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Topics - mike

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YETI Announcements / 2015-2016 YETI Council Elections
« on: April 16, 2015, 12:17:21 PM »
Can you believe it's already been a year since we elected the YETI Council? Time flies, and it's time to start thinking about bringing in some fresh faces for a new council! Three positions will be going up for vote: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These positions have one-year terms.

All members of the YETI Council are responsible for:
  • Planning events
  • Communicating with the community
  • Sharing information about events and opportunities

Position-Specific Duties:

President
  • Manage council members' duties.
  • Ensures good communication within the council and with outside groups.
  • Handles any urgent issues that may arise.
  • Acts as the official face of YETI.
  • Supervises other council members.

Secretary
  • Ultimately responsible for the YETI Spaghetti Newsletter, distribution of event information, and the platforms used for communication.
  • Corresponds with AJET, the Block Representative, and other contacts.
  • Records meeting minutes and distributes them to the council.

Treasurer
  • Manages the YETI account and finances.
  • Reports financial information and advice to the council.
  • Creates budgets and proposes event fees.
  • Collects money and pays expenses.

These responsibilities are guidelines based on how former councils have functioned, but in the end each council is free to structure themselves and assign responsibilities however they see fit.

**Nomination and subsequent voting is open to ALL foreign ALTs, Eikaiwa teachers, and CIRs currently living and working in Yamanashi.**
If you are unsure if you qualify for running or voting, please feel free to contact any council member.

Election Procedure:

  • Nominations are open immediately.
  • Nominations will tentatively close on April 24th at midnight (JST).
  • Candidates that accept their nominations should send a short blurb to a council member via PM by April 30th.
  • Voting will begin on Friday, May 1st and run until May 8th.
  • Results will be announced at The Nash 500 on May 10th

How to make a nomination:
Post in this forum topic or send a PM on the forum to a council member. You may nominate yourself.

How to vote:
Send a message to me (Mike) on the forum or e-mail spaghetti.yamamama@gmail.com with your name and your votes for each position. Please only vote one person for each position.

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Events Archive / The Nash 500! 2015
« on: April 16, 2015, 12:13:38 PM »
The Nash 500!!!

What: The Nash 500!
Initial meeting place: Parking lot of Aeon Mall in Kofu Showa, Lot A.
When: Sunday, May 10th, 9:30am
Cost: It is FREE, but you will need to split the cost of any gas or tolls used with your fellow teammates.

The Nash 500 is a prefecture-wide scavenger hunt that gets participants to explore Yamanashi. Participants gather into teams and drive around the prefecture visiting various famous landmarks, buildings and interesting areas to collect pictures and complete tasks. They will dress up in costumes and do various challenges all over the prefecture! But be sure to complete the tasks within the time limits and meet back at the desginated meeting points.

If you'd like to join:
First, create your own team and post it here!  You can have as many teammates as will legally fit in your car.  Usually this is 4-5 people.
Then, choose your theme together.  Examples of team themes in years past are Dukes of Hokentucky (Dukes of Hazzard costume and decorated car), Go Go Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro costumes and car), Rainbow Racers (Mario Kart theme). You can choose any theme and costumes but you WILL BE JUDGED ON APPEARANCE so choose wisely! 
Next, post your teammates names and team name here!
Last, Show up!

The hunt organizers will distribute the clue sheets for the morning's tasks at 9:40am sharp, at which point you're free to get started. Check-in points and times will be detailed in the materials distributed at the start, this will include the morning tasks. The morning tasks are to be completed before the lunch time deadline. We will all meet again at lunch time and you will be given a second set of tasks to complete before dinner time.

At least one person in your group has to bring a camera (preferably one that can also record videos) with a removable memory card!

The hunt will end at roughly dinner time at a location to be disclosed, at which point we will tally points and distribute awards and prizes while everyone eats dinner. Points will also be given for costumes and the manner in which you complete the tasks!

We will also announce the results of voting for the next year's YETI council at this time!

