Visa’s Guide to Japan for Expats

By Sergio Lombardi

Typically, when folks think of Visa, they think of a handy piece of plastic that resides in your wallet or purse. In my case, it becomes especially useful when you go to restock your spice cabinet and, once at the store, realize you only have three hundred yen in cash on your person. Visa, however, wants to make itself more useful than this, and not just to anyone, but specifically us Japan expats. They recently published The Expat’s Guide to Japan, which is designed as a guide for, well, expats living in Japan (the titles of Visa’s guides are more straightforward than their credit card statements). It can be found and downloaded for free here on their website.

The guide provides some pretty handy tips, and is perhaps the most inclusive source of all the websites we’ve reviewed so far on the Japan Blog Review. There are extensive chapters devoted to anything and everything you might need to know when moving here – down to what your gas bills will look like, or the details of car ownership in Japan, and even a decent guide to Japanese cuisine (my favorite section, of course). The guide is about ninety-five pages in length and contains a great deal of relevant information.

Of course, while the book is a guide, it is also an advertisement. Visa is sure to let you know who and what will accept their credit card, and there are occasional pages dedicated to a specific company’s wares. Visa tends to, of course, favor those who accept their card over those who do not. This is fine and certainly reasonable, but don’t go into this guide expecting the same unbiased experience you would get from purchasing a guidebook on your own.

Overall, though, it’s a good start and a nice gesture by Visa. The constant Visa motif and advertisement are tiresome but certainly don’t detract from the guide, and the information itself is applicable and can be put to good use whether you’re living here already or are getting ready to move. I’d say Visa has earned themselves a thumbs-up.

Ciao,
S. Lombardi

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~ by Japan Blog Review on September 5, 2010.

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