In Canada, we barely use ATM (automated teller machines -- what you use to get at your money) anymore because almost all stores accept debit. Every bank card is a debit card, so you can use your bank cards to make purchases. This means that you can use your money any old time of the day or night. But even if you need to actually get some cash in your hand, the ATMs are open 24 hours, so you can make withdrawals and deposits whenever you need to.
As you may have noticed, this is not the case in Japan. Not only are debit cards rather unpopular, the ATMs seem to need to get a full 12 hours sleep every day. I will never understand why a machine has to be off for the night. Are they afraid someone will try to break into the machine? If this were likely at all, it would happen a lot more in Canada and the US.
Anyway, as I am not likely to win a battle with the Japanese banking system, I thought that I would let you know one way to get a bit more access to your money. It will cost you extra (of course), but at least you will be able to get your money in a pinch.
There is a company called Enet that places ATMs in certain convenience stores. There are 9 such machines in Tsukuba and 6 in Tsuchiura. The full information can be found on Enet's website (http://www.enetcom.co.jp/), but unfortunately it is only in Japanese. I will give you a brief summary of the Tsukuba locations:
Family Mart (Sakaimatsu, Matsunoki, Kamiyokoba, Omonoi); Ministop (Kurihara, Koyadai, Imagashima); Seven Eleven (Azuma); Sunkus (Azuma).
Be aware that these machines are not open 24 hours. The hours of operation depend on the bank (if you can believe it). The banks that are online at Enet include Joyo, Tokyo Mitsubishi, Mizuho, Chiba, etc. There are 23 banks in total. To give you an example of the hours, Joyo funds can be accessed from 7am to 11pm on weekdays, and 9am to 7pm on weekends. There are, of course, service fees involved, so it's better to use these machines only when you really have to.
The International Women's Network (IWN) is a group of women who enjoy chatting with people from all over the world. We hold a monthly potluck dinner where we exchange information about the local community while eating a variety of foods. No reservation is needed to attend the potluck. Just bring one dish of food and show up at the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the international city of Tsukuba with us!
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