Get to planning!  Post here or on the Facebook event page when you know your team!  If you do not know who you wish to be teamed up with but want to participate, please let us know so we can hook you up! Remember, at least one person in your team must own/rent a car to participate. This event requires one driver and car for each team.

Finally, we are looking for judges to help assist with this event! If you are interested, please let one of the council members know!

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[Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/305625676290860/ ]

It's that time of the year again! The grapes are ripe and ready for harvest, which is cause for celebration in the Kōshū region. That's right, it's time for the 2014 WINE FESTIVAL!

Join us for this bacchanalian event as vendors and vintners share with the public the best wines and grapes you're likely to find in all of Japan. Once again this will be a YETI / ShizAJET co-hosted event, so get ready to see some new faces and make some new friends!

This is a 2-day party, so make sure you bring your game face (and magic hangover remedies)! Last year we tried a trip to FujiQ, but after several recommendations against following a drinking event with rollercoasters, we've decided to take the Sunday a little more slowly this year:

DAY 1
+ Katsunuma Wine and Grape Festival
+ 500 for a festival glass / Wine refills in the glass are free!
+ Festival starts at 10am. Meet at 10:36am at Katsunumabudokyo Station (tentative) to take a shuttle bus (100 yen) to Katsunuma Chuo Park.
+ You are free to come and go as you please! We will have a tarp set up for YETI / ShizAJET use.
+ You are responsible for your own lodging afterwards, but by all means please ask if you need a place to stay!

DAY 2
+ Lazy Sunday at Lake Kawaguchi
+ Get up early and meet at Kawahuchiko Station at 10:26am.
+ Grab brunch, take a ride up the gondola, eat lavender ice cream, and nurse your hangovers while gazing at beautiful Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Fuji.
+ Head back home in the afternoon.

For our Shizuoka friends, if you will be using public transportation please keep in mind that the going by train from Kawaguchiko to Shizuoka takes quite awhile. However, Kousokubus.net does have a bus that departs from Kawaguchiko Station at 5:25pm and arrives at Shizuoka Station at 7:19pm. for 2,680 yen.

Let us know if you have any questions / comments / etc.! If there is an overwhelming desire to change any times or events, we'd be happy to accomodate - so let us know what you think!

4
Events Archive / 2014 Fuji Climb
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:27:38 PM »
It's been brought to my attention that people would still like event posts on the forum. For that reason I'm copying the event info for the 2014 YETI Fuji Climb here. Feel free to comment and RSVP here, however most of the discussion is going on over at the YETI - Yamanashi English Teachers International group page on Facebook. If you're on Facebook but not a member of our group, join now! If you're awaiting verification please contact a council member or Fred and we can get you approved.  Without further ado, here's the event details:

Two types of people come to Yamanashi: Those that think "I'm climbing Mt. Fuji," and those that think "No way José, it's just meant for looking at."

For the first group, get excited because we're holding our annual YETI Fuji Climb! (For the second group, they're more than welcome to organize an anti-climbing party!)


YETI Fuji Climb 2014

Date: Saturday, September 6th
Location: Yamanashi's Fuji 5th Station
Time: Meeting around 7:30pm, hiking from 8pm
Price: Free! (However a 1000 yen donation is now encouraged at the trailhead to help preserve Mt. Fuji)
Access: You can drive to the 5th station via the Fuji Subaru Line (2000yen toll), or you can take a bus from FujiSan station on the fujikyuu line. If you plan on driving and can fit others, please post here in order to arrange carpools.
What to bring: A light source, a hiking stick, winter clothing and jackets, gloves, 100 yen coins for toilets, a backpack, food and drink, etc.

If you have any questions, please ask here, on the event page, or on the YETI Facebook group and we will try to answer them. Many people in the community have experience climbing Mt. Fuji and should be able to help you.

Look below for the answers to many frequently asked questions.

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Events Archive / Fuji Climb 2013
« on: August 01, 2013, 06:13:34 PM »
*I’m putting this post up early in case people need to make alternate climbing plans due to the date, and so that hopefully people can see it before they leave on vacations.*

WHAT IT IS:  Overnight Fuji climb to watch the sun rise

DATE: September 14

TIME: 8pm Arrival for a 9pm Departure

PRICE: Free!

