If you’re reading this, you surely have a strong interest in Japan and wonder if you should make your mind, jump into the wild and go for a long-term journey in Japan.
While it can be scary to experience living in a country immensely different from yours (especially if it’s your first time living abroad) it is also immensely rewarding in many aspects.
Let’s see why you should get over your fears and jump in this awesome new experience!
Your belly’s Happiness
First, if you’re a gastronomic little buddy, food lover like me:
THAT’S THE DREAM COUNTRY.
The food in Japan is just fantastic.
Ramen, Donburi, Sushi, Takoyaki, Healthy colorful bentos, Sukiyaki, Okonomiyaki, Shabu shabu...
The list is endless, and each region in Japan has its own high-pride specialty food.
Regardless the food’s constant high quality, it’s also amazingly cheap. You can eat outside for lunch spending only 500~700 yen, and the same for dinner if you don’t choose a super fancy place.
Even the food in Supermarket and Konbini (small supermarkets open 24/24) is surprisingly good, fresh and quite various.
On my lazy days after work I used to simply hit by the supermarket to buy some omurice or any fresh prepared food. And, you know if I do that in France I would definitely regret doing it, and think afterward
“Oh god it would have been so much better and cheaper if I cooked this myself”.
But here I never had to feel any deceptions.
It may have to do with the extreme high quality service mindset in Japan: They don’t joke with the food, nor the customer! So they’ll never serve you an inedible thing.
If you feel homesick and wanna eat your country’s food or try any foreign cooking, you’ll be also happy to know there’s a huge offer of international foodies.
I ate amazing Italian, Thai, Korean, Indian specialties and more.
Mind blowing sights and amazing entertainments
Japan has one of the beautiful sceneries and one of the most vibrant entertainment life in the world. You will never be bored as there are so many things to visit and see around you.
Wherever you are based, wether it be Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Sapporo, etc, you will always find nearby areas to visit or attractions to do.
And I don’t even talk about the countless Festivals (said “Matsuri” 祭り) along the year.
Don’t forget the famous Game centers, Karaoke, Onsen…
You can pick some ideas in the Japan section of this blog, I’m loading a bunch of pics and some anecdotes about my travels!
Kind, considerate, helpful people
This is maybe the most important thing to consider when you are in a foreign country.
Because meeting good people will definitely help you have a great journey.
Japanese people are known to be kind, polite, and helpful, and they really are.
If you’re lost in the subway or seem having any problem, there is a high probability that someone notice you and comes at you when you didn’t even ask anything.
Of course, a big majority of the Japanese people don’t really speak english but, still, I had some funny experiences where people still tried to help me using some basic rough english. We could still manage to understand each other.
You will surely hear many stories about people asking their way and ending up being directly brought to the place by the person they asked help to. They don’t want you to be in trouble so they will try their best to help you as much as they can.
You may also have heard about how it is hard to make friendship with Japanese people? This is something that have been reported to me many times.
Though, I didn’t experienced this at all, as well as many friends of mine. On the contrary we happened to create really good friendships easily.
Nowadays there are also many ways to meet like-minded people.
Improving your Japanese language skills
Obviously, if you’re learning Japanese, being in Japan and being able to talk with Japanese people everyday will definitely make a great change in your speaking and listening skills.
If you really want to study Japanese, a Student Visa would suit you better.
But if you already have some basic knowledge, and don’t want to spend a quite big amount of money in scholarship, then going with a Working Holiday is an easy and less restrictive way to improve your Japanese by spending more time in activities you are keen to do.
If you want to take some classes, there’s also some nice options:
Some schools offer a light program. You can choose only one or two classes a week if you want for a fair price, and there’s even a school in Tokyo offering free lessons :
Depending on what you are looking for, this can be not up to your expectations, but the system is great and for my part it helped me studying, as well as meeting great friends!
Another option is to join free lessons via websites and applications like Meetup
It’s actually easy to find a part-time job
Oh la la ! As a french, I’ve never been so amazed by the job market in Japan :
They recruit profusely, it seems like there’s more companies looking for staff than people seeking for a job.
This results in a strange and funny fact: Job offer announces are made into appealing advertising.
Like “Hey come work with us, we are so cool and nice, we will pay you transportation fee and all you need, we don’t even care if you’re inexperienced so come!!”
I’m not kidding, I really read that kind of thing on some ads.
I couldn’t find an english version, but here is a typical example. What it says roughly under the title is :
“If you want to work only on weekend it’s OK! Students and housewives are welcome! Short term contracts are also OK. You can negotiate your time: at least one time a week and 4 hours per day or more!”
So, you can find yourself a casual job quickly enough. Many cafes, restaurants, shops are hiring at any period, and you don’t especially need to speak Japanese for many of them.
Do you know how I found my jobs in Tokyo and Kyoto?
At first I looked for many “job for foreigner websites” such as Gaijinpot, but finally I found my job in Tokyo via a Yahoo group for french residents in Japan; and my job in Kyoto via a group on Facebook!
That sounds pretty unreel even to me, I never found jobs via SNS before and so easily.
Furthermore, it was pretty decent jobs, to not say fantastic experiences.
Have a look at this post if you’re curious:
Working in Japan
Your experience might be totally different with mine, but wherever you go and whatever you do, I believe it will be a fantastic journey full of discoveries.
Just jump in, don’t be shy!