IMG Global Travel Insurance Review – STAY THE FUCK AWAY

So, it’s time to get real with you guys for a sec. I know this isn’t as light a topic as I usually try to tone this blog to, but this time, please let me warn you about this fraud travel insurance I came across.

I figured I would need some precautionary health insurance during my 3 months abroad in Japan. And so per recommendation from my current American health insurance consultant, I went with IMG Global (International Medical Group).


During the beginning of my stay here, I had a few health issues that worried me. Namely, a travel diarrhea that evolved into severe constipation and an inability to sleep and eat (I know; I should’ve drank more water on the plane and ate more yogurt, but now is not the time for regrets).

My wonderful boyfriend took me to see a doctor, who took some blood and prescribed me with some drugs. Here, I paid everything out of pocket, because the doctor wouldn’t accept the IMGLOBAL ID CARD that was issued to me.

In the mean time, I sent IMGlobal a quick email, asking a few tips on how their file claim system works, to which I received their reply WE CAN’T FIND your information. PLEASE RESPOND WITH YOUR CERTIFICATE NUMBER, INSURED ID NUMBER, AND ITS EFFECTIVE DATE AND EXPIRATION DATE.

That’s a lot of information to NOT HAVE on your client, but okay, resent them the email with all those little information bits they were unable to find. Finally got a response after a few days.

Here’s where shit gets really dicey.

After I was feeling a bit better, I sent in my claim on their useless-ass website on January 14th. They told me they would let me know once my claim went through the Claims Department.


I checked the website TWO MONTHS later, just to see if the claim actually went through.

It did. I was NEVER INFORMED by IMGlobal. And it said on the website that they had DENIED MY CLAIM. They would cover $0 of my $80.17. News to me.

I have a right to submit an appeal, but on the “Submit Appeal” website, NO CONTACT INFORMATION OR DIRECTION WAS GIVEN.

I immediately send them a very polite email to the generic address I had been using, telling them that I NEVER RECEIVED A DENIAL LETTER, and ultimately asking why they had denied me (as I have the right to submit an appeal). I gave them the claim reference number, I gave them my ID number, and asked for a prompt response.

THREE DAYS LATER (March 6), I got a response (their responses, in general, are VERY SLOW, usually DAYS OR WEEKS LATER):

“Unfortunately we are not able to locate the claim in question. Please provide us with a screen shot of your online account so we can research this further for you.”

What the fuck.

I send them screenshots, I send them doctor’s receipts. I send them all my original documentation I had originally posted on their website, all in attachments on my response email. (March 9)

I get a response (March 12), saying “An Explanation of Benefits, detailing claim determination and/or additional information required, will be sent to the address on file and will become accessible online, once processing is complete.”


IMG is a THIEF, is NOT COMMITTED to its clients, and when you google it, just look under the comments sections to find more horror stories. One guy actually wrote that his wife got hit by a car and IMG didn’t pay a penny!!

I’ve been had. And it’s a really, REALLY annoying feeling. So from here on out, I guess I’ll try harder not break an arm or something while I’m out here, because you can bet your bottom dollar, that I’ll be paying for it ALL OUT-OF-POCKET, NO THANKS to IMGlobal.

Needless to say, I’ll be writing an email to my American insurance consultant shortly upon my return to the States, asking her NOT to recommend this joke company to anyone else. Buyers and international travelers, please be warned.


How to Search for a Japanese Drama on the Vast World Wide Web

So I just got done watching a pretty decent mystery drama today on WOWOW called 伝説の監察医 オニグマの事件簿2 (Densetsu no Kaisatui, ONIGUMA no Jikenbo 2). It was super enticing, had a lot of great plot-twists (that my Agatha Christie junkie sister probably could’ve spotted way earlier than me), and a few of the actors were overall really good at their jobs, I thought. I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you’re interested in some entertaining detective suspense, I recommend giving it a shot.