ACCESS:  Driving – Subaru Line (2000 yen toll); Public Transportation – Bus from Fujisan Station (Fujikyuu Line).

WHAT TO BRING:
Layered Clothing – the temperature will range during the climbing from the 20s (Celsius) down to around 0 degrees.  Please be prepared for around two hours at the summit in freezing temperatures.

Gloves – Wind proof gloves are better if you have some available.

Socks – Your fingers aren’t the only thing that will get cold.

Hiking Shoes – To put on your socks.  Make sure you wear them in beforehand.

Headlamp –  Unless nightvision lists among your superpowers, you're going to need help seeing in the dark.  These can be picked up at most sports stores.  You won't need anything too fancy.  You should also bring extra batteries just in case.

Water – Drinks can be purchased on the mountain, but everything is expensive.  I would advise 2L of water and potentially more if you don't want to buy anything.  Please keep in mind that the exertion, cold temperatures, and other factors will cause you to need more liquids than over a normal 12-hour period.[/i]

Food – Believe it or not, you have to eat.

Sunscreen - You'll be completely exposed on a barren mountainside on the way down.  This means lots and lots of sun, so bring plenty of sunscreen with you.

100 Yen Coins – For the bathrooms.

Lots of Yen (optional) – For omiyage, souvenirs, food and drink, and as previously mentioned the restrooms.  A fully stamped Fuji Stick will cost you upwards of 3000 yen I believe.

A Hiking Stick (optional) – If you don’t want to buy a Fuji Stick, you might benefit by having a nice hiking stick or two.

Event Description:

Are you sitting around your desk over summer vacation, bored to death and dreaming of your next great adventure?  Worry not, we have just the event for you!

Every year YETI organizes a Mt. Fuji climb for its members and their friends.  We hike overnight and arrive in time to see the famous morning sun from the summit.  The date for this year’s Fuji Climb is set for SEPTEMBER 14, so mark your calendars now and start dusting off your winter jackets.  Luckily for you this event is FREE(ish) so you won’t have to bite into your summer beer budget to join us.

Those of you more acquainted with our iconic friend will notice that this is two weekends after the technical closing date of climbing season.  Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing here (or at least we’d like you to think so).  By going after official climbing season we are able to avoid the large crowds that make Fuji-san feel more like a lunch line queue than an alpine adventure.  The mountain huts will still be open at this time so the standard amenities will still be available.

We will be meeting at the SUBARU LINE 5TH STATION at 8PM for a 9pm departure.  We will hike overnight and should arrive well before sunrise.   By planning to arrive at the summit early we should be able to avoid foot traffic and unexpected delays – BUT IT WILL BE COLD while we wait.  Last year it was hovering just above freezing and with pretty fierce winds.

In order to get to the Subaru Line 5th Station (please keep in mind that there are several trails and therefore several 5th stations) you may drive up the Subaru Line toll road (2000 yen) or take a bus from the Fujisan Station on the Fujikyuu train line.  We would like to carpool as much as possible to this event, so if you are driving please say so in your RSVP!


Questions and Answers
Because yes, we can read your mind.

What if I don't want to climb Fuji?
For the past few years, a dear friend of ours in Fujiyoshida has offered his place for the unofficial F@!$ Fuji party.  This is a party for those not climbing Fuji that is held on the same night as the Fuji Climb.  However this friend has moved on to bigger and better things this year, so as of right now there are no plans for the FF party.  If someone would like to take over this tradition, please feel free to organize an unofficial event.

I want to climb ALL of Fuji.
That's not a question, but okay.  Some years there are participants that wish to hike the full Yoshidaguchi trail from Sengen Shrine in Fujiyoshida.  If anyone is interested in doing this, let me know and I can provide further information.  From the trailhead to the 5th is about the same duration as from the 5th to the summit, although the trail is very different. 

If you want to hike from the sea, well, you're crazy but more power to you.  There is a charity event called Sea to Summit for your kind, although the event has been filled for 2013.

