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Ask Me Anything About Living in Japan
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33 / M / Sydney, Australia
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Posted 1/18/14

xMonkeyKingx wrote:

Ah I guess thats true xD, I thought that the weird japanese shows that the americans have online are just selected ones, didnt know they were all like that


To be honest, most of them are kind of boring. You can only watch a pretty girl eat food and make faces like it's the world's tastiest food so many times before you start to switch it off.


saksiss wrote:

Are maid cafe's as glorious as I think they are?


Maid cafes are really silly and kind of expensive, but they are really fun. Don't take it too seriously and you'll have a fantastic time.


Striketh wrote:

When you started dating, what was it like going through meeting the family and all the potential social awkwardness that comes with such a match up? Were any family members particularly hostile?


Oh man! I never met any parents! Meeting your boy/girlfriend's family is a really big thing. That's basically if you are thinking seriously long term, maybe even marriage type stuff. I know people who have done it, though. Most of the time, if you are allowed to meet the family, it's because they are going to be cool about it. I've known people who have had in-laws refuse to speak to them for years, though.


JonnyTCS wrote:

Hi, I was wondering what kind of jobs are available to people don't have a college degree that would also get you a work visa. Also, I'm kind of confused about how visas work and i have tried to research for answers but i couldn't really find any :/ How often do you have to renew them and how easy are they to get from the Japanese government, and are there any reasons they wouldn't let you renew and/or take it away from you? Thank you in advance


Without a degree, it's hard. Not a lot will get you sponsored. To work in anything English related, you'll need a degree and to work anywhere else willing to sponsor your visa, you need to speak at least pretty good Japanese and have a really worthwhile skill. You can do a working holiday if you are under 30. If you are a good ski/snowboarder, you can work on the slopes for winter. Otherwise, you'll probably end up working in a bar or something.

Assuming you get one, the length varies. I was on a 3 year visa, then three consecutive one year visas. The government can be weird about giving you longer visas, so a lot of the time they'll make you renew every year.

Basically, if you break any laws or get in trouble, you'll probably have your visa revoked. Everything is fine as long as you don't get into trouble. That said, there are a million reasons why they may not let you renew it. Japan is kind of xenophobic. This is one of the discrimination things that tourists don't see.


ichigokudasaki wrote:

hey ive been wanting to visit and maybe move do they enjoy american guys like could i make friends how much English can most Japanese speak how hard is it for a young person to get a job can you ask girls on dates like in the states or are they strict with who they date


There's sometimes a weird fetishism for Americans in Japan and there's also sometimes a weird hatred. It's basically to do with WW2 ans doesn't concern us. Basically, people are people. You'll meet cool people who want to meet people with different lives and experiences. They'll be your good friends throughout your time there. You'll also make a lot of drinking friends. The kind who like hanging with you, but have no long term connection. Everyone assumes that foreigners will leave some day, so some people stay detached. That said, your best bet will always be the local foreign population. A good support network of people who understand why some days make you want to just punch the whole of Japan in the face, or how to deal with some random Japan thing that all of the natives think is common sense will be your lifeline.
Basically, if you act cool, don't walk around telling everyone how America is way awesomer than anywhere else and don't snob the other foreigners, you'll have a good time and make good friends.

Like I said before, people are people. The biggest problem you'll have with meeting girls is language. A girl or guy who speaks some English and is willing to help you with your Japanese will be great for you. There is some foreigner fetishism. Steer clear of that if you want to remain in a non-crazy environment. Those people want to have a foreign accessory, not a real relationship. There are plenty of normal, cool people if you can get outt here, don't be shy to meet people and don't be afraid of looking dumb.

Side note: If you are gay/lesbian/bi/trans, things can be a little more difficult, but certainly not impossible to deal with in the dating department. On a related note, if anyone has any questions they don't feel comfortable asking publicly, PM me.
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Posted 1/18/14
Bwahahahahah! A lot of these questions are pretty amusing. Well, it's nice to see another person who's been to Japan. Good on ya for sharing.
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Posted 1/18/14
To add on to my last question about maid cafe's, can you take pictures with the maids? I'm fairly sure, if not, almost certain that you've got to pay a fee for that anyway.
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Posted 1/18/14
thanks man
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33 / M / Sydney, Australia
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Posted 1/18/14

emanny-chan2713 wrote:

Let's say I want to live in japan. what would be the process ( legalwise) to be able to live over in japan? how much rent/ pay is it for a decent apartment for one person and does it cover everything ( gas, electricity, water, etc)? would you recommend living by with only using japanese transit or getting yourself a car while living in the tokyo or a close ward? and if a car is needed what is the process for getting a driver's license? are there big supermarkets with international foods ( i'm mexican so I gotta be able to cook my mexican food from time to time) ? and finally are their special places where one can learn how to cook japanese food?


The best and easiest way is to go over there with a job. Most people go over teaching English. If you have a university level degree of any type, or can at least prove native English ability, you can have your employer set the whole thing up for you. Be careful about this, though. Most employers are cool, but not all. If you can do it, the JET Programme is the best paid and has the best working conditions. It's government, so you are treated very well, but you don't get to choose where you live. You'll likely be put out in the sticks. That can be a good thing, though. You get to learn what traditional Japan is like.

Average salary is about 250,000 yen a month, paid once a month. Rent can be anything depending on where, but i lived in a few nice places in a city near Tokyo for about 60,000 a month before bills. Water id usually included. Gas and electricity aren't.

