When you decide to move abroad, there is no denying that you choose to embrace a new adventure. Logistics, administration, and organization are key elements to define the success of any move. But moving to a completely different country, such as Japan, can seem at first like an impossible challenge. Japan is, for many travelers, a land of high productivity, competent workers and thoroughly planned family life where some women are exposed to difficulties in the workplace for getting pregnant out of turn. But aside from the disciplined work environment, there is a sense of madness to the Japanese culture that western travelers envy despite themselves. The simple fact that you can find a vending machine to serve a warm meal in the middle of the night is something that everyone finds themselves strolling in town would be grateful for.
Let aside the stories about underwear vending machine; you can buy a puppy through a vending machine in Japan! And if nothing else works, the kawaii culture is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. In other words, moving to Japan is both a challenging and exciting decision.
Be Prepared for a Different Lifestyle
It doesn’t matter where you decide to live. As an expat, you need to be ready to accept that things will not be like at home if you want to settle down rapidly. The very first thing you need to know about moving to the other side of the world is that’s it’s easier to sell most of your belongings – we’re talking appliances, car, etc. – instead of taking them with you. You can buy everything you need in your new country. A new country means new culture. It’s your responsibility to learn and respect it if you want to fit in. It’s also best to already have found an accommodation before you arrive, even if it’s only temporary so that you have a place to sleep.
Learn to Appreciate Japanese Culture
Don’t waste your time watching your favorite mangas to prepare yourself for the culture shock. Your best bet is to join directly a cultural tour in Japan so that you can experience the real history of the country. Understanding the key elements of the Japanese history and traditions can be tremendously helpful to dictate your behavior in the country. Ultimately, it showcases for you the positive and negative values shared by the population, so that you know exactly why people do what they do in a certain way.
Never Stop Learning
When in Rome do as the Romans: You need to learn Japanese if you want to understand your neighbors fully. If you didn’t have the opportunity before the move, you could sign to local language schools to learn Japanese. Japanese is not an easy language to learn, but you’ll find that the locals will appreciate your efforts to fit in. Additionally, you also need to get the hang of legal and taxing systems if you don’t want to run into difficulties. Most people will help you if you ask.
Ultimately, moving to Japan is something you need to plan just like any move. Don’t assume that speaking English will come in handy. You have to fit in culturally, linguistically and administratively! As the Japanese say, Ganbatte, which means “do your best”, and everything will fall into place.