An unfortunate surprise

Am I never free of Atsugi?!? It seems that the longer I stay here, the more things I need to do. Can't wait to be back on my bicycle again..

I finally organized my heavy luggage, threw away a lot of old clothes and went to the post office to send my stuff back to Holland. Note for people in similar situations: if you send by SAL it takes 2-3 weeks (but probably less) and is fairly cheap, but EMS takes one week and is more expensive. Here's the nag: SAL only accepts luggage up two 20kg, whereas EMS accepts up to 30kg for one piece of luggage. If you have a suitcase heavier than 20kg you're stuck with the expensive option. Fortunately my suitcase was exactly 21kg, and after removing a heavy coat I was able to send it by SAL for 10.000 yen less. That's nice savings!

Feeling happy about saving some money I skipped and whistled towards the city hall to ask if there was anything else to finish up. As usual, I have done no research on this topic whatsoever, and I kind of forgot to let the city know that I hadn't been living in Atsugi for the past two months. I explained my situation to a friendly person there, who told me there was nothing for me to do, just at the moment of leaving the country to mention at the immigration at the airport that I won't be coming back. Fairly easy, right? Then the nice friendly person told me to go to the second floor and ask at the tax counter if there was anything else for me to finalize. The tax counter was a very friendly pretty lady, who kindly presented me with a smile and a request to pay two hundred fifty thousand yen.

Uh, what? Did I miss something here? Here I thought I was being nice and all, formally finalizing my stay in Japan by deregistering myself from the city hall, and they present me with a bill of 250.000 yen (~2000 euro btw)? That's not very nice. When I asked about the how and why, the nice happy lady turned evil and started spouting many long and complicated Japanese words that I didn't at all understand. Finally I managed to get the gist of it, and it seems that usually the company pays the tax, but since I quit my job now I have to pay it myself. And not just the tax since I quit my job, all the tax from this year and last year as well. Argh. Feeling doubtful about paying such a large amount of money I asked an acquaintance to confirm it, but haven't received a reply yet. I'm going to gather a bit more information before settling this..

Right now I'm wishing that my Japanese skill was higher. Then I would be able to read Japanese websites much faster, and I would be able to read the pamphlets that I got from the city hall about taxes. With my current skill I'm just lacking information and running into surprises like this is not helping my morale a lot. I'm guessing it'll take at least 2 more years before I'm able to read and understand tax-related legalese in kanji, though...

Posted in Japan , Spirit of Japan