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Starting Out! 34 year old UK male preperations for moving to Japan - 03-07-2011, 09:17 AM

Hi all,

My first post here, I have read through some other posts on here and it seems you are a great crowd, thought i would introduce myself and hope to gain advice from anybody who can help.

Pete here, I am a 34 year old male who currently lives in England, i am a UK Citizen and have obtained a BSc Hons in Computer Science at a UK university. My ambition is to live in Japan, I love the culture, the food and just the way of life over there and at 34 i have realised i just hate the way of life over here in the UK. I have worked in IT for 5 years after university and i am really getting no job satisfaction out of it here so want to start making preperations to be able to apply to teach English in Japan firstly, something that has been at the back of my mind for a while and now realise that is what i want to do in life.

I am hoping to go to Japan when I am 37. This gives me three years to learn the language and read and write a little best i can, i am currently spending 1-2 hours per day and hope to be relatively conversant by the time i leave(I do understand that learning Japanese is a lifelong process).
I am saving everything i can also and within the three years i should have around 15 - 20,000 uk pounds(sterling) to make a start out there. This is my goal but it really is a dream at the moment.

I do however have a few questions if anybody can help in any way. Any advice is greatly appreciated to make a start on my preperations.

1 - Would my qualifications be eligible for me to locate other work apart from teaching (i would start of as an english teacher but eventually would like to find IT work in an office environment once i could converse a bit more fluently in the language, or move into being a trainee japanese chef if the possibilities are out there)
2 - Would it be wise first to just move out there and locate work on the three months tourist visa, i should hope to be convesant in everyday japanese speaking or should i apply to be a teacher of english in japan and go from there once accepted.
3 - As a British citizen are we generally liked by the Japanese, or would it be really hard to meet japanese friends at work and in bars, pubs etc?
4- Is my age a hinderance? I will be 37/38 by the time I go to Japan, could this be a problem?

I have made up my mind and this is where i want to go, a new start and a new experience, you only live once right? I have no ties so am in a position to do it if i work hard. I know it will be hard for me but i am seriously committed! Any advice from anybody out there would seriously be of great help.

Thanks,

Sparky
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03-07-2011, 12:23 PM

My advise would be to go visit the country for about a month and see how it fits in with your opinion of the country.

From what I've gathered here, there are quite a few like you, more of them less prepared, who want to move to Japan to "start anew" for lack of a better term. They believe Japan is the cure-all for their woes when in reality, it is they who are flawed....

I don't mean to sound harsh, but, I've read this quite a few times here. You're going to get many responses here with quite a few direct questions about "how can anyone see Japan as their Eden if they haven't even spent a minute there". Most of the people who will ask are those living there now and subject to all there is to be endured living there. They are going to be your best resource. But I'm sure they're not going to paint a pretty picture. They're going to be realistic and quite harsh, but none of that is personal. They are very informed people and very cool.

I have visited there twice as a tourist. It is a much different scenario, because you have a finite number of days, and no matter what happens, a B777 will be taking you back to all you know in a few days. I once spent 2 years in northern Honshu, but that was under NSA auspices. That doesn't count as much because, while I did have a house in the local economy, I was always at the air base for work. I didn't have to fend for myself all that much.

I'm sure you're going to get good advise from the people here. Heed them is all I ask!

Last edited by JohnBraden : 03-07-2011 at 03:37 PM.
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03-07-2011, 03:35 PM

Hi JohnBraden,

Many thanks for your very honest reply, I understand exactly what you say and in regards to some of your answer I hope to put things into a bit more detail so some of these questions are answered.

I have been to Japan twice on holiday and loved it, i agree i did not have the burden of thinking like a local citizen there and knew I had the comfort of flying back, money in my pocket and didnt have to worry about how to arrange a local phone or broadband package etc and the likes but guess I just want a new challenge.

I will most definitely take your advice as i think this was one of my questions and apply for a teacher training job (or go on holiday for 1 or 2 months to look for work) before i really make the decision that this would be for me.

I am stck in a rut at the moment, and you do mention that it is them who are flawed, I guess i am one of those who am flawed and need a new challenge, aspiration to get me out of this. I may be wrong but whats the worst that could happen? I hate it and come back in two months time having had a decent holiday. I am posting early for as much valued advice such as yours as much as possible, this way i hope to eliminate any possibility of this and have a much better chance at succeeding, rather than been one of those "many" that fail.

