Apartment · Life · School · UK

Leaving Japan: Resignation Timeline

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.

~ Carla

Christmas · Drinking · Food · Friends · Life · Travel · UK

Flyin’ Home For Christmas

Hello! I’m sorry for the lack of posts in December – this was because last month I flew back to the UK to spend winter vacation with my family.

Are you even returning from Japan without bearing a bounty of Japanese KitKats?

Christmas Day as per was lovely and chill – my dad cooked as per, and my mam bought so much buffet food their fridge now makes a groaning noise when you try to close it.

On Boxing Day my sister’s boyfriend Calvin came over with a bottle of Asti and we played Mario Kart for hours.

My dad made my favourite dish of his – peri peri chicken with halloumi and sweetcorn fritters (which we ate catching up on Only Connect), I went to Starbucks with my mam and sister, played board games and video games with my sister and her boyfriend, went sales shopping with my mam, and had a cheeky Nando’s with extra cheeky on the side. (LADS LADS LADS!)

Cafe India in South Shields – my favourite curryhouse.
I had dhansak and she had korma – although korma is futile:
“Pete…are you eyeing up my bhunas?”

Indian food and a few too many glasses of wine with my best friend Claire.
I’ve missed Indian curry like nothing else, but my teacher friend has promised to take me to her favourite Indian restaraunt in Hamamatsu this month!

I also got to see her baby Ruby who has grown into a REET lil chunk in six months.
Claire actually text me this morning and told me she can not sit up by herself. It’s going to be strange to see her toddling about the next time I’m home!

June vs December. The cutest baby in Shields.

My favourite ice cream sundae from Minchella’s – I mean could I really have come home to South Shields and not had a Minchella’s? Thank you so much to Marie who treated me!!

The best burgers in Newcastle – Meat Stack, pints and a trip to our favourite drag bar Boulevard with my other best friend and head cheerleader Sam.

In between all this was just pure quality time with my family, and I’m so sorry to everyone I couldn’t get around to seeing!

New Years’ Eve was spent at my Uncle Paul’s as we do every year – I introduced the geriatrics (sorry) to Instagram filters, and we watched Craig David doing a really awkward DJ set.

The morning of New Years’ Day I flew back to Japan and I cried my eyes out.

I cried in the taxi, I cried in the airport and I cried when I bumped into my friend Rhiannah en route to some winter sun in Tenerife.

A tear-stained mess and Kween Rhi
I always order a ‘special meal’ on board – mostly because you’re guaranteed your preference and you are always served first!
British Airways’ vegan dinner was actually really good: sweet potato mash, bean stew and vegetables, salad with dressing, dried fruit, a fresh fruit plate and a roll with vegan butter. (The creamy pasta thing everyone else had looked RANK tbh.)
Lunch: spaghetti, vegetables, edamame in dressing and peach jelly.

I did struggle and have a wobble my first week back in Japan – for some reason it was much harder leaving after visiting, than leaving back in August. I think first time around I had so much to occupy my time – training, moving into my apartment, starting a new job, making friends etc.
But when I got back to Hamamatsu it was just me in my apartment for three days straight.

I’m doing MUCH better now though – I work best in a routine (I’m a Taurus!) and am getting back into the swing of life in Japan.

Anyways, I hope you all had a wonderful festive season whether you celebrated or just had a quiet one by yourself.

~ Carla