Thursday, March 12, 2015

Japanese Taxes From Scratch

This morning I paid our Japanese taxes. I never stop being amazed that handing over a huge stack of cash at the post office is such a normal thing. Or that you can withdraw so much money from an ATM to begin with.

This year John and I did our taxes on our own, following last year's return (prepared by an accountant) as a guide. It took the better part of an afternoon, but at the end of it we felt so accomplished. It's a fairly straight forward process, I think that American taxes are a lot more complicated, but of course it helps if you can read Japanese. The form itself is in Japanese, but we had instructions in English, plus John's reading ability and the google translate app on my phone which can scan and translate text at least passably well (a recent amazing discovery - all thanks to Raku!) 

I remember our first year here taxes weren't being withheld and we were so stressed out, trying to estimate how much we should be saving ourselves. We used this tax calculator as a guide, and it was a huge relief when it turned out to be pretty accurate.

The funniest part about preparing our own taxes came when we discovered that rather than providing an addressed envelope there was a large piece of paper that we were supposed to cut out and assemble ourselves. Who knew tax time would turn into craft time? Good thing we had a glue stick lying around.

In better news, the sun has come back after too many gray days, flowers are blooming everywhere, and the weather is slowly warming up. The official cherry blossom forecast says that they will start in Tokyo two weeks from today, but a few of the early blooming trees are already in blossom. I'm so excited to share this magical time of year with my sister!

Gluing up our tax envelope
The cherry blossom marketing is back
Okame Sakura - one of the early blooming varietals 
Pastel sunset over Roppongi and Azabu Juban

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