So it turns out that converting power for New Zealand gadgets in Japan is going to be a lot trickier than I suspected; as it turns out that Japan is different in pretty much every way possible when it comes to power generation than NZ. First, Japanese power sockets run of 120v rather than 240v like they do here. This is actually a bit of a plus; as at very least I know my devices are more likely to not charge if I make a mistake than they are to explode and die. Secondly, Japan’s power frequency changes based on where in Japan you are. In New Zealand we run on 50hz which is the same as East Japan (Tokyo, Kawasaki etc); however I will be primarily staying in West Japan (Nagoya, Osaka etc) where the power frequency is 60hz rather than 50hz. From what I understand charging with the wrong frequency again does not necessarily ruin your devices; but certainly causes them to charge incorrectly and can ruin batteries. Lastly, Japan uses a different socket to us, as one might expect, and does not support ‘earthed’ socket conversion. Basically what this means is that any device I have which has a three pronged socket can not be converted easily for use in Japan. So this is a not insignificant list of issues for converting power for NZ based gadgets.
But the problems do not stop there, oh no! I expected that I would be able to buy some kind of all-in-one converter to convert voltage, frequency and socket configuration in NZ; but it seems I was mistaken. All I could find at any electronics store in Palmerston North was adapters such as the one in the picture above; which merely changes the plug type and nothing else. I did manage to find one converter at dick smith but the thing was huge, cost $300 and weighed a good 4-5kgs; not exactly suited for international travel bag limits. Needless to say this lack of available methods of conversion concerned me quite a bit at first; but then I took stock of what I am actually bringing to Japan and realized it actually is not that big of a deal at all. I only really plan to bring my phone and 3DS. If you look closely at my phone charger in the picture above, assuming it is readable, the charger actually converts 100-240v and 50-60hz; meaning it will be fine regardless of where I am. After reading up more on how other people have traveled with their 3DS consoles I also found that, apparently, if you buy a 3DS charger in the country you are staying in it should work; as the charger will convert whatever the local power is into the correct kind/amount of power needed to charge any 3DS. So, assuming this is correct, I should be able to just buy a Japanese 3DS charger and everything should work fine.
So long story short, despite the big differences between Japanese and NZ power systems powering my gadgets in Japan does not seem like it is going to be all that hard; however someone who wanted to bring a number of electrical appliances would probably be screwed. Of course I could always be wrong and I will update this post with how it all works out after I attempt to charge my stuff in Japan.
5 days to go! 😀