Hanko stamps! 日本のはんこ文化は、非常に重要で伝統的なもの。Julieが実際に自分のはんこを作ってみたみたいですｗ体験記をシェアします！（日本語は後述）
Japan has a unique practice called hanko, which is a personal seal/stamp. However, it is more than just a stamp, it is a symbol deeply embedded in Japanese culture, serving as an alternative to the handwritten signature. In Japan people rely on a hanko, personalised name stamp, to authenticate their identity on official documents.
For many foreigners navigating the bureaucratic challenges of Japan when moving to Japan, the journey often begins with the need to set up essential services like a bank account, a mobile phone, etc. This was also the case for me when I arrived to Japan one month ago. When signing the papers to set up a bank account I saw that the designated space for a signature was too small for my handwritten signature. I needed to sign it with a hanko, but I did not have one yet at that time. Luckily, the bank managed to sort things out for me and I could sign it with my own handwritten signature.
To make the signing of future documents in Japan easier I searched for a store to make my own hanko. Here in Hiroshima I found one very close to the Evergreen Hostel. The store has many different designs for both the hanko and its case. Finally I chose the most budget-friendly hanko at around 350 yen. After only eight minutes my hanko with my last name in katakana was ready! Besides it being useful; it is also a fun way to sign postcards and it makes for a unique souvenir. I even got a second hanko with my first name in kanji as a little piece of Japan to take back home!