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Okazaki City Guide
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Public telephones

Compared to 5-10 years ago, there aren't as many public telephones around as there used to be, but you usually don't have to go far to find one. Virtually every convenience store, many bus stops etc have at least one. The problem is that while you can make domestic calls from any public phone, it is only possible to make an international call from a telephone that is designated as an "International" telephone. Some of the machinese still accept coins, but the best way to make a call is to use a telephone card. These can be bought at any convenience store or from vending machines.

There are three kinds of public telephone:

  • Green:

    These are the most common, and can use coins and cards. Only some of them can be used for international calls.

  • Grey/Silver:

    Also very common. Most are enabled for international calls. Can use coins and cards.

  • Orange (IC):

    TNot very common in Okazaki as of 2004, these are the newest type of public telephone. They only use "IC Cards" and coins. International calls will be OK.

    Cellphones

    You can see these everywhere, usually either glued to the ear of the owner or being used for text messages, as cameras etc. Due to a lack of standardization, cellphones from overseas usually will not work in Japan. If you are only staying for a short period, these are the easiest and most affordable route. There are two types;

  • Pre-Paid: Not subscription based, well suited for people who don't use their mobile phone very often. You can buy replacement cards from convenience stores. Due to new anti-terrorism measures (see update box above) you need an Alien Registration Card from the City Hall to get a Pre-Paid mobile phone.
  • Subscription: Same as for the Pre-Paid mobile phones, you need an Alien Registration Card to acquire a subscription-based mobile phone. The benefits are that you will have access to a wider range of telephone models, online service, better camera, nicer colors etc. You choose which plan you would like to use, and then pay on a monthly basis either by bank deduction, cash at convenience stores, or by credit card. Monthly subscription fees are around 3000 Yen per month.
    There are shops selling cellphones like these throughout Okazaki. If you make a lot of phone calls and plan to stay around or at least 10 months in Japan, then a subscription based mobile phone might be the better choice for you.

    Internet Resources, Cable Internet, Broadband, ISPs

    If you do not already have access provided via your workplace or accommodation, there are a growing number of internet cafes, and other public places that you can use. Broadband access is diffusing rapidly and high speed connections are very affordable. The ISPs and other vendors are in a constant state of change, we will try to maintain at http://key.mikawa.cc/xxx.html an up-to-date file of resources you can use if you wish to get good internet access at home.

    Bookshops

    There are a large number of bookshops in Okazaki, with the largest being Miraiya-shoten on the 3rd floor of the AEON shopping complex. For the most part the bookshops only sell Japanese language content. Magazines, maps, dictionaries and so on are also available in most of the shops.
    For foreign books, the best bet is to either head into Nagoya (to bookshops such as Maruzen, Kinokuniya etc), or order online from amazon.co.jp - which will (usually) give you a quicker delivery than amazon.com If you can't read Japanese, use amazon.com first to find your book, then copy the ISBN number to the Japanese site. The actual ordering (credit card details, confirmations etc) can be displayed in English.
    There is a very small foreign language bookshop at the Yamasa Institute in Hane-cho, the books largely catering to those learning Japanese (excellent dictionaries, textbooks etc)

    Local Newspapers and Magazine

    Reversible is a local (monthly) magazine containing a lot of useful information, store profiles and the like (it's in Japanese only)
    Also published (fortnightly) is "Okazaki News", published by volunteers. It's bilingual, and often contains a lot of useful information regarding upcoming events in Okazaki, particularly cultural ones. Always worth picking up a copy. Read the online edition here: http://www.city.okazaki.aichi.jp/oia/index_e.htm
    From Nagoya but slowly expanding its coverage and reach there is a useful English magazine called JapanZine. The advertisements are mostly concentrated on restaurants and bars in Nagoya and other larger cities, but it often contains interesting articles about local festivals, sightseeing places and so forth. Visit http://www.japan-zine.com/ for the online version.

    TV, Radio

    Apart from the free to air channels and the BS satellite channels of run by the publicly owned NHK network, it is possible to obtain pay TV. Skyperfect is the most common satellite TV provider. For cable TV try MICS, which also includes a local channel.
    On the AM band try NHK1 (729KHz), NHK2 (909KHz), CBC (1053KHz), Tokai (1332KHz). These are mostly talk stations and broadcast in Japanese only. On the FM band there is more music: NHK FM (82.5MHz), FM Aichi (80.7MHz), Radio I (79.5MHz), ZIP FM (77.8MHz). The latter two contain a large amount of foreign language broadcasting. For local radio, listen to FM Okazaki - as of 2004 the local community station is broadcasting on a 10KW signal, so in some parts of the city (due to hills, concrete buildings, interference etc) you might not be able to pick up the signal clearly (or at all). The FM Okazaki homepage is at http://www.763.fm

    Video System

    Okazaki makes a lot of digital video cameras (SONY has a large plant here) and Japan uses the NTSC standard. If you bring a PAL or NTSC video camera with you to Okazaki, you won't be able to buy any video cartridges. Bring them from home.

    Photography

    There are excellent camera shops (Map C, C3 - Kitamura Cameras is a good one), and film of all types is easy to obtain. If you run out of film during the middle of a day trip you usually buy a cheap disposable camera from most of the convenience stores.
  • Important Update (July 2006):

    Due to a change in laws in 2005, it is not possible anymore to obtain a mobile phone without an Alien Registration Card. Therefore, if you really need to have a mobile phone, go to the City Hall, apply for an Alien Registration Card, ask for the replacement document (see "Opening a Bank Account" for details) which you take to the mobile phone service provider of your choice to get a "keitai denwa" (mobile phone).


    ©Declan Murphy / Frontia Corporation - All rights reserved
    1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, JAPAN 444-0832
    Tel: +81 (0)564 55 8112 Fax: +81 (0)564 55 8174 Email: info [at] mikawa [dot] cc