Incoming JETs

Instructions: Switching a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license

A driver’s license issued by a foreign administrative office can be switched to a Japanese license (hereinafter referred to as “Gaimen Kirikae”) by applying to the Driver’s License Center. To apply for Gaimen Kirikae, applicants must fulfill the following two conditions:

  1. The applicant’s foreign driver’s license must be valid (expired licenses cannot be transferred).
  2. The applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the issuing country for at least three months in total after obtaining the license.

General Gaimen Kirikae procedure at the Driver’s License Center

  1. Submission of application documents →
  2. Aptitude test →
  3. Traffic rule knowledge check →
  4. Driving skill check (The applicant is asked to actually drive a vehicle at a course in the Driver’s License Center.) →
  5. Issuance of the Japanese driver’s license

*For information on the documents to be submitted, application fee and tests, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which the applicant resides.

About the Japanese Translation

One of the documents required when applying for Gaimen Kirikae is a “Japanese Translation of Foreign Driver’s License” issued by JAF. (Note that the Japanese Translation does not assure that the license will be switched. For the details of Gaimen Kirikae, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which you reside.)

You are requested to apply for the Japanese Translation through the Translation Office of your respective JAF branch. JAF may not, however, issue a translation of some foreign licenses. In addition to JAF, some foreign embassies and consular offices in Japan may issue the Japanese Translation of driver’s licenses.

Translation: A Japanese Translation of a foreign driver’s license is one of the documents required to switch a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license (Gaimen Kirikae), but it does not assure that the license will be switched. Whether your license is switched to a Japanese license or not is determined by each Driver’s License Center. For inquiries please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region where you reside in advance.

  • The fee for issuance of a Japanese Translation is 3,000 yen per license. An additional fee for return postage (including charge for service) 【500 yen】will be charged for applications via mail.The return postage (including charge for service) will be 500 yen for two translations and 600 yen for three or more translations in the case of sending to the same address if requesting translation of more than one license.
  • When applying via mail, the application must be sent from within Japan. In principle, the return address must also be the applicant’s address within Japan. However, if you wish to have the translation sent to a proxy’s address in Japan, place a check mark ( ) beside return address in the proxy section below.
  • In principle, the receipt will be sent to the applicant. However, if you wish to have it sent to a proxy (individual or company), place a check mark ( ) beside receipt address in the proxy section below.
  • We do not refund any fee for the issued Translation, even if your application to have your license switched is rejected by the license center.
  • Individuals who do not speak Japanese may be asked to bring an interpreter with them. When applying by mail, please fill in someone who speaks Japanese in the proxy section if possible.
  • We use your personal information provided in this form only for the purpose of issuing a Japanese Translation of your license to you properly.

KobeJET is an online resource for English teaching and living in Japan. The goal is to facilitate the sharing information pertinent to living and working in Japan, educational methods and lesson plans, and community engagement.

The KobeJET website was designed and built by Timbers Space web solutions. It is maintained and updated by Timbers Space's founder David Dowell, a former Kobe ALT and current acting webmaster.

The site represents an enormous amount of collaborative effort and donated time by a very large, dedicated team including, but not limited to: 

Cheyanne Bardsley, Kobe ALT 2014-2019

Rory Harnden, Kobe ALT 2010-2012

Camden McAllister, Kobe ALT 2014-2016

Tomohiro Nakamura, Kobe OTE

Tomoe Otani, Kobe OTE

Hannah Perry, Kobe CIR 2015-2016

Bailey Roberts, Kobe ALT 2015-2017

Ayumi Sawada, Kobe OTE

Joy Sung, Kobe ALT 2014-2018

Keiki Tada, Kobe OTE

Georgia Tate Troha, Kobe ALT 2015-2019

Isaac Tombleson, Kobe ALT 2016-2019

Tiffany Tomcal, Kobe ALT 2015-2019


If you know someone who is missing from this list, please contact us at!

Join the KobeJET website team!

Interested in becoming a contributor to our lessons one of our other resources? Helping with content moderation or translation? These are great opportunities to practice your editing or translation skills, and add professional, visible real-world experience to your resume.

Interested in marketing? We also need help expanding upon and building new English language and living in Japan partnerships, including backlinks and the option for building an ads component to help fund the site.

Are you a pro at social media engagement? Help us build KobeJET's social network presence on Facebook, Twitter, and others - getting the word out about our extensive collection of lessons and resources for the greater Japan ALT community and beyond!

