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Expectations While In Transit

Items to Keep With You at All Times:

  • Passport
  • Airline Ticket
  • Money: cash and debit/credit cards
  • Phone numbers/addresses for the East Lansing JCMU office, the Center in Hikone, close friends, and family

On the Airplane:

The long flight across the Pacific is strenuous. The air is dry, and many people suffer from mild forms of dehydration, including irritated sinuses and throat. Drink lots of water or juice, but avoid stimulants (coffee or tea) and alcohol because these have a dehydrating effect. Keep throat lozenges handy. Chewing gum, mints or other small snack items also come in handy.

On the flight you will be asked to fill out a form which you will be handing in at Immigration Control upon landing. This form is the entry card and it can be confusing. It consists of two parts, a “Disembarkation Card for Foreigners” and an “Embarkation Card for Foreigners.” For the moment, fill out the “Disembarkation Card” only and leave the “Embarkation Card” blank. DO NOT SEPARATE THE TWO CARDS; the immigration officer will staple your “Embarkation Card” into your passport, for use when you leave Japan. If you have any questions, flight attendants are normally very happy to help.


Filling out the Disembarkation Card:

Fill in only the blocks inside the bold, black line. Write your “Family Name” and “Given Name” in the spaces provided; for “Nationality,” write “USA” or your home country; for “Date of Birth,” be sure to provide figures in the order specified (day, month, year). Give your home address, including street & number as well as city, state, zip and country. For “Occupation,” write “Student.” For your address in Japan, write “Japan Center for Michigan Universities, Hikone, Shiga.” After filling in your passport number, write in the name of the airline and flight number of the trans-Pacific flight. Your Port of Embarkation is the city where you boarded the trans- Pacific flight (for most students, Detroit). For “Purpose of Visit,” write “Study of Japanese language and culture” or other accurate description of your JCMU program.


Immigration Processing:

When you arrive at the airport in Japan, you will go through immigration. Here you should hand over the entry card that you received on the plane. Serious demeanor is called for whenever dealing with government representatives, especially in Japan. You will find that they take your entry into their country extremely seriously.

A new measure recently introduced by the Japanese government as terrorism prevention is the fingerprinting and photographing of all foreign persons entering Japan. All persons over the age of 16 are required to be fingerprinted and photographed.  Refusal to do so will result in denial of entry into the country.

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