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Rie01 (Offline)
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Live in Japan or keep it as a holiday destination? - 02-11-2016, 03:51 AM

Hello everyone! I am new to this thread. It is nice to meet you all.

I'd really appreciate some advice. I have loved Japan all my life. A recent holiday to Japan has made me feel that even more strongly and I am questioning how to make it a larger part of my life. I am wondering whether it is realistic to live there, or whether I should keep it as a place I go on holiday, but more frequently in the future.
I actually have Japanese relatives (grandparents) living in Japan. Does that make it easier for me to live there or not? By the way, I live in Austalia and am a "hapa" or "hafu" - half Japanese.
I am studying at university to get a degree too - I heard it is much easier to live in Japan if you have a uni degree.
Any advice would be so greatly appreciated!
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02-14-2016, 10:01 AM

Learn Japanese language first to ask your grand parents how you can live in Japan.


Language makes Culture and Culture makes Language.

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02-19-2016, 08:00 AM

I decided to move to Japan after visiting a few times. I disliked my old job, and the area I was living in, and I wanted to make a change in my life. I had a friend in Japan whom I visited, and during my visits, I had a great time. On my first visit I wondered very much what it would be like to live in Japan, not knowing at the time that I eventually would.

When I first arrived, I did what many independent newcomers do, I taught English. I lived and worked out in the countryside, and made quite a few friends. Life as a teacher in the countryside is easy, you teach 20 or 30 classes a week (which is about 25 hours work), and the pay is enough to live comfortably on.

Though I liked living where I was, and teaching was not difficult, it wasn't very satisfying for me. Almost by accident, I started a small business, buying Japanese goods, and exporting them to other countries. At first I didn't make much money, but after a year, I was earning more from home than I did at my teaching job. Now, 7 years later, I am living in a large tower apartment in Roppongi, and work from home. No more commutes on the train or subway for me.

Right now I am sitting at my dinging table, to the left I can see Tokyo tower, to the right is the Mori Tower in Roppongi hills, and further to the right I can see Mt Fuji. My story isn't exactly rags-to-riches, but Japan has a lot of opportunities available to foreigners, especially when it comes to being independent business people.

There are some difficult things about living in Japan which must be considered. First, anyone who is not Japanese is a foreigner, but even non-Japanese how were born and raised in Japan are still regarded as foreigners. In America the only time we hear the word "foreigner" is when talking about the old rock band of the same name. Since in America everyone comes from somewhere else, you cannot tell who is a foreigner or not.

Next, in Japan bureaucracy is king. During your life in Japan you need to register at the city office, which requires paperwork, fees, etc. When moving you need to notify the old city, and then the new one. When getting a drivers license, you need to take an intensely hard exam with most of the questions completely irrelevant to driving safely. When opening a bank account, or doing business, you need personal seals, which must be registered at the city office, and you need to get seal registration certificates, which for whatever reason, are good for only 90 days, which means that you will have to return to get new certificates when doing business that requires a seal.

Next, Japan can be expensive. Rice costs several times what it does in America, milk, butter, or cheese costs triple, meat costs quadruple. Medicine like aspirin can cost five times as much, gasoline is triple. Clothes? Levis are more than twice as expensive in Japan, shoes, can be triple American or European prices. Worse, consumption tax is charged on food, services, and medicine, which is not the case in America or Europe.

I would recommend that you come to Japan with a working holiday visa, and see how you like it here. Most people enjoy their first six months or year in Japan, the so-called "honeymoon" phase. But the honeymoon effect eventually wears off, and in time, some people begin to miss home. Some leave, some stay. Some come to love Japan, some to hate it. So give it a try before making a long term decision.

Last edited by Sangetsu : 02-19-2016 at 09:54 AM.
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