If you're a current JET and would like to become involved with the site administration, responsibilities can be broken into a few categories.

  1. Content Contributor
    • Add new lessons, songs and lyrics, recommended locations and more
    • Translate lessons, etc. to Japanese to help these resources reach non-native English speakers
  2. General administration
    • Approve or remove new account requests
    • Let new JETs know about the site and how to set up an account/become involved
    • Update current JET/school lists as necessary
      • For JETs who have left, change role from "ALT" to "RALT" (Returned ALT)
      • Add/edit/remove any schools or school information that may have changed
  3. Content moderation
    • Manage (create/remove) announcements on the homepage with relevant news
    • Promote new lesson submissions among JETs and teachers
    • Encourage translation of lesson submissions to Japanese to help native Japanese teachers better access and use the resources.
  4. Longterm sustainability

Send us an email and get involved!

Japan Talk is a Japanese culture and travel guide. We love Japan more than 3 meals a day.

Fun, engaging methods to track students' progress and/or participation in class (i.e., usually via a sticker or stamp point system card).

Example downloadable reward systems.

Hello everyone, 

Many ALT(s) choose to move apartments during their time on JET. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the process and paperwork for moving out of Kobe city-arranged housing. Up until now, we've been sending the following information on an individual basis whenever we get notification that someone wants to move. If you do not live in Kobe city housing, you can disregard this message.

1.  As soon as you decide that you are going to move, please send an email to the CIR(s) letting us know. You can send this email without any additional information, just as a heads-up that you are planning to move.

2.  At least one month before you plan to move, send an email to the CIR(s) with your new address and the date you will vacate your UR apartment. We will then notify UR Linkage and start the one-month countdown. We cannot start the countdown without these two pieces of information. 

3.  At least two weeks before you plan to move, tell us the exact time of day that you're planning to vacate your current apartment. We will let UR Linkage know when they can come and pick up your rental items.

4.  At least two weeks before you plan to move, choose a day for your final inspection. Send the CIR(s) an email with three options, which should be days when you will be able to make it back to your apartment by 4:00pm. You should be mostly or completely moved out by the inspection day, and the apartment should be clean. The inspection must be on a weekday and you must be present.

5.  The week before you move, notify your utility companies of your move, if you are maintaining your accounts with them at the new place OR tell us what day and time of day you want utilities cut off (if you are starting new accounts at the new place).

6.  Notify your school, bank, post office, ward office, and any other services (internet, etc.) of your new address.

7.  Submit your Notification of Place of Residence form (blank copy on pg. 24 of your guidebook).

8.  Submit a new Commuting Route form (blank copy on pg. 22 of your guidebook).

9.  Make sure to take everything of yours with you, and leave all of the rental items behind in good condition. Turn off all gas taps and the electric breaker before leaving, and drop your keys in the door mailbox after locking the door for the last time.

10.  After you move, UR Linkage will conduct their own inspection of the apartment and assess any damages that might be present. Your deposit (less damages) will be returned to you via direct deposit. 

I hope that the above list makes the process of moving easier for anyone who is considering it. 

Thank you.

Shimane AJET is a group that is run by JETs, for JETs. We are not run by the PAs or any BoE but are 100% volunteer run and funded.  We are affiliated with, though not directly run by, National AJET.

Tofugu started out as a college course project in 2008. It was rooted as a Japanese language blog for English speakers. Over the years Tofugu began to find its niche and evolved into a full-time business.

Today there are two facets of Tofugu: the blog and the company.


Most people are familiar with our wonky Japanese language and culture blog, which is what you are seeing at this very moment.

We write about Japanese topics we're passionate about, so hopefully you like the same things we like. We also write about our travels in Japan, do reviews on products, write guides to help you with Japanese, and make videos too.


The other face of Tofugu is the company. We design Japanese language learning tools to tackle specific areas where people have difficulty.

There are many options to exchange money in and out of Japan. Better rates can usually be found upon arriving in a destination country when traveling. Airport rates can also usually be worse than exchanges one your pass through immigration, but this can depend upon the country and situation.

Feel free to include your personal experience with any countries you've travelled in!

A popular news source in Japan provided in English


Find a job. Search the largest English job board in Japan.


Speak and be heard. Study at one of our partner language schools.


Get great deals when travelling Japan with GaijinPot


Find your new home. Browse our listing of affordable apartments.

