range of reasons," which was meant to illustrate, through readers' responses, that if a foreigner is turned away from giving blood in Japan, it happens more often because of standard health and safety reasons than Japanese ability.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
Jun 26, 2012
Local orphanages may be best bet for volunteers
L.P. would like to volunteer at a Catholic orphanage in the Tohoku region, near the March 11 disaster areas, but isn't sure how to get started.
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
May 29, 2012
Safe blood requires strict, and detailed, standards
In last week's column, several people living in Japan explained that whether they were able to donate blood was primarily determined by health or safety concerns rather than Japanese language ability, which we originally discussed in our April 3 column, "Less-than-fluent foreigners may have trouble giving blood."
COMMUNITY / How-tos / LIFELINES
May 22, 2012
Foreigners disqualified as blood donors for wide range of reasons
From the many responses to our April 3 column, "Less-than-fluent foreigners may have trouble giving blood," it seems that Japanese language ability is an issue at some centers, but not all. Other factors sometimes took precedence, such as medical conditions and other rules.

Longform

Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves