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Living In Japan

Updated on May 20, 2015

Your Perceptions Are All Wrong

Japan is many things, but none of them are what you see on tv. There aren't robots running around, there isn't sushi on every corner, and very little innovation occurs.

So what is Japan really like?

The men work 60 hour weeks, often getting home around 10pm. After work many are pressured into drinking into the early hours of the next day. Wives are usually at home keeping the house cleaning and raising any kids. Japan is very old school culturally.

Most cars are small and box shaped. Drivers drive on the left side of the road like the British. Driving is extremely conservative and slow. I've never seen such slow taxi drivers.

From my experience teaching English, I see most students going to college. I don't know what the success rate is, but I know it's extremely stressful. After a successful graduation everyone molds into the workplace and turns into a worker drone.

Japan's Interpersonal Culture

Japanese are so polite they are rude about it. Every single interaction and transaction follows a script that gets burdensome in time. Whether you are meeting someone or buying something. Everyone has a whole cache of dialogue that has nothing to do with you.

The citizens are friendly and helpful. However, they will never tell you directly what they think of you. You can do your best work and they'll complain to your boss. In doing so they put on a magnificent facade.

Japan is actually quite racist. As a foreigner you can't blend in due to the homogeneous population. Even if you look Japanese you won't be accepted. I was shocked when I was watching tv with my girlfriend and she commented that the woman on the screen was a half talent. By "Half Talent" she means half Japanese. It's strange to concern oneself with the ethnicity of a tv star rather than comment on their talents.

Romance among Japanese seems limited to youthful innocence. Most Japanese are abstinent, especially after marriage and children. Many Japanese men see their wives like sisters and their love life veers off a cliff. Young Japanese date, but there are so many rituals involved that many don't bother. From my limited perspective the only people having sex are the ones going to the bar and sleeping with foreigners.

Japanese salarymen

Marvelous Japanese Traditions

While there are many surprises for foreigners in Japan, there are many delights to be found. Seeing Geisha in Kyoto is especially nice, but more often you'll see ladies wandering the streets in Kimono all around Japan in Spring. The kimono are elaborate and gorgeous.

In early April you get to enjoy the splendor of the Cherry Blossoms blooming. Everyone has a "Hanami Party", which is drinking under the trees. Public drinking is legal and enjoyed by everyone.

Gorgeous Kimono's in Japan

Blooming Cherry Trees in Nagoya, Japan

Sakura(Cherry) trees in Nagoya, Japan
Sakura(Cherry) trees in Nagoya, Japan

Working in Japan as an English teacher

Working in Japan is easy, but not really lucrative unless you stay a while. By a while, I mean several years. There are countless jobs available in a never ending list of schools. Salaries usually start around 250,000 Yen, and you pay rent. I mention rent because in other countries like China and Korea you don't pay rent.

I've offered some critiques and some criticisms here, but I don't regret living here. It's been an amazing time and I would recommend it to anyone. Come and see for yourself, don't be shy, it's really easy to live here.

The pros and cons of living in Japan

Move now you'll love it
Don't bother landing
 
Experience new foods, drinks, and people
There's no free wifi.
 
You can teach English and enjoy a year making new friends
You don't like hearing any language except English
 
Single men find dating easy
If you're only coming here to date. It's more challenging for the ladies as the men aren't confident.
 
It's easy to get around.
If you don't want to try learning any Japanese.
 

Finals Thoughts

I know I only wrote a brief article but there's so much I could talk about I can't fit it all in one article. Japan is a great country to work and live in. There are countless temples and shrines to see, many World Heritage locations to visit, and fantastic culture. There's also a strangeness that never goes away once you learn about the Japanese.

If you have any questions please leave a comment.

Walking home in Nagoya, Japan

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