If you live in a big city, there probably won't be a choice to own a car. They are crazy expensive in Japan and space is a premium. You won't need to anyway. The transport is brilliant in most cities. If you live in the country, you might want one. There's usually some old Japanese man who sets local foreigners up with cars and there's always a foreigner leaving who needs to sell. Probably go for a small Kei car. They are much cheaper to own. Most countries can just get a license translated and then a Japanese one issued. American drivers can't for reasons that are long and dumb and from memory involve Texas being racist in the 70s. But, you can have an international license for up to a year. Get it in your home country before you leave. They end up costing about $40 i think.

You'll probably be able to find what you need food-wise, but be prepared to pay for it. Stuff like that can get expensive. Costco is around a few places and there are stores like Yamaya and Kaldi Coffee that will help you get food that's close enough to home. There are plenty of classes for learning to cook. It's a good way to meet people. Alternatively, befriend some old ladies. They often like to learn English in their spare time (and they pay well). They will happily teach you.



Sir_jamesalot wrote:

Did you pilot a mecha?


I couldn't get the license
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Posted 1/18/14
Are there places foreigners should avoid?
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Posted 1/18/14

saksiss wrote:

To add on to my last question about maid cafe's, can you take pictures with the maids? I'm fairly sure, if not, almost certain that you've got to pay a fee for that anyway.


Depends on the cafe. Most are really cool about it. Some want to charge. If you are a fun customer, they'll be way cooler about pretty much everything. Maid cafes are expensive, though. Be warned.
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Posted 1/18/14

pandrasb wrote:

Are there places foreigners should avoid?


Nah. Everywhere is safe enough. Don't go to shady looking girly bars in big cities unless you know what you are doing. You may end up paying a lot of money before the upset looking men let you leave.
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Posted 1/18/14
what made you want to live in japan, and have you lived in any other foreign countries before?

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Posted 1/18/14 , edited 1/19/14
What are the Shinto shrines like?

Me and Himeko are going to celebrate the month of Kannazuki in October, as part of our 10 year anniversary.

We would like to know so that, we could find a nice shrine to perform a very important ritual.
We might even do some more shrines as part of a ChikanexHimeko tour.
To spread the ritual, for the good of the country!




What are the elementary schools like?
Do the children behave well, or is it the same thing with American students?
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Posted 1/18/14

mrkabkard wrote:

what made you want to live in japan, and have you lived in any other foreign countries before?



I went to Japan for a short student exchange when I was about 13 and I enjoyed it. After that i really didn't have anything to do with the place until i was in university and I went on a holiday there with some friends. It made me want to study abroad.
When I graduated, I was having a lot of trouble finding work and I had never had the chance to study abroad. I'd also just broken up with my fiancee. We'd been together for 6 years and known each other since about age 12. We lived near each other and had all the same friends. I needed to get away. I heard about a government job teaching English in Japanese schools I applied on a whim. I managed to get through the essay and interview processes and then was offered a job in Chiba City, about 40km out of Tokyo. I couldn't decide, so I tossed a coin. It came up as yes, so I said yes and accepted the position.

It was supposed to be for a year. 3 years later i tried coming home, hated it and after about 9 months headed back. I lived there for another 2 and a half years and finally decided to make a proper attempt at life back home last June.

So here I am.
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Posted 1/18/14
Yea i have just always thought it would be amazing to live there for a bit, are the cities as amazing as everyone says they are? I hear that tokyo is incredible.
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Posted 1/18/14 , edited 1/19/14

Animegirlzvstheworld wrote:

What are the Shinto shrines like?

Me and Himeko are going to celebrate the month of Kannazuki in October, as part of our 10 year anniversary.

We would like to know so that, we could find a nice shrine to perform a very important ritual.
We might even some more shrines as part of a ChikanexHimeko tour.
To spread the ritual, for the good of the country!




What are the elementary schools like?
Do the children behave well, or is it the same thing with American students?


They are very tranquil and often unassuming. They are often in forests, surrounded by trees and often have huge sacred trees inside the temple grounds that have been there for hundreds of years. There's a Tori at the entrance and usually one or two smaller shrines off to the side of a bigger one.

This is a pretty normal looking path up to one:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Tinian_Shinto_Shrine_1.JPG

But some of them are huge:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kaminarimon_(outer_gate),_Sensoji_Temple,_Akakusa,_Tokyo.jpg
This one is Kaminarimon, the path leading up to Sensoji temple in Tokyo.


Kids are kids same as everywhere. Elementary schools are some of the most fun places in the whole world. I loved my time teaching there. the kids are adorable and hilarious.



mrkabkard wrote:

Yea i have just always thought it would be amazing to live there for a bit, are the cities as amazing as everyone says they are? I hear that tokyo is incredible.


The big cities are all pretty amazing. So many people packed into such a small space and it all runs like clockwork. Tokyo is one of the most strange and amazing cities in the world. Osaka has awesome nightlife and so does Hiroshima. Kyoto is very pretty, but not terribly exciting.
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Posted 1/19/14
Did you have a huge culture shock? I heard japanese are xenophobic and usually discriminate Chinese, finding them lower class than them. I've been to japan a couple of times but I was with a crew working there for a few days. But didn't stay there long enough to actually interact with the local . My question is do they dislike Chinese in general? Haha they smiled when I was working probably because I'm there as a guest, knowing they are polite as part of their culture. I won't be fooled!
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14

KurisuSensei wrote:

Without a degree, it's hard. Not a lot will get you sponsored. To work in anything English related, you'll need a degree and to work anywhere else willing to sponsor your visa, you need to speak at least pretty good Japanese and have a really worthwhile skill.


So basically the person that is hiring you sponsors you for your visa and then the government reviews your request for the visa?

And after I graduate high school which is this year, I am taking a gap year (probably not a full year) in Japan and taking a language and culture class so I should have a good grasp on the language :)

Also, what about freelance jobs like translating and/or interpreting? Can those jobs easily land you a visa or do you have to be officially employed to receive one?


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