I hope this answers a bit more, i tried to keep my brief as short as possible but have missed out some vital info, basically I just need a new start, I know things will be hard, and again if it fails, atleast i will have more knowledge, can say on my CV that i can understand Japanese at a basic level and surely these things are positive.

Again thank you and i hope for really honest answers from others who have thought like i did, actually did it or people who are similarly thinking in the same direction. As much advice is really really appreciated..

Thanka again,

Pete
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03-07-2011, 06:43 PM

Pete,

I'm glad you elaborated a bit and mentioned you have been to Japan before. There are those who believe everything they see in the media and think Japan is a wonderland. At least I know you're not one of those!

There have been people who thought that if they just packed up and went to Japan, where anime and manga are prevalent, electronics are cutting edge and the food is the cool trend of the day, their life of doldrums and monotony may change. It only gets worse because they don't speak the language and most people won't give them the time of day.

I'm also very pleased to see you went through the forum and found other threads. I hadn't even heard of the "I don't want to live in Japan" one! That means you're doing your research. I can't tell you how many times people post for the first time here with a simple question that has been answered numerous times. It's refreshing to see this.

I didn't really mean to say you are flawed. I just didn't want to think that packing up and moving to a foreign land would be your answer to life's woes. A change of pace is nice and if that's the encouragement you need, then I hope things go well for you. I'm not a good source of information and as such, I can't offer much advice, but whatever it is, it's heartfelt.

Perhaps you can use the 1-2 month stay there as a dress rehearsal. Instead of a hotel, get yourself a rental apartment so you actually have to buy groceries, do your own laundry, etc. That way you can get a feel for what it entails. I don't know where to look for such places, but a google search or even threads here may have a link or two!

Glad you're here and let us know how it's going!
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03-07-2011, 07:50 PM

Hey Pete, fellow Brit here from Yorkshire.

I agree with the second post, take some time to get used to Japan first before you set things in stone. I stayed there for 2 months in May/June last year and it's like a different planet. Yeah it's every bit as awesome as you think, if not more, but it's a very different place to live. First of all, the weather. I hate hot temperatures and thats British hot, not tropical hot. Temperatures were always around 30℃, even on days where it was totally pouring down with rain, or days when theres a grey overcast (like a typical day in England) the temperature would still be that high and it's crazy humid - and that's just in Spring time! Then theres the earthquakes. I had never experienced one (appart from that random one we had in England about 2 years back in the middle of the night) and it's quite scary. There's also the bugs. They're HUGE!

Can you keep up with the speed? Most cities I went to are like being in London, very fast and stressful.

I know my comments may come across as negative, but I had the most awesome time out there and I have no doubt you will too, but please go visit before you commit yourself to a lifetime of living on a different planet.

Also, 1-2 hours a day is not enough for conversational in 3 years. I've been studying Japanese that long now and every day that I don't study, I loose about a months worth of practice.

Try alljapaneseallthetime.com

I hope I've helped.


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03-07-2011, 08:06 PM

Hey Pete, I can't really offer any advice and there are far more suitable members on here to do so. All i will say is, I wish you luck in your endeavours





Check these links out:

MissMisa talks about Cosplay and stuff

Japanese Help and Info

Useful Info
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Thumbs up 03-08-2011, 08:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAD0W View Post
Hey Pete, fellow Brit here from Yorkshire.

I agree with the second post, take some time to get used to Japan first before you set things in stone. I stayed there for 2 months in May/June last year and it's like a different planet. Yeah it's every bit as awesome as you think, if not more, but it's a very different place to live. First of all, the weather. I hate hot temperatures and thats British hot, not tropical hot. Temperatures were always around 30℃, even on days where it was totally pouring down with rain, or days when theres a grey overcast (like a typical day in England) the temperature would still be that high and it's crazy humid - and that's just in Spring time! Then theres the earthquakes. I had never experienced one (appart from that random one we had in England about 2 years back in the middle of the night) and it's quite scary. There's also the bugs. They're HUGE!

Can you keep up with the speed? Most cities I went to are like being in London, very fast and stressful.

I know my comments may come across as negative, but I had the most awesome time out there and I have no doubt you will too, but please go visit before you commit yourself to a lifetime of living on a different planet.

Also, 1-2 hours a day is not enough for conversational in 3 years. I've been studying Japanese that long now and every day that I don't study, I loose about a months worth of practice.

Try alljapaneseallthetime.com

I hope I've helped.
Hey Shadow, East Yorkshire here!

Many thanks for putting things in a bit more perspective, and i guess it would be a mistake to just rush out there without spending a bit of time first to get to grips. I dont mind the hot weather, but humid and hot is different, this might be a challenge, only part that concerns me is the bugs! I dont mind eating them, had plenty whilst in china but they were on a plate! When theyre huge and crawling all over you and just in close proximity that I guess could be my biggest obstacle and one to overcome quickly!

I do remember the quake, lol! Woke me upp, id been out drinking and only had a couple of hours kip before had to go to work, was pretty amusing, guess its no comparison to the ones you would experience over in Japan!

Only thing that concerns me is that I would atleast be able to communicate with the locals, I mean not fluently, just how to get around, set up rentals for apartments, hire things and generally order in estaurants etc in their language, i was hoping three years with everyday study for 1 or 2 hours to achieve this. Not too worry, I may just have to work a bit harder, and I will most certainly check out the website you have suggested.

If you dont mind me asking, allthough you mentioned you stayed for 2 months in Japan, do you plan on returing? And are you keeping up with your study of the language?

Thanks.

Pete
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03-08-2011, 08:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryuhebi13 View Post
Hey Pete, I can't really offer any advice and there are far more suitable members on here to do so. All i will say is, I wish you luck in your endeavours

Thank you for your kind support ryuhebi13, It is greatly appreciated :-)

Last edited by Sparky777 : 03-08-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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03-08-2011, 08:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBraden View Post
Pete,

I didn't really mean to say you are flawed. I just didn't want to think that packing up and moving to a foreign land would be your answer to life's woes. A change of pace is nice and if that's the encouragement you need, then I hope things go well for you. I'm not a good source of information and as such, I can't offer much advice, but whatever it is, it's heartfelt.

Perhaps you can use the 1-2 month stay there as a dress rehearsal. Instead of a hotel, get yourself a rental apartment so you actually have to buy groceries, do your own laundry, etc. That way you can get a feel for what it entails. I don't know where to look for such places, but a google search or even threads here may have a link or two!

Glad you're here and let us know how it's going!
Thanks, I totally understood what you meant about people who are flawed and think "I just need to get away" maybe things will be better, I have met many people like this, and things never turn out, but it was a point that was needed to be touched on. I never thought of questions like that so i took a bit of time to reflect upon this and asked myself why i really want to do it, just to eliminate this possibility! Turns out that I want this for opposite reasons than the negative so I may have a chance!

I think again its definitely right that I do it the right way so one of my questions has definitely been answered, when I am ready, I will take 3 months out like a holiday and try rent an apartment in one of the quieter,, local districts where I have to make a go of hings, i.e. not rely on all the technology and appliances, have to organise transport myself and try to mix in with the locals to the best I can. I will also try for jobs as a practice when out there, who knows I may become successful and it will start from there, and the ultimate If I dont like it I can then concentrate the remainder of the time just to experience the rest of my time as a tourist and enjoy it.

Ultimately I would like to live with one of the local familys in a shared house type accommodation, if this is such an option?

Once agin many thanks for your time and input!

Pete
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03-08-2011, 02:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky777 View Post
only part that concerns me is the bugs! I dont mind eating them, had plenty whilst in china but they were on a plate! When theyre huge and crawling all over you and just in close proximity that I guess could be my biggest obstacle and one to overcome quickly!
They're not so much crawling all over you. It's more like.. you're walking down a nice quiet road and you hear what sounds like helicopter coming over your head, then you see a wasp the size of the palm of your hand fly over you. I used to hate wasps, but I'm no longer scared of them after experiencing the giant ones in Japan.




I had also never seen cockroach before visiting Japan. That freaked me out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky777 View Post
If you dont mind me asking, allthough you mentioned you stayed for 2 months in Japan, do you plan on returing? And are you keeping up with your study of the language?
I still study Japanese where and when I can but I'm in and ammongst my final year of Uni doing my dissertation ontop of working 3 jobs... so it kind of gets pushed to the back of the to do list. I listen to audio lessons when I'm driving around and I sometimes have Japanese language audio on my "sound asleep" pillow, just incase. But anything like videogames, facebook etc are always done in Japanese to keep me in touch.

I'd love to go back, I've even been offered a job there once I've finished my NQT year, but I'm not sure I could live there full time. Once the amazing becomes the normal, is it still so amazing?

Top tip: take some sun lotion with you as they don't really sell it in Japan, and where they do, it's always less than 100ml bottle and it works out about 7 quid a pop. If you're a true Yorkshire-man like me, You'll begrudge handing that over lol. I'd rather burn


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