Useful Links

Just a collection of some useful internet resources for all aspects of your time here in Kumamoto. If you have any links to recommend, please get in touch with us and we’ll add it right away!
JET and Life in Japan/Kumamoto:
  • Kumamoto City JET – Maintained by the Kumamoto City PAs for Kumamoto City JETs.  Includes pics, news, and other Kumamoto City-specific information. (currently down)
  • Statement of Earnings Translation – A template you can use to translate your Statement of Earnings (gensen choushuu hyou) into English for your home country taxes.
  • Japan Post Shipping – Japan Post provides a rate calculator to get an estimate on how much and how long it will take for you to ship things out of Japan.
  • Kuma-Gun, ALT Guide – A collection of event and lifestyle information specific to Kuma-gun in southern Kumamoto.  Written and maintained by two former Kuma-Gun JET ALTs.
  • Kumamoto-I – Facebook site run by the same people who also operate a mailing list for Kumamoto information in English.
  • Kumamoto Tourism -The Prefecture’s official PR and tourism site (in English).
  • tabemoto – A food blog by a former Kumamoto JET.

Teaching Resources:

News:

  • Fuji News Network – Japanese news site that has videos with transcripts (handy for study as well [Japanese only]).
  • Japan Today – Tokyo-based online newspaper which prints in English news of a variety of topics.
  • Japan Times – Online portal for Japan’s longest running English newspaper.
  • News on Japan – A collection of Japanese news stories spanning society, education, political, and more in English.

Japanese Study and Reference:

  • Anki – a spaced repetition flashcard program absolutely invaluable to serious studiers.
  • iKnow – Online courses that provide you with directed study you can fit to your schedule.
  • Lang-8 – Write journals in Japanese and have them checked by native speakers for free.  Highly recommend.

Shopping:

  • 456 – A wide variety of imported foreign goods (Japanese only).
  • Amazon.jp – Amazon rules the world of media for a reason, they’ll get pretty much anything you want to anywhere you want.  Free shipping on orders over ¥1500.
  • Apple Store – The Japanese Apple Store site in English.
  • Edoya – For all your dried fruit and nut needs (Japanese only).
  • Expat Express – Non-perishable foods shipped from Utah.  Can be expensive, but it’s much faster than FBC.  They also offer a service where you can order things from places that don’t ship internationally, have them sent there, then they will send them along to you.
  • Ezo Beer – Real beer! Offering microbrews from Oregon and Japan, as well as imports from Scotland, Belgium and Holland.
  • The Flying Pig – a mail-order service sourcing foreign and bulk foods as well as various other sundries from Costco.
  • iHerb – Vitamins, supplements and natural health products, (including food), cleaning products, and more.  Cheap shipping to Japan.
  • Kakaku – Similar to ebay or amazon.com, but specific to Japan (Japanese only).
  • Kenkou – E-drugstore featuring a huge variety of products. Shipping is free if you spend more than ¥1900. (Japanese only)
  • The Meat Guy – Mail-order meat!  If it was once an animal, they’ve got it.
  • Oddball – A shoe seller specializing in large shoes (13< ) for men.
  • Play-Asia – Seller of multi-region video games for virtually every console/system.  They’re based in Hong Kong so shipping is usually pretty quick.
  • Strawberry Net – Seller of a wide variety of imported perfume, cosmetics and skin care products.  Free shipping.
  • T-Shitsu – A t-shirt company started by former ALTs, marketed specifically for expats in Japan.
  • Tengu Natural Foods – Also know as Alishan, this site features natural/organic and health foods from around the world.  Great source for grains, legumes, and vegan options.
  • Victoria’s Secret – Western-sized ladies’ undergarments shipped (quickly, so we’ve heard) to Japan.

Arts, Theaters and Entertainment:

  • Aeon Cinema (Kashima) – Schedule of films at the Aeon Cinema in the Diamond City Clair mall in Kashima.
  • CAMK – Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto features a number of revolving exhibits.
  • Classic Cinemas (Tenjin) – The Toho cinema in Tenjin has limited showings of classic western movies (not John Wayne “western”, occidental “western.”)  This is a schedule of current and upcoming films.
  • Denkikan (Kumamoto City) – “Art house” cinema in downtown Kumamoto, off of Sun Road (above the Freshness Burger).  The specialize in smaller Japanese films and western films that don’t normally show in the larger national chains.
  • Yachiyoza Theater (Yamaga) – Traditional Japanese theater built in 1910, and recently restored, showing traditional Japanese performance art (kabuki, noh, etc.).  Well worth the trip to Yamaga.  Open for daily tours as well.

