I’ve found in my personal experience that there is a wealth of information online about the process of coming to Japan (I wrote about my own experience here), but a lot less about what happens when the time comes for you to leave.
As of writing this, this is around the time ALTs are submitting their intentions to stay or leave as it’s coming up to the end of the school year, so I hope this is somewhat helpful.
I remembered to log a lot of what I did with dates, so you can tell from making the decision to actually leaving took six weeks – and this really was a tight schedule. Most people make their decision months in advance. So please heed my warning and take more time than I did to get your life in order.
Nevertheless, this is how it went for me working for a dispatch ALT company.
Dates are in day/month order as is standard in the UK.
06/11: Booked flights home to the UK and told my family. Start advertising furniture and appliances for free on Facebook expat groups and our ALT group chat on Line.
08/11: Sent letter of resignation to my company giving the minimum 30 days notice. Received a call in the evening from my manager asking if I’ve thought this through, but he was very kind and understanding as he knew that I was recovering from surgery. Company sends through a ‘leavers pack’ with a bunch of forms to complete and return.
15/11: Tell my teachers I am leaving and advise my final day. Arrange leaving parties with my favourites.
26-27/11: Leaving parties with teachers:
06-10/12: People come to pick the items I’ve been advertising up from my apartment. (IMPORTANT: Work around YOUR schedule, not theirs. If they’re too busy or flake, immediately offer to the next person or make other arrangements ie. take to the thrift shop or dispose.)
08/12: Last day at junior high school. I’m shadowed by my replacement.
09/12: Last day at my elementary school. I’m shadowed again by my replacement.
10/12: Representative from the company comes to survey the apartment for damage. The actual landlord will do an inspection after I move out. Go to city hall with representative to do leaving process. This includes notifying the city that you’ll no longer be a resident, and to set up a proxy to receive my pension/partial tax refund when I return home. There are various resources online about this and it’s way more complicated than it needs to be.
10-12/12: Leaving parties with friends.
13/12: Clear the last of my stuff out of my apartment. Finish packing and forward luggage to airport hotel using Yamato. Gas is turned off in the evening.
14/12: Water is turned off in the morning. Move out of my apartment and catch the shinkansen for a farewell weekend in Tokyo.
15/12: Check into airport hotel at Haneda, reunited with my luggage.
16/12: Residence card and visa are voided at the airport. Fly home.
N.b. one of my suitcases arrived at Newcastle International with only one of it’s four wheels but しょうがない British Airways were pretty great at coughing up for a replacement.
BACK IN THE UK: Receive final pay after two months, minus 20% tax and mandatory apartment cleaning fees. Also receive my sickness benefits from when I was recovering from my operation. Applied for pension/partial tax refund and discussed with proxy still in Japan.
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