What about altitude acclimation?
Luckily Mt. Fuji isn't all that tall, so most people won't have problems with altitude.  We will be meeting at the fifth station at 8, which gives us an hour to settle before we even start hiking.  Time has also been factored in to take rests along the way.  If you are a concerned, feel free to spend the night in Fujiyoshida (elevation around 800m) to prime yourself.  Generally at least a full night at altitude is recommend for your body to start to acclimate, but if you wish you may show up to the fifth station earlier than our planned meeting time.  If along the hike you believe you are feeling the effects of altitude sickness, you may purchase oxygen canisters to help relieve the symptoms.  They are expensive, however, and you will be expected to carry it back down the mountain with you.

I don't need that much time to climb Fuji.  Can I leave later?
Be my guest, but be aware that the trail will become very congested leading up to sunrise and you may not make it in time.  We have scheduled the event with enough time to help ensure that everyone that finishes the hike will make it to the summit before dawn.  Even hiking overnight you should expect one or two short bottlenecks that may slow your progress.

What if there's bad weather?  Is there a backup date?
No.  We're sorry, but due to the inflexibility of the date for Welcome Party we are already going as late in year as we are willing to.  If the weather is foul, we'll have to cancel the 2013 Fuji Climb.  Be aware that Fuji has it's own weather patterns that are unique from the surrounding area and can change quickly.  This could work for or against us.

What if I start to miss my mom/dad/bff/gf/puppy or need to call in an emergency shipment of Dunkin' Donuts while on the mountainside?  (a.k.a. the CELL PHONE question)
You get reception a remarkable way up the mountain.  Feel free to brag to your friends (or toy poodle) about your adventure on Facebook, but conserve enough battery for the next day!  You will probably have to get in contact with the people you are carpooling with - which won't be easy if everyone has a dead battery.  At some point you WILL leave the reception range.  At this point your phone will start constantly searching for the network, which will very quickly drain your battery.  So your best bet is to TURN YOUR PHONE OFF before this happens.  You might even want to do it before you leave the 5th Station so that you don't forget later on.

Be aware that while it's pretty hard to get lost on the way up (hint: go up), there are multiple paths at the summit and you could potentially take the wrong one down.  Unfortunately, you won't have reception anymore at this point so you won't be able to call for help.  Ganbatte!

How do I get down?
I'm going to reiterate this again, there is more than one path.  Please to the one leading to the Subaru Line 5th Station / Fujiyoshida / Yamanashi.  It won't be hard to spot.  Just make sure people are going down it and not up or you're going to have a bad time.  Also make sure it the sign doesn't say anything about Shizuoka / Fujinomiya.  If in doubt, ask.  If you do get caught going down the wrong way, head back up and try again.  If you get in trouble for cutting around the mountain on an restricted access path that looks like it's going to crumble away under your feet, I don't know you.

What kind of food should I bring?
High calorie and light weight is best.  Obviously things that don't require much preparation, so leave the frozen chicken breast at home.  Peanut butter is gold, Calorie Mates and those squishy protein gels are perfect for snacks.  Nuts - and by extension, trail mix - are a favorite amongst hikers.  If it needs refrigerated, don't bring it.  If it comes with a ton of packaging, consider repacking it.  I'm pretty awful at packing for the outdoors, but if you google "hiking food" or some such you should find good advice.

I heard about this thing called a... summit beer?
Is that even a question?  Alcohol will pack a punch at the altitude of Fuji's summit, but if you'd like to join me in celebrating our achievement then feel free to lug a brewsky up with you.  Try to pack it away from your body to keep it cooler, and if you die it's not my fault.

I have a question...
Then ask!  A lot of people in the YETI community have climbed Fuji before, and we all love to share our opinions and advice.  If it's already been addressed, though, we might poke fun at you - so read through this post closely!  ;)

If you would like to attend this event, please reply to this post with your name and one of the following: CAR (# SPOTS), RIDING WITH _______, BUS,  or  NEED RIDE.
 
If you are willing to take a bus but would prefer a ride, just go with "need ride."

