MAIL

VOCABULARY
seamail funabin
airmail kokubin
insurance hoken
books only insatsubutsu
small packet kogata hosobuttsu
   
PHRASES  
How much will it cost by airmail? Kokubin de ikura desu ka?
I'd like to insure this package. (Kono kozutsumi/ Kore) hoken o kaketai.

INFORMATION
Uninsured packages to the US under 2K/4.4 lbs and within certain sizes should cost 1080Y, unless they've upped the price.
Small packets require a green customs form only.
Small packet, books only packages require no customs form, but if they ask you to, just use it.
For insured items, you should fill out a white form; it has English instructions.
Be sure you pay for the insurance and get a little red sticker which says as much on your copy of the form.
Packages which are too big or heavy to be a small packet also use the white form.
For customs puropses, remember to stay under $400 per package.
Never put a letter inside a package, because they'll ask you if you have, and, if you have, you'll have to pay letter rate (read: an arm and a leg).

 

BANKING

foreign exchange gaikoku kawase
Is there a foreign exchange (in this bank)? Gaikoku kawase ga arimasu ka?*
I'd like to change dollars into yen. Doru o en ni kaeshitai/shitai.

Most foreign exchange clerks speak rudimentary English.
Once the forms are filled out, you might have to wait up to 30 minutes.
Banks are usually open from 8 or 9 until 3, weekdays only; be sure you won't be needing a bank over a weekend or a holiday.

* Phrases which would be more polite if begun with 'Sumimasen'.

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