Five good things and five bad things about living in Japan
In this Hub I would like to tell you from experience what are the good things and bad things about living in Japan. Please note I am doing so from my own experience, as a Belgian in my 20s. Other people might have different opinions, depending on their background. By no means am I trying to put Japan in a better or worse picture than it really is. I am just writing my opinion.
Five Good Things about Living in Japan
1. The experience of living in a country with a culture which is totally different from your own. By this I mean just, in general, that living some time in a completely different culture will enrich your life a lot. It can be shocking and annoying at times, but also very interesting and stimulating. You learn things about life that you cannot learn without leaving the comfort of your own culture.
You don't necessarily have to go live in Japan to experience another culture, you say? You are right, there are so many interesting countries in the world! But Japan is a special case. Japan has, throughout history, been a country which was basically isolated from the rest of the world for long periods of time. Through this it has developed very unique and interesting traditions. And, in addition to that, over the last half century, Japan has become the second economy in the world (now the third?).
Together, this results in a country that has old traditions one the one hand, yet is very technologically advanced on the other hand. I believe that this combination is unique in the world. Where else can you see old temples right in the middle of modern business districts? Where else can you see women wearing traditional Kimono on the subway? Where else do you see students walking around with their long bow for traditional archery? Only in Japan.
In that sense I feel that the cultural experience of living in Japan is more interesting compared to many other countries.
2. Japan is safe. Granted, lately there are many reports in the news about murders, abuse, and rapes. But compared to other developed countries, I still have the impression that Japan is a very safe country. The region around Tokyo and Yokohama is a huge metropolis where more than 30 million people live. Yet, you can walk around late at night alone without any problem. This is not something I would do in many parts of Paris, London, or New York, for example.
3. Japanese are correct, and polite. I don't want to pretend that all Japanese are polite and have good manners (I know it is not true, I see many impolite people here very day), but in general people are polite, helpful and correct.
I also don't want to say that Japanese are more polite than Western people, but I do feel that there is a different kind of politeness here. For example, people here in Japan will normally not hold open a door for someone else, and many Japanese do not cover their mouth with their hands when they cough or sneeze. These are both things that would be considered impolite in the West. But on the other hand I feel expressions of gratitude are much more polite here, and Japanese often think deeper about how they should behave in order to please (or not offend) other people.
You will have to accept that things are different here. But overall I think Japanese ar more polite (at least at the surface) than people in the West.
4. Great Japanese food. I think everyone has heard about Sushi and Sashimi by now. In Japan people refer to the recent increase in popularity of Japanese food abroad as "the Sushi boom". While I like Sushi and Sashimi, Japan has much more to offer. Take Japanese "nabe", "tonkatsu", all kinds of "donburi", noodles, Japanese sweets, osake, umeshu (plum whine), miso soup, all kinds of fish dishes, etc. Eating here is a pleasure, even at affordable prices.
5. Other culture and tourism. In Japan you can live in a wealthy country, with a living standard comparable to or higher than that of many Western countries, and at the same time enjoy an Asian culture.
This includes visits to various tourist spots all over the country. My personal number one favorite is of course Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. Kyoto has hundreds and hundreds of old temples, and is an absolute must for any visitor (long term or short term) of Japan. But there is much more. Nikko with its gorgeous and colorful temple complexes in the mountain forest, Kamakura, a "small Kyoto" with temples and a giant Buddha statue close to the beach, Yokohama with its China town and futuristic buildings, Nara with its huge Buddha statue and deers, and Tokyo, the capital of the country.
And don't forget that Japan is a very long country, with plenty of snow to ski in the north in Hokkaido, all the way to a tropical islands in the south in Okinawa.
But even without traveling around you can enjoy Japanese culture. There is Japanese food, as I mentioned above, and Japanese arts, caligraphy, Bonsai, Wabi and Sabi, Japanese traditional sports like Karate, Judo, Kyudo, and so on. There is Noh and Kabuki theater, some might like anime and manga.
There is something for everyone here.
Five Bad Things about Living in Japan
1. Japan is Japan, it will not change. As a foreigner here, you will feel frustrated. I can assure you, you will. Everything is nice and interesting at first, even the annoying things. But when you have to face them everyday, it quickly gets old and annoying. In Japan rules are rules, not because they are correct, but because they are rules. If conditions change and a rule or regulation is no longer valid, in the West we will change the regulations. Not in Japan. In Japan, nothing ever changes. Ever.
Japanese are used to this situation. They no longer question the need or validity of many stupid regulations. I guess they are trained not to complain about them during their childhood. But you, the foreign visitor are not. You will get frustrated, you will complain. Don't count on your complaints changing anything. The only reply you will get is "this is Japan" as if this explain everything, and if you keep complaining you will quickly be ignored completely.
2. Japan is not used to having foreigners in Japan. Japan has always been a country isolated from the rest of the world. This is one reason why Japan is not used to foreigners. Okay, that being said, this country was "opened" more than 100 years ago, so you would expect Japan being used to foreigners by now, right? Wrong. Please read again point 1 above: Japan does not change.
Of course I am exaggerating somewhat. There are improvements every now and then. Hey, some documents in universities are actually sometimes available in English, Chinese and Korean. And in big cities station names are written in Roman characters. But don't count on much more. This is Japan.
Count on people and shop keepers panicking when you ask them something, even if it is in fluent Japanese. Count on people asking your Japanese friend what you will have in restaurants. Count on people answering to your Japanese friend when it was you who asked a question. Count on banks not being able to open an account for you because they do not accept signatures, but only seals. Count on people thinking you are having parties at your house every single night (hey, this is how foreigners are like, right?), count on people thinking you have dozens of girlfriends, even when you don't even have a single one. Count on people treating you very suspiciously, land owners refusing you just because you are a foreigner.