6
Useful Information for living in Yamanashi / Fishing in Yamanashi
« on: February 18, 2013, 12:22:33 PM »
Does anyone know anything about fishing permits and regulations in Yamanashi?

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Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Koshu / Tano Kagura and Festival
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:58:08 AM »
Hey everyone!  The latest edition of the wonderful Yamanashi Grapevine (thanks to all those who worked on it!) mentioned a Kagura performance in Tano tomorrow, January 12th.

At the moment I intend to attend.  Activities appear to start at 5pm, I might arrive a little early for sightseeing.

I wanted to post about this in case anyone didn't catch the memo in the Grapevine or if they were afraid no one else was interested.  So if you're considering, be aware that you'd at least have company!  If you want it, that is.  Nothing wrong with being a loner, either.

Here's the link for more info: http://kaiji-net.jp/kokubunsai/dosojin/jyuunikagura.html


I've been meaning to get out to Koshu since reading some of Walter Westons accounts of the area.  For anyone interested in history, culture, and travel writing Walter Weston was an Englishman that published between 1896 and 1926 on his mountaineering and other adventures in Japan.  In Mountaineering and Exploring the Japanese Alps he not only writes on climbing expeditions but also rural superstitions, ways of life, and Buddhist and Shinto rituals and origins.  It is at times mildly offensive in an Imperialist England kind of way, but such were the times.

Anyways, that was tangential.  If you're interested in the festival, let me know!

Edit:  Link fixed.  Not sure what was wrong with it.

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Useful Information for living in Yamanashi / Wedding Envelopes
« on: December 21, 2012, 10:09:30 AM »
Who knows a surefire place to grab a wedding envelope for the gift money?  My JTE gave me a few hints but nothing so specific as I might like. 

Also, what kind of envelope would be fitting for 2man?  Yes, I know it's an even number, but that's specifically how much I was told to put in it.  I assume a pretty basic envelope would be ideal, since it's not very much?

9
General Teaching / ''Louder than I'' vs. ''Louder than me.''
« on: December 10, 2012, 05:38:56 PM »
...than + objective case,

or

...than + subjective case?

For example:  He is louder than ________.

And... GO!

(And most importantly, does anyone know which they want for JHS tests / H.S. entrance exams?)

10
Learning Japanese / Japanese Language Resource Reviews
« on: November 13, 2012, 11:44:13 AM »
This thread is for listing and reviewing language resources.  Feel free to add your own reviews!  Please try to edit your old posts to add new information in order to keep things concise and organized.  For example, if you review Anki but then start using Memrise, please add your Memrise review to your Anki post.

Please keep you posts on-topic and relevant.  If you would like to discuss a resource, please start a new thread for the conversation so as not to clutter this thread.

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General Teaching / I was ____ to ____.
« on: November 08, 2012, 03:02:12 PM »
A student wrote: 

Quote
"I was tired to make programs."   

He meant that it made him tired to fix all of the mistakes that were in the school festival program/brochure.  This sounded wrong to me, but I had difficulty explaining why. 

It seems to me that the structure I    1    to    2    only works if an emotion is in blank 1 (happy, excited, disappointed), while the student had used a word that more clearly described his condition.  That's not the best way to explain it to an ESL learner, I think, and I was wondering if anyone had advice or hard and fast rules that I've missed or forgotten about.

Thanks.

12
General Teaching / "Fun" Usage / State of Being Adjectives
« on: September 19, 2012, 02:15:59 PM »
Sample sentence:  This music makes me _____.
Student's answer:  This music makes me fun.
Correct answer:      This music makes me happy.

The JTE asked me to explain why fun isn't proper when used as such, and about other instances where it does or doesn't work.  I'm not an English major, but I tried to explain that adjectives that describe your temporary state of being (happy, sad, sick, etc.) would work in the blank while adjectives that describe permanent traits or characteristics (funny, fun, etc.) do not.

I tried to explain a bit more about what kinds of phrases "fun" does and does not work in, but it got complicated.  The best I could really convey is that you can't use words that describe your permanent qualities in a sentence that indicates change in your state of being.  I also explained that describing yourself as fun or funny sounds conceited or pretentious, maybe similar to how it would sound if I referred to myself as Mike-sensei in Japanese.

