Ultimately, up to two suitcases, but that's no fun. I'm going to talk about how I'm going to pack my life into one or two suitcases and what ends need tying before leaving the country for a (n perhaps indefinitely) long time.
You really don't know how much stuff you have until you have to move
Stuff has a way to naturally settle into every nook and cranny in your house. I live in about 500 square feet with maybe 10 pieces of furniture in total. I came here with a bedroom set, my clothing, my computer, and my television. Over the years I picked up living room and kitchen furniture. Pair that with the stuff that gets stored under the bed and in the closets and suddenly you realize what you've accumulated.
I'm faced with a bit of a challenge since I have to first move all my belongings to my parents place, then move to Japan from there. It's kind of a blessing in disguise since it gives me a place to store some of the things I either can't bring, or may want to bring later (like my workstation). Given the circumstances, I'm just giving away my furniture to whoever wants it (yeah, if you're reading this and want something, get in touch).
So what does that leave me with?
- I have to be careful with sizing there
- Shoe sizing over 10 can be difficult to come by in retail stores. With the advent of online shopping (and how popular it is in Japan), this may be a non-issue
- Do I need all of my winter coats and winter wear? Winter isn't as cold in Osaka as it is in Toronto, but it's still not exactly warm1
- Japan actually has four seasons, unlike Toronto's two
- Laptop - this is where I'll primarily work
- Tablets - more than one. Four, actually, though they all have a designated use
- Router - absolutely necessary for a connected lifestyle
- Android TV (ADT-1) - not sure if I'll have a television there, but this thing replaces a set-top box and is so small, so I'm bringing it nonetheless
- Pots and pans - I've been told these things can be expensive in Japan
- Utensils - just to be safe I'll bring one or two sets of the essentials
- Knife - bringing my chef's knife, urgently needs some sharpening so it probably doesn't need any special handling
- Coffee press - no idea how to transport a hollow, glass vessel safely. Maybe I'll stuff it with coffee, socks, or something else to give it a bit of structural integrity
- Certain toiletries like antiperspirant can be hard to come by
- Stationery - my notebooks and pens. Essential for work, study, and occasional thought doodling
- Cash - initial payments for everything are going to be cash-only until I can open a bank account in Japan
Air Canada has decent baggage allowance for flights to Asia. Two suitcases should be adequate.
There are some things I can't bring, though
Not the obvious stuff like furniture, but intangible things. These things are going to have to stay here in Canada.
- Cellphone plan - sorry WIND, but I'm finally giving you and my old-ass number up
- Additionally, my Nexus 6 warranty only works in Canada, but Google Support let me know they may also honour it in Japan, though I hope it never comes to that!
- Internet plan - TekSavvy, you've been wonderful, but having a fibre line in Japan will make me forget you quickly. SmartRG SR505N modem + router combo up for grabs at the end of August
- Bank accounts - they'll stay alive, but some accounts require regular activity, minimum balances, etc. These might be hard to maintain while not having access to a domestic ATM
- Possible to combat this by opening up a joint account with someone in Canada. They'll also be able to deposit any of my cheques that happen to end up in their hands
- Ugh, how am I going to buy so much Yen?
- Don't forget to tell your banks about the move, but it seems RBC doesn't need to know this anymore2
- It's important to have both Cirrus and Plus capable cards since Japan has had some troubles with foreign cards recently3
Updates to come
I've only thought of these things so far. I'm sure once I start packing for my flight in September I'll have a few more things to list. I also want to take a chance to note everything I pack, and how it's packed (kind of like the first photo in this post). Can't wait.
Japan Post Bank international ATM service http://www.jp-bank.japanpost.jp/en/ias/eniasindex.html ↩