3. Bad housing conditions. Japan is not a particularly small country, but a large part of it is mountains. This means that a large part of the population is living in a relatively small area of land. Expect your house here to be small, unless you are going to live in the countryside. Even more, if you are thinking about living in Tokyo: expect your house to be VERY small, and VERY expensive. Other cities are relatively okay compared with Tokyo, but still...
But there is more. Houses here, for some reason - is it because of the many earthquakes? - are not very nice. They have very thin walls, which means your room will have bad insulation. This can affect your quality of life in 2 ways:
1. You can often hear your neighbour's television or radio in your room. If you are unlucky you will hear it until late at night...
2. In the winter your room will be cold, and in summer it will be hot. Very hot. Even if you use the air conditioning, your room will be cold in winter and warm in summer. Turn off your air conditioner for half an hour and your room will have the same temperature as outside your room. This is not only because of the thin walls, but also because Japanese houses typically use single layer glass for the windows. Also, heating is often done using air conditioning. This means that warm air is blown into your room. Warm air is lighter than cold air, so the warm air stays on top in your room, and cold air stays at the bottom. Therefore, even though you keep your air conditioner on all the time, your feet will be cold.
But the best I kept for last... Japan has a system where you are required to give "key money", "thank you money", and a deposit to your landowner at the first month of your stay. This can get up to like 6 months worth of rent. Some of it you will get back when you move out, some you won't. This is probably a very old system, and all (non-land owner) Japanese hate it. But, "this is Japan", so don't count on it changing any time soon. So, your first months here are VERY expensive. In addition to that, land owners often want you to find a guarantor. If you can't pay the rent, the guarantor has to pay it. Of course, this has to be a Japanese person in 99% of the cases. How can you find someone willing to take this responsibility for you as a fresh foreigner in Japan? Your only hope in most cases are your university or company...
4. Japan discriminates against foreigners. From some of the points above, you might already understand that the Japanese system is not really foreigner-friendly. Yet, I would not call them "discriminating" yet, as they are often also tough and annoying for the Japanese themselves. However, there is more...
Look, in all countries there are racists. But in many countries racism is a crime which will be punished by law. Not in Japan. While most Japanese will treat you in a friendly way, when you get into trouble you have the system against you. Your rights are not guaranteed. This means that the police can question you without any need, and they can arrest you for a period of several weeks when they suspect you are guilty of a crime, without stating anything in detail. When you have troubles with your Japanese spouse, keep in mind that in most cases the law will protect the interests of the Japanese side. If your spouse runs of with your children, there is nothing you can do about it. Japan does not respect international treaties on such matters. Your basic rights will not be respected.
In Japan, even though individual Japanese will treat you in a friendly way, the general public opinion sees foreigners as potential troublemakers or even criminals. Therefore, you will often be treated as such. When you enter Japan you are photographed and your fingerprints are taken. Shop keepers and landlords can refuse to serve you "because you are a foreigner", and the general public will not think there is anything wrong with that "because there are many foreign criminals" or "foreign crime is rising". Quite on the contrary, many Japanese will argue that foreigners are often treated well, so they have no right to complain. In that sense Japanese have a very backward opinion concerning human rights and racial discrimination.
You are warned. As long as all is well all is well. But once you get into trouble, nothing is guaranteed in Japan. Expect more chances of being faced with racism if you are not Caucasian.
5. In Japan women are second class citizens. This is one that really annoys me. Women here are treated the way women were treated in the West 60 years ago. Women can go to university, but they will still end up making tea in a company, no matter how intelligent they are. Moreover, once married, Japanese women are more or less expected to quit their job.
Women here should be cute, behave almost like a child, and no more than that. Japan is still very much a men's society. This is also strongly reflected in the language, with some honorific forms being used only by women and not by men. Domestic violence is quite common here, but in many cases the women can't really do anything about it.
I have seen husbands yell "TEA!!!" and "BEER!!" when ordering their wives to bring them something to drink. I have seen male students treating female students like servants ("Here, hold my bag for me a while, will you?").
There, that was it, my honest opinion. he conclusion is that Japan has - like all countries - good and bad things. But there are many points where Japan needs improvement, and I am not holding my breath.
Also, with the recent economical problems, i honestly fear that things will become worse before they get better.
Anyway, I know that these are sensitive topics. If you want to comment on anything I wrote, do please do so. I am looking forward to any comments. But, if you disagree with some of my criticism regarding Japan, do please consider that I am living here for several years now, and I am likely to be living here for many years to come. Do not call me a "Japan basher", because I am not. What I wrote is my honest opinion.
@al on October 13, 2016:
Racism isn't criminalized. Acting on that racism is criminal in most western countries, but the problem is you first have to provoke it. And it is very hard to see into a man's heart.
Charlesduke on March 17, 2016:
My 4 years in jap experience 2012 to 2016 summary is its great experience for short term say less than a year . Such as training or exchange student. Otherwise i dont recommend longer especially for phd or working in jap. Company. Memtally u ll be tired, it ll drive u crazy and nervous. Whatever u make ur best in studying the language and being friendly . Majority here are like robots no hearts no feelings, its their country isolation, location and history to do with this. They r very closed and society. U ll feel very lonely and tired especially if u r single and far from foreign friends. Majority of jap. Dont know real friendship. They dont