Travel and Tourism:

  • Air Do – It doesn’t fly out of Kumamoto, but it’s great for making connecting flights out of Tokyo, including to Hokkaido, and it can be just as cheap as Skymark.
  • CouchSurfing – This site allows you to find people around the world who are willing to host you for a time while you travel.  In turn it allows you a chance to host other travelers in your home.
  • etour – Japanese site similar to travelocity or Kayak (Japanese Only).
  • Hyperdia – Train schedules for all of Japan.
  • Jalan – Cheap hotel deals and packages. Easy to search by location by just clicking on the map on the first page and zooming in to where you want to go, then listing your dates and info including price limit.  You need to sign up (for free), but highly recommend for finding fun deals in completely new places. There are hotel reviews and star ratings, and you can search other plans for the same hotel without leaving Jalan (Japanese only).
  • Jorudan – Train schedules for all of Japan.
  • Lonely Planet Hotel Guide – Exactly what the name implies.  Search the world for hotels and hostels endorsed by Lonely Planet.
  • H.I.S. Travel – Some of the cheapest flights available.  Link to their English site in Fukuoka, but they also fly from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
  • Skymark Airlines – Just like Skynet, but cheaper, flies out of Fukuoka and Nagasaki to locations nationwide.
  • Skynet Asia – Also known as Solaseed Air, they have cheap airline tickets, especially if you book 2 months in advance. They fly out of Kumamoto. (Japanese only).
  • Yahoo! Travel Planner – Input your starting point and destination, then choose a time-based goal such as latest arrival time, earliest departure time, last possible departure, etc. You can cut out options like shinkansen or highway bus if you don’t want to use them and have them clutter up your search (Japanese only).

Health and Lifestyle:

  • AJET Special Interest Groups – Forums for AJET’s SIGs (including religious/spiritual groups, ethnic/nationality groups, activity groups, and charity groups).
  • English Doctors – A Google map listing and showing the location of English-speaking doctors in Kumamoto (thanks to Ryan Urie for putting it together).
  • M-Cube – Online medical translator.
  • Vegan in Japan – A vegan in Japan survival guide put together by Lisa Dempster.  The guide is somewhat superficial, but still rather helpful.

Embassies:

 Other Cool Sites:

  • All Cinema – A movie and DVD database that helps you find the Japanese titles of western movies (for example, “Napoleon Dynamite” is called 「バス男」 in Japanese).
  • Book Mooch – Give books away that you don’t want, get books you do want.  Only cost to you is shipping on books you send.
  • Dropbox – Free online storage for your personal files (music, docs, photos).
  • Earthquake Plotter – USGS site showing the most recent earthquakes and their size.  The map can be moved all over the world. You can click on earthquakes for more info, and report what it was like if you felt it.
  • Esty – Great for purchasing handmade clothing, art, makeup, gifts, etc.  You can also have custom items made. If you are an artist or craftsman in Japan, it is also a great way to sell your work.  If you are keen on scrapbooking, making jewelry, sewing, photography, wood working, painting, etc., this is the place for you!
  • Green Sports – A small campground (surrounded by trees and everything! Yahoo!) by the ocean, and you can kayak in the ocean, too! You must take a guided (and nicely informative) lesson on your first visit for about 3,000 yen, but after that it’s very cheap, you can go alone or with friends, etc.  They’re dying for visitors, and they were giddy to have foreign visitors. You can kayak to the campsite, too.   Green Sports is on the border of Kagoshima.  From Minamata city there’s a cheap bus (150 yen one-way) that takes you right to it from the station (Japanese only).
  • iPhone -> J iTunes – Instructions for iPhone users on how to set-up a Japanese iTunes account without using a credit card.
  • JET Resumes – Resume and interview tips specific to JETs.  Put together by Vince Ricci, interview coach and presenter at the CRJ.
  • Metropolis – An interesting English e-zine based in Tokyo.
  • Missed Delivery? – A very helpful JET’s blog with instructions and scripts for rescheduling missed deliveries.
  • Nihon Hacks – A blog dedicated to”time and money-saving tips for easy living in Japan.”
  • PostCrossing – PostCrossing.com is a great way to engage your students with internationally minded people from all over the world.  Send a postcard (in English) get a postcard (in English).  Great language practice and introduction to native and non-native speakers of English.
  • WiFi Router – Instructions for setting up a WiFi router in Japan.
  • WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a great opportunity to get out and see rural Japan. Volunteer time and labor, get room and board, and knowledge.

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