But here’s where you’re like, “Runa, getoutta of tooown! This show is being aired right now in Japan! If it’s not on my Netflix or Youtube (or Piratebay), then how am I supposed to find it on the vast world wide web?!!”

Let me introduce you to the keywords for your Google search engines:
動画まとめ (douga matome)

Simply insert the name of the “in-Japan-only” show you wanna watch, in this case:
“伝説の監察医 オニグマの事件簿2”
Then add:
“伝説の監察医 オニグマの事件簿2 動画まとめ”

If you’re not comfortable with typing it out, remember; copy/paste is your friend. Do not be ashamed to use the copy/paste.

Here, I’ll just take a few quick screenshots to help you get started. I start off on Google. Which has an awesome Winter Paralympics animation going on right now, btw.


And here’s where the monotony begins. Just like those familiar with googling something like, “Walking Dead Season 1 watch online” (for those still following Walking Dead, that is), you’ll probably know and love this tedious step of going through website after website (hopefully with Deep Freeze on your computer to avoid viruses and other internet nasties) until you find a mirror that works. The internet is vast. Tread carefully.

This time, I got extremely lucky and found a vid on my second try:


And fellow Japanese study-ers, break out that dictionary, flashcards, notebooks, and whatever else you use to build vocabulary, because yes, it’s movie time!

In general, I have a lot of luck using this website:


It’s mainly sorted by date when the TV show was aired, which I’m sure is great if you use a schedule (I don’t), but if not, there’s also a handy-dandy search engine for you to use, too.

I hope this helps, you fellow drama watchers, you! Happy and safe googling out there!

Laundry in Japan: the Hitachi NW-6MY Washing Machine

Hello, all! I hope you’ve been doing lots of things that make you happy. What’s one thing that makes me happy? (Don’t laugh.) Doing laundry.

As you’ve probably already guessed, doing laundry in Japan is very different from laundry in America, but not by much. My apartment doesn’t have its own drier, meaning I gotta go oldschool and hang my stuff outside on the balcony to dry. Which is fun and meditative, actually. Especially looking out over the nice, city view I have here on the 8th floor. Or especially while listening to music, or the TV on in Japanese for extra listening practice.

I want to introduce you to my meditative process that is laundry out here in Osaka.

The washing machine I have in my apartment is a Hitachi NW-6MY, so this tutorial will be showcasing this guy.

He’s a good, hard-working washing machine. 10/10 washing machine.

The Process:

After tossing all (or most, whatever fits) of your laundry in the machine, it’s detergent time. I love the Ariel detergent; it has a distinct, fresh scent about it, and it’s mega affordable, too. Another cool thing with Ariel is that after buying a bottle, you can then follow up with buying bagged refills, which are nice and cheap.

For the Hitachi NW-6MY, you’re gonna put the detergent in this little slot here.

Then it’s time to start the machine! You’re gonna want to press Power Supply On (電源:切/入), and there should be a ding and the lights should come on the left side. Then hit the Start button (これっきりボタン:スタート/一時停止), and you’re good to go.

A quick explanation from the left:


Water Amount (水量), Wash (洗い), Rinse (すすぎ), Dehydration (脱水), Water Drain (お湯取). For 9 minutes, it will Wash. For 2 cycles, it will Rinse. Then for 6 minutes, it’ll do a Dehydration cycle, not unlike the American machines I used back in Illinois.

Sometime during the 2 Rinse cycles, however, here’s where I pause the machine to get my Laundry Softner in. The Pause button (これっきりボタン:スタート/一時停止) is the same as the Start button. Quick note: the Hitachi NW-6MY has an automatic lock everytime you close the door of the machine. So depending on the timing of the cycle, it might be locked, but just be patient, and it’ll unlock.

For softener, I use Laundrin’ Tokyo Laundry Softener. As much as I hate to admit it (my boyfriend kind of hooked me to this), it really does help get the extra smell out. Especially after the wonderful boyfriend had done some running or had futsal practice sometime during his day.

