The Curse of the Middle Name

1 minute read

One of my pet peeves on about living in Japan is just how hard it can be sometimes to get things done when you have a middle name.

The last month or two have seen me frantically trying sort out a bevy of accounts that I’m trying to move over to my new bank account and my new credit card. Every few weeks I find a letter from one company or the other saying that I have to redo my payment change request since the names don’t match. This of course sees me having to go through all the steps of filling out more paperwork and frantically hoping that this time around the company will somehow accept my application.

There are some cases where a company just seems oblivious to the fact that many people around the world have a middle name at all. When I tried to open a bank account with Sony Bank a few weeks back their online application just refused to accept any form of my middle name and when I contacted their support center they pretty much told me that the only way to open an account with them was via a postal application, and that I’d also have to write my first and middle names as one name with no space between the two. Needless to say I decided that if a bank has such an archaic way of dealing with my case I’d rather take my business elsewhere.

Today I also received a letter from au KDDI to say that my application to pay for my mobile phone via my credit card was incorrect and that I would have to reapply with the correct form. The only problem is that for the last two months I’ve being paying with my credit card without any issues. When I phone their customer support center I was pretty much told that no one there has any idea why I got a form telling me my application was incorrect but that rather than ignoring it I would still have to go to the nearest au shop and get them to somehow help me. Te prospect of driving through later today is most certainly not something I am looking forward to.

One company that’s stood out so far is Rakuten. I had to change my payment details with them, and rather than having to request a postcard that I’d have to send back to them all it took for me to get sorted was to click one button on their website and fill in my details after which my bank emailed me to say the debit order was successfully set up and I was all good to go.

Now if only all Japanese companies were that simple and easy to work with!