Hello everyone! I am all moved and settled. I must say that my new apartment is a serious upgrade from the old one!! I might post up some pictures later. It is a 7.5 tatami size in the main room. I also have a door separating the room from the front half of the apartment. So my kitchen is separate. I also have the toilet separate from the shower/bath so it's no longer this tiny cramped space.
Moving overall was not necessarily hard, but it was time consuming. First off, my company had to reserve the moving service. I forgot which one they used, but I still needed to fill out some paperwork beforehand. You can do this online initially, and we did it the week before I moved. You fill out the basic information, name, old address, new address, what floor your apartment is on, etc. Then there is a long checklist of items that you need to check. You do not need to be exact, but it is best to be as accurate as possible, because this affects the truck size they bring, manpower, and of course, cost. The list consists of furniture items, appliances, suitcases, boxes, etc. Once I guess-timated (is that even a word?) the amount of stuff I had (this was done before I had finished packing, so I estimated a box higher to be safe), they submitted the paperwork. What followed were a bunch of emails confirming information, etc. Initially I was supposed to move Friday the 23rd, but since it was a national holiday, the cost was high, so they switched it to the following Monday (it probably ended up the same because it was pouring rain, which adds to the cost). Of course, my company handled all of the actual communication with the movers, but I did take a look at the correspondence and it seemed pretty straightforward. Once that was fixed, my manager took care of getting my utility bills for November mailed to the new address and then we played the waiting game. On Friday I ended up picking up the key and going to the apartment, so that they could come turn on the gas. Aki was with me, but I understood the man's simple instructions about the gas for the most part, so I would say if you have a good understanding of basic Japanese, you could survive that alone (I actually had to have the gas turned on at the old place with just me, and it was fine). I spent the rest of the weekend packing. Monday came and I went and met my manager at the station so he could help me out. The mover arrived and it was just him and a small truck. Getting everything out took about an hour and a half, but he was very good about covering appliances with blankets etc. It didn't start raining hard until we left. So the mover drove off and we were to meet him at the new place. So we hopped on the train and made our way to the new house. The mover showed up, and we put everything in the apartment. It actually took less time, since the guy didn't need to figure out how to fit stuff in his truck. Once everything finished, he gave us the bill. The guy went on and apologized that he had to charge us extra, but because of the heavy rain there was an inclement weather fee. Lucky me, I didn't have to do the actual paying, but it was cheaper than I was expecting. I would say it costs the same in the states, considering amount of stuff I had.
The downside of moving was it was just tiring. After that was all done, however, I still had to go to the ward office. The ward office was one station away and about a five minute walk. Foreigners have to notify their ward offices within two weeks of changing addresses. It's the law and if you don't do it, I believe they can deport you if they figure it out. If not deportation, then some sort of hefty fine. You don't need to actually go to the booth for foreign residents. You just go the 'Change of Address' station and hand them your Gaijin/Residence Card (depending on which one you have. I still have the old one), and something proving your change in address (a bank statement, phone bill, something). I brought the paper that Docomo gave me when I went to change my address and that was enough. I brought my passport to be safe, but I didn't need it. It took about ten minutes, but they gave me back my card with my new address typed out on the back of it and stamped. I also learned about getting the new Residence Card.
Some people, including myself, think you do it at the ward office. NO. You have to go to an Immigration Office. I asked about it while I was at the ward office and they gave me a nice paper telling me about three immigration offices in the 'area' that I could go to. There is one in Kawasaki, Shinagawa, and Yokohama. Of course, they all are out of the way and kind of annoying to get to, so I've decided to wait a little longer to change my card over. One other thing I did while I was there was purchased a paper version of my Gaijin card. Why on earth would I spend ¥300 to get this? Well, if something happened and I lost my Gaijin card and passport, I wouldn't have any proof of residency at all. This piece of paper is my backup just in case something should happen where I loose both (which I hope never happens). It basically just says your name, address, and age, but the most important this it has is your residency status. I had one already, but with the old address, so I got another one.
And that was the end of moving.