Can anyone explain more about what kinds of adjectives would work in the sample sentence, and when fun does and does not sound natural or correct?

13
Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Climbing at Ogawayama
« on: September 03, 2012, 12:25:59 PM »
I know that a few people on here climb from time to time or have some interest in it, so here goes.

I'm hoping to make an overnight trip out to Ogawayama in late September or sometime in October while the weather is still decent.  I have some friends in Nagano that I will be trying to schedule with, so if everything works out it should be a healthily sized group.  If anyone from YETI is a climber or would like to get started, I'd love for you to come along!  Let me know what your schedule looks like if you want to join.

Details:

Ogawayama is located in Nagano, just north of the Yamanashi border, at an elevation of 1600m (http://goo.gl/maps/t4tT9
).  The area is pretty developed and can get busy on summer weekends and holidays.  It's around 2.5 hours from me, probably 1.5 from Minami Alps.

For English speakers, this is the de facto guide: http://www.ogawayama.com/

There are hundreds of routes spread around the park - trad, sport, and bouldering.  Some of the rock is chossy as hell, and some of it is world class.  Placed gear has the same range, sketch to solid.  In other words, there is something for everyone.

I'm lacking in gear at the moment, so I'll probably be making a trip to buy some (quickdraws, rope, crash pad) beforehand.

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Junior High School / Foxy Phonics in JHS(?)
« on: September 03, 2012, 10:46:06 AM »
Has anyone tried using Foxy Phonics in JHS?  If so, do you feel that it was difficult enough for them?  Useful?

I'm using my ichinensees as guinea pigs, but it would be nice to have an idea as to what to expect.

15
Short Story: You just need the Certificate of Residence (Juminhyo) and your Health Insurance Card.
Long Story:

Sorry if this is a no brainer, but I thought it was confusing with all the conflicting information that I've heard, so I'm writing this in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation.

First I'll go over how to get by without the Residence Card (it's easy), and then I'll go into details about the plan options for anyone interested.

This doesn't pertain to AU because as far as I know, they aren't a nightmare to deal with.  And mostly because AU doesn't work where I am so I didn't do the research.


For those of you (like me) who must use Docomo, here is what Fred and I discovered last night.  Fred, please feel free to correct me on any of this.

This information pertains to Docomo, but the basic idea should be applicable for Softbank as well (I think?).

Things you will need:
A Japanese speaker (extensive reading ability not necessary)
Money (3.500 yen edit: for me, but bring more, and more if you're buying a translator drinks / dinner)
Juminhyo (Certificate of Residence issued by town hall)
Health Insurance (Aye, there's the rub.)
Bank Card
2 hours of free time (you might be able to do it in under an hour if you understand the options beforehand).

All items must be originals, not photocopies!

You do not need a zairyu card according to the company's own guidelines, as described in the links below.  If you are worried about it, print out a copy and bring it with you  - although they should have copies in both Japanese and English, so you should be fine.

Docomo - Documents Verifying Identity: http://tinyurl.com/9nldqtx

(Softbank here: http://tinyurl.com/9pjt2ra)

What we will capitalize on is Item 6: Japanese Health Certificate + Other Item.  The simplest secondary item to obtain is the Juminhyo, as you should have registered with your town hall within 14 days of arriving.  Mine is a large paper with a weird background, my name, and I think my address.

When you sit down with the sales person, they should go down the list of acceptable forms of identification - just point to six and give them your Health Insurance Card and Juminhyo.

After that, you're golden.  Simple, right? I'll go ahead and explain some of the plan options and the cheapest way to go, though, as Fred went to great lengths to try and understand them and we seem to have found the cheapest way to do it.


You'll select your phone first.  They were helpful enough with us, but whip out the brochure and flip to the spec comparison page for your own sake - if you can't find the page, try asking them how much RAM is in each phone and they should go straight to it. 