Again, the same place you put your detergent, just pour this stuff in there too. The amount doesn’t have to be precise.

Once the laundry’s done, the washing machine beeps a few times, letting me know I gotta take that stuff out to dry. This is the most time-consuming part, but depending on the weather, this is also my favorite and most meditative.


Also, see this cute, pink cat towel I got there? “It’s TAACHAN!” I bought this at my local Loft at Umeda, Osaka. It was on sale. I couldn’t resist Taachan. I found the link, in case you want to check out some more Taachan specials. ロフト・ターチャン検索

And now, enter the one-question Q & A session!

Q: Does laundry need to be done every day?
A: Almost every day for me, but definitely depends on the family, the size of their house, and size of their washing machine. I have a few working theories on this one, but here are my two-cents. First, the Japanese washing machines are a lot smaller than the American-made ones. Meaning that there’s only so much laundry that can fit. Meaning that it needs to be done a lot more often.

Second, because the laundry needs to be hung up outside, it usually takes up to a full day to get dry, wearable clothes, amiright? But depending on the weather or overall humidity, it can take longer, amiright? Meaning that they’ll be taking up limited space on the highly-limited balcony (or in and hung up around the limited space in my house), on limited drying racks, with limited clips and limited hangers. Meaning that doing laundry in advance is always a good move, anyway, so the new dirty stuff isn’t waiting around for space to open up.

Third, not all Japanese households do this (some of my host families did, but others didn’t), but after showering, my boyfriend uses his towel once and then immediately throws it in the wash. I prefer to hang mine up to dry and then use it the next day (I mean, how dirty can it get?), but regardless, and needless to say, with a towel-usage style such as this one, laundry tends to pile up really quick. Even with just two people in a tiny apartment.

Anyway, those are my two cents worth. I hope I was able to give you a peek into the laundry world of Japan with the Hitachi NW-6MY. Thanks for reading, I know this one was a long one.


Japanese Facial Cleanser and Exfoliator Recommendation – A review

Although this seems like a weird first post, the occasion is this: I ran out of my American-bought Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which means, YES I GET TO TRY SOME ASIAN CLEANSERS (CHEAP, while they’re non-imported) while I’m out here in Osaka.

Also, before I begin, I’m just gonna say this; if you ever come across these products at Mitsuwa (our local Japanese supermarket here in the suburbs of Chicago), don’t bother buying them there. Because they’re imported, you can bet your bottom dollar that the prices have been UPPED by 2x or 3x the price. (I’ve seen the Cure Natural Aqua Gel for $40+ there!) So, save your money, time, and gas, and shop online. :> Thank you.

My new (and highly improved since Cetaphil) cleanser recommendation is Senka Perfect Whip.

It’s advertised as a cleanser and moisturizer. This stuff goes on MEGA-smooth and really helps to get off excess makeup and extra oily patches. For those blessed with dry, oily combination skin (such as myself), I notice that it really takes the oily edge off at the end of the day, without completely drying it out. Thus, the skin suuuuper soft afterwards. I imagine that if I had a Clarisonic, this would be a really nice cleanser to apply to the brush to wash~ And a gigantic plus, it’s only around $5. YUS. SENKA パーフェクトホイップ

The second recommendation of mine is not a cleanser, persay, but this time, an exfoliator: Cure Natural Aqua Gel.

I’ve been using this one for a few years now, because it is just wonderful. You apply it to dry skin, rub in circular motions, and viola, watch the literal dead skin just pile up on your fingertips. I notice that if I repeat this twice, then less (or most times, no) dead skin piles up, meaning that yes, it IS taking the dead skin off your face and those are not just face-scrubbing beadlets. Anyways, SUPER nice product and definitely highly recommended. This stuff is about $25 online. Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Testing testing 1 2 3… Anyways, this is has been Runa’s first post. I hope to do more of these kinds of product reviews to introduce you guys to some effective and not-so-costly products of Japan, since Japan makes some excellent quality stuff. This has been Runa, over and out!