Let me introduce the Triage Triangle. This is a helpful tool in helping you decide who to ask for help. Don't be afraid to ever seek support, but it's important to be mindful of the people you are asking!

Triage triangle - who to call in an emergency


This Privacy Policy informs you what to expect in relation to personal information about you which is collected on, subdomains of, and websites operated or controlled by  ("our websites"), and how it is handled and processed. A full list of our current clients can be found at

For the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the data controller is Timbers Space ("Timbers Space", "us", "we").

We take your privacy seriously. We acknowledge and agree that any personal data of yours that we handle will be processed with great care and in accordance with all applicable data protection laws in force.

By visiting our websites, and, at your discretion, submitting forms available, you accept and consent to the practices defined in this policy. If you are under 16 years of age you must obtain parental consent before providing us with any personal information.

The information we collect

We collect personal data of our employees and potential employees, clients and prospective clients, suppliers, business contacts and website visitors.

This data may have been obtained either directly from you (for instance, by signing up for a newsletter or by requesting a quote) or indirectly from third parties such as public authorities, public websites and social media, affiliates, suppliers and vendors.

We may collect and process the following data:

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including: name, age, gender, email address, home address, phone number, marital status, religion, income, and education.
  • Other non-PII data that you voluntarily provide by filling in forms on our website. This includes, but not limited to subscribing to newsletters, registering for an event, downloading a white paper or an ebook, or requesting a quote.
  • If you contact us, we will keep a record of that correspondence.
  • Any comments or content that you post to our websites.
  • Our websites collect personal data about your computer, including your IP address, operating system and browser type, for analytics and optimisation purposes. We also collect details of your visits, the pages you visited, resources you access or download, including traffic data, location data, logs and other communication data.

How we use the information

The information we collect can be used to:

  • Manage our contractual relationship with you
  • Review and assess your job applications
  • Facilitate our communication with you.
  • Manage our business operations.
  • Comply with legal requirements.
  • Undertake data analytics and to improve your experience on our websites.
  • Fulfill your requests for white papers, ebooks, newsletters or similar content and other marketing purposes.
  • Meet your requests for information about our services
  • Notify you of changes to our services

Sharing Data with 3rd parties

Information we collect and receive may be disclosed to third parties in and out of the European Economic Area to the following categories of recipients:

  • To our professional advisors, service providers and vendors in connection with a (potential) corporate or commercial transaction.
  • To any competent law enforcement body, regulatory and government agency, court or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary (a) as a matter of applicable law, (b) to exercise, establish or defend our legal rights, or (c) to protect your vital interests or those of any other person.
  • To any other person with your consent to the disclosure.

How we protect the information

We protect your personal information in the same way that we protect other confidential information that we have access to. We use reasonable physical and technical safeguards to help prevent access by any unauthorized parties.

We will retain personal information for so long as reasonably needed by us to provide our Services. We may also retain and use such information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

We use third-party vendors to provide our services. Such vendors provide to us hardware, networking, software and storage. The facilities of these vendors may be located outside of the European Economic Area, and your data will be subject to their data security policies.

We have put in place procedures to deal with any personal information breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator should a breach occur, when legally required to do so.

Your rights

If your personal information is protected by EU data protection law, you have the following data protection rights which you may be able to exercise by contacting us using the contact information provided on our contact page:

  • The right to be informed - You have the right to be informed about the collection and use of your personal data
  • The right of access - You have the right to access their personal data.
  • The right to rectification - You have the right to have your inaccurate personal data rectified, or completed if it is incomplete.
  • The right to erasure - You have the right to have your personal data erased.
  • The right to restrict processing - You have the right to request the restriction or suppression of your personal data.
  • The right to data portability - You have the right to obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes across different services.
  • The right to object - You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances.
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling - You have the right to restrict or object to automated decision-making processes or profiling based on your PII data.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to modify or amend this Privacy Policy at our own discretion from time to time. The changes will be published on our websites. Your continued use of our websites constitutes your acceptance of those changes.

This version was last updated on June 7, 2018.

Here are some examples of how schedule changes are often written! For more details and a comprehensive glossary, take a look at the attached Word doc.

