I bet some of you may have seen your friends in Japan, posting insta-story of receiving boxes of Japanese Amao strawberries for FREE, hash-tagging #Furusatonozei and wondering how you can sign up for it? Not only that, maybe some of them posted pictures of Kobe beef, sacks of freshly harvested rice, mouthwatering huge scallops, or even the famous samurai swords Japanese knives!

So what’s the hoo-ha about FurusatoNozei/ Hometown Tax?

Simply put, it is a tax scheme that converts parts of your residential tax to the rural governments. So instead of paying tax to your residential area, say Tokyo Ota-ku, your tax money goes to a small town in Kagoshima, for example, as you apply for goods from that area. With the same amount of tax money you need to pay, you get gifts produced locally in return, for supporting the rural communities in Japan, they get tax money from taxpayers living in other parts of Japan. It’s a win-win!

And yes, foreigners living in Japan ARE ELIGIBLE to apply for it!

"Say no more, how do I sign up for it?", one may ask.

Here are three simple steps:

1. Calculate how much you can “donate”.

There are many websites for it, you can simply google “furusato nozei calculator”.

Simply insert the following items and the amount of tax money that you are eligible for

the furusato nozei scheme will be calculated!(See Figure 1)

  1. Annual salary amount

  2. Marital status

  3. Dependents

Figure 1. Furusato Tax Calculator

2. Shopping time!

With the amount computed from step 1, you know how much to “spend” beforehand.

There are several websites for it but one I’d recommend is Rakuten, as you can redeem

points from your shopping ;)

Link: tinyurl.com/yfhqoe8c

Figure2-7. Simple Shopping Guide Using Furusatonozei

3. Tax Filing

Here comes what many people may think as the tedious part.

  1. If your company does your tax filing for you You would want to apply for one-stop exception system, when you do the shopping, as shown in figure 4. However there are two conditions for the system:

  2. Annual income not exceeding 20 million yen

  3. Donate to no more than five municipalities in one year

The application form for “one-stop exception system” will be mailed to you by the

municipality to which the donation was made, together with a “Certificate of

Receipt of Donation”. You will need to return the mail with a copy of the special

application form and My-Number card to the municipality to which you are

donating, by Dec 31st for the tax exemption for the following year.

b. If you do your own tax

You first do your hometown tax donation and then claim back what you donated

later for the following year.

Besides donating to multiple municipalities. you can also choose the causes to which your tax money contributes to, as shown in Figure 3! Why not make use of this system and redeem the rare products from certain regions for free? You may thank me later ;)

For more info, here are some cool sites you might want to check out:






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On Friday, March 12, 2021, Osaka Koritsu [Public] University announced a decision to change its English name from “University of Osaka” to “Osaka Metropolitan University.”

Our university’s official English name is "Osaka University"; however, as “University of Osaka” had already been used as a synonym for “Osaka University” overseas, we asked Osaka Koritsu University to reconsider the English name for the university that they had announced last year. We were concerned about the possibility that the name they had announced might cause confusion among researchers and students overseas and cloud the futures of the two universities.

Osaka University is deeply grateful for Osaka Koritsu University's deliberate decision to reconsider and change its English name. On the occasion of this announcement, Osaka Koritsu University and Osaka University have agreed to discuss the conclusion of a comprehensive cooperation agreement and aim at building a successful partnership.

We are delighted that this issue has been resolved in a favorable manner in which both universities have agreed to promote their global development and deepen mutual understanding moving forward.

Osaka University once again expresses its sincere appreciation for your understanding and support.

NISHIO Shojiro Osaka University President

Source: Osaka University Website

Link: https://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/news/topics/2021/3/20210312001

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It's said the temple is the place of origin of the famous Japanese beckoning cat "maneki neko" that many of us got used to seeing in front of Japanese shops. There is a belief that "maneki neko" brings in customers and money.

There are many legends regarding this temple built back in the 14th century, but my favorite one is about the feudal lord who passed by the temple and was beckoned by a cat. Eventually, he followed the cat and decided to stay in the temple.

Following years, there had been a fire in the temple caused by a thunderstorm. The lord was so thankful to the cat and the temple that sheltered him in the past so he decided to collect enough funds and afterwards rebuild the temple. The lord claimed it as his family property and later the temple was called Gōtokuji.

People believe that "maneki neko" makes their dreams come true so they started bringing cat dolls into the temple. Nowadays, there are over 1000 cat dolls in Gōtokuji.

The temple is large, but the designated place for cat dolls, actually in a very hidden corner. Do not worry, you’ll find it easily as you notice everyone goes in the same direction.

Have you been there? Would you like to go to cat heaven in Japan?

Author: Hagverdiyeva O.

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