They may talk about phone pricing now or later, but when they do it will work like this:  They will first tell you how much the phone will cost you per month, and then they will tell you how much the phone is subsidized for per month (look for the number with the triangle before it if your salesperson was like ours).  The subsidy is added as credit to your monthly bill, reducing your total cost per month - so first they will itemize the full cost, and then later in the bill reduce it by the amount of the subsidy.  I don't know where the numbers come from, though; the display for my Galaxy III said 0 yen but I end up paying like 500 yen a month for it.

If you're getting a smartphone (I'm going to assume that you are), it will be marked with an Xi (pronounced Crossy) symbol that looks a lot like a support ribbon bumper sticker.  Apparently with Docomo, you only get a few options with Xi plans.

First you will have to decide between the regular Xi Plan or the Ninen (2-year) plan.  The 2-year plan is half the cost a month (780 vs. 1560) but has a cancellation fee of just under 1 man.  Your choice.  I went with the Ninen, which is what I would suggest if you are at all considering staying for more than 12 months.

Then you get the basic package attached which gives you free calling to all Docomo phones, and a rather pitiful rate of 42 yen / minute to any other phone. The tired minute plans are only applicable to plain-jane phones, NOT Xi Smartphones.

Then you get your choice of an Flat Rate Data Plan, or a Variable Rate Data Plan (and maybe No Data Plan, but I didn't ask).  The two plans have the same speed and throttling cap (which I think I read will be changing in October?), but the Flat Plan is a flat rate of about 5.500 yen / mo and the other plan will adjust from around 2.500 yen up to about 6.500 yen according to your data usage.  The catch is that the 6.500 yen data usage point is pretty low in the age of streaming media, and that there is a charge per packet that will contribute to reaching the maximum price point.

I highly suggest going with the Flat Rate Data Plan.  If anyone has tried the other and recommended it, please share - but until I hear otherwise I'm pretty confident that 99% of users will hit the cap every month on the Variable Plan.

Next you have to pay 350 yen a month for an ISP.  Too bad, so sad - if you get a Data Plan you have to pay this.

Then you get to choose your options.  Yay!  Only, not really.  Not at all.  This part was confusing as hell.  Each item you subscribe to has a monthly cost and a minimum commitment of 1-2 months (depending on the item), and will also contribute to reducing your upfront cost.  If you do not subscribe for an item, you do not have to pay for it but you will also lose the start-up rebate. 

What Fred and I (mostly Fred) decided was that the most cost effective thing to do was to subscribe to all of them to receive the rebates, and then cancel them within your 3 week grace period (the first month that you committed to).  Some of the items will only save you one or two hundred yen, some will save you several hundred.  If you don't want to go down this route you will miss out on a savings of somewhere between 6- to 12-thousand yen (I can't remember... maybe Fred does).  I think I saved roughly US$100 at the current exchange rate if this masterful plan actually works out (I jsut got the phone last night and haven't cancelled yet).

The last choice in the options is something called DCMX / DCMX Mini.  This is a Credit Card.  If you put your phone bill through it every month, there is no yearly fee.  If you don't, I don't know if there is or not.  Again, maybe Fred knows.

I went ahead and applied because I know that CCs can be extremely difficult to acquire early on as a foreigner, but also extremely useful - you can build your credit, it's a form of identification, you can use ETC, and so on.  I... didn't fudge any details, but I chose my words carefully.  I will report back in 1-2 weeks on whether or not they accepted me.

After settling your options, you will go over your bill.

The items should include:

1.  The cost of the phone
2.  The subsidy of the phone (credit)
3.  Insurance (includes water damage and drops, about 400 yen a month with around a 5.000 yen first claim fee and 8.500 after)
4.  A random 3 yen surcharge
5.  The cost of your plan
6.  The cost of your options

I'll look later to see if I've forgotten anything.

Then you sign your life away, pay the start-up fee (I think it's 1 man minus your option rebates?), and have your phone activated.

Congratulations, you've just gotten yourself a phone from Docomo, without a Zairyu Card, and cost effectively!


Edit: I took out some unnecessary words. =)

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