Some examples of how schedule changes are written:

10月11日(火) October 11 (Tuesday)
金の授業  Friday’s classes
10月11日 (火) October 11 (Tuesday)
45分ⅹ6P+30分 Six 45-minute periods, plus one 30-minute period
10月11日 (火) October 11 (Tuesday)
45分ⅹ6P 45-minute periods.
6P 「金1」 6th period is changed to Friday’s 1st period
10月11日 (火) October 11 (Tuesday)
45分x4P+50分x2P Four 45-minute periods and then two 50-minute periods
10月11日 (火) October 11 (Tuesday)
1年     月231645 1st years have Monday’s classes in the order of 2, 3, 1, 6, 4, 5.
2,3年 月234516 2nd and 3rd years have Monday’s classes in the order 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 6

Disclaimer 1: Having a phone in Japan is not required or reimbursed by the JET Programme, CLAIR, or the Guidance Division (GD). That said, although it may not be required by law or terms of appointment, is basically required by proper social convention. (Read: purchase a phone, please.) Having a phone is obviously helpful, and offers you many different types of communication, from calling plans to messaging apps like LINE. In fact, the GD does allocate a few hours of one day during your orientation for experienced ALT(s) to assist you with purchasing a phone.

Disclaimer 2: Aside form the initial allotted work time during orientation and Neighborhood Days, additional time will not be granted for the purpose of purchasing phones. With such limited time and the number of people involved, this process has to be exceedingly streamlined. Only a handful of models will be offered to incoming ALTs, dependent upon the phone company, branch, pricing, and availability. This information will be made clear to you upon arrival in Kobe. Out of respect for the shop staff and wonderful sempai helping you out, please have a clear idea of the phone plan and model before going in. If you are undecided, you will need to go back by yourself. You are free to explore any additional options during your own time - just be aware that ALT or language assistance may not be available.


Although experienced JETs are assisting you to the best of their ability by researching and securing deals with phone companies to provide you a convenient, affordable phone option - you are responsible for any and all commitments and responsibilities, including but not limited to: financing, payments, legal and/or identity considerations, and directly representing your sole person with all private Japanese companies, not on behalf or in connection with any other persons or entities, including but not limited to the Kobe Guidance Division, the Kobe City Board of Education School Education Division: Human Rights and International Education, and CLAIR.

For information on the current year's incoming JET's deals, please see below.


Incoming Kobe Jets!

Welcome from the Neighborhood Days cellphone team. Queenie and I have been researching and negotiating deals with cellphone and SIM card companies for you. The deals are with AU (cellphone company) and R Mobile (SIM card company).


The basics:

AU – 5GB / 5 minute calling per month, with a 2 year contract

                   IPhone 7 (128GB) - ¥8,490    (¥9,832 with home Internet)                *plus version +¥585/month

                   Galaxy S8 (SCV36)  - ¥9,954  (¥11,271 with home Internet)                 *plus version + ¥405/month


*Fees: Startup costs - ¥3,246 for the phone  (another ¥3,246 for the home internet)

          cancellation costs: ¥10,000 for early cancellation, as well as the remainder of the cost of your phone and the remaining monthly router fees (months times ¥1250)


Cashback: ¥22,000 - ¥10,000 on a prepaid credit card 10 days after signing (in the mail) + ¥1,000 every month on your prepaid card for 1 year.


R Mobile - 5GB (¥40/min calling) with a 1 year contract

            Cost: ¥2,322 / month + ¥100 / month bank transfer fee

            Fees: Start-up - ¥3,662 for SIM card and contract processing 

                      Cancellation: ¥10,584 for canceling your contract early

        *Please unlock your phone and check compatibility on the website below before coming to Japan:


        ***Please bring with you on the cellphone day: passport, alien residency card and

            a credit card (AU must, R Mobile helpful but not necessary)


Asahi Home Internet: (DIY) 

For SIM card users who would like home internet, Queenie recommends Asahi for their user friendly English website, check it out:


Asahi overview:  ¥3,078/ month, with a 1 year contract

                        fees: startup - ¥13,824 (¥3,000 1st month, the rest in ¥400 installments over 30 months)

                                 cancellation - ¥2,160 + remainder of installments

Fill out the survey below to let us know your intentions (AU/R Mobile + phone model and color) before coming to Japan. *AU says they have a lot of phones in stock, so if you change your mind it will probably be OK.


**Check Queenie's link below (or to the right?), for a break down in what the deals looks like**

If you still have any questions feel free to contact us via email, (Sarah), (Queenie)



Sarah Duncan & Queenie Hon

  1. Find the Fare Adjustment Machine near the gates. It should be yellow and say 乗り越し精算.
  2. If needed, press the "English" button to change languages.
  3. Insert your commuter pass in the upper left ticket slot. (Do this with any small ticket, magnetic ticket, or IC card.)
  4. The screen will indicate how much money you owe. ("~~円不足です")
  5. Insert bills and coins in the appropriate slots. BTW you can stack multiple bills!
  6. (If charging funds to an IC card, the screen will ask you if you need a receipt. 領収書あり=yes 領収書なし= no )
  7. The machine will then beep loudly to remind your senile ears not to forget your teiki, fare adjustment ticket, and change.
  8. Insert ONLY the fare adjustment ticket in the ticket gates, and you're free!

Attached is a link to a super-useful YouTube video made by Hanshin Railway.

Depending on what Internet Service Provider, or ISP (e.g., Softbank, Yahoo BB!, Docomo, etc.), you sign up with - you will most likely receive both a modem and router.

Both will need power and thus will have power cords to plug into outlets.

Modem - this is small box that will connect to your ISP through the telephone port in your house. It will have two ports on the back. You will need to find the telephone port in your house/apt and connect the modem with an RJ-11, standard telephone cable. The end of this cable should show 4 gold points of contact and will not be as wide as the ethernet cable.

Router - this box will have several ethernet ports on the back in addition to the "internet in" port. Most likely you won't use these ports as WiFi is most commonly used to connect these days, but the multiple ports make it easier to distinguish. You will connect the router to your modem with an ethernet cable (or 10baseT, commonly Cat8 cable) - this looks like a phone cable, but is slightly thicker, and has 8 gold points of contact.

Once both boxes are connected and powered on, wait for the modem connection and router internet lights to stay green.

At this point your instructions may vary slightly, but usually you will be able to check your router box for an network ID name and an "SSN" (or sub-system number) and password. You should be able to find the router's name in your list of available WiFi connections, and then connect using the SSN and password provided on the box.

From here, depending on the instructions provided by your ISP (somewhere in the packet of papers you received) you will either need to:

  • Navigate to a special, non-www internet address such as http*://, and enter your internet account ID and password to connect.
  • Access your router settings via the provided router IP (internet protocol) number that should be something like http*:// or http*://, etc. Then you will need to find the internet connection tab within your router settings (usually an ISP-specific user interface), and enter your account ID and password to connect.

Note: Remember to include the http:// at the beginning of either address as neither are www (worldwide web) addresses that most browsers are set to navigate to by default.

Attached  is a  Quick start up guide on how to Open a file in PS, set it up to work with, and save the file after the image is edited.

There is also a brief breakdown of recommended Adobe programs.

This document also contains helpful links to free tutorials and websites that can help you become the PS master you have always wanted to be.

Finally there is a guide on how to download and install custom Actions to your Photoshop program that will enable you to edit your images with a simple click of the mouse.

神戸市情報教育基盤サービス  (こうべしじょうほうきょういくきばんサービス) Kobe city Information Infrastructure service For education

These are the spirit animals for the varying ALT years during your stay with JET!

[Rab*bit] n. 1st year JET. seen everywhere; bright eyed, high spirited.

[Ta*nu*ki] n. 2nd year JET. cunning, wary of youth; beware their new sempai status.

[Pan*da] n. 3rd year JET. comfortable, astute; play their cards close to their chest.

[Owl] n. 4th year JET. wise, watchful, reflective; can be a great ally.

[U*ni*corn] n. 5th year JET. proud, rarely seen, an enigma; magic rainbows.


Related: Can order shirts through Zazzle at this link here.

Your contracting organization is Kobe City Board of Education, School Education Division, Human Rights and International Education. In Japanese, that would be 神戸市 教育委員会事務局 学校教育部学校教育課 人権・国際教育担当

Anyone you would need to communicate with about work-related matters or send paperwork to is located in the Guidance Division, which is in City Hall, Building 3, Floor. Both of your CIR/Prefectural PAs work here along with your Japanese PA.

When you arrive at Narita Airport, many of you will choose to ship your luggage ahead to Kobe City. Although you do not have to pay anything upfront, you will be billed about a month later. You will be expected to pay via "furikomi" or bank transfer.

Things get complicated, since your new JP Yucho Bank accounts will not be eligible for furikomi at Yucho ATMs until they are older than 6 months. However, it is possible to use ATMs from other banks. These ATMs operate primarily in Japanese (it is unlikely that English is an option for furikomi), but hopefully the guide attached below will help you navigate through this process.

Here's a useful link with information detailing other types of transactions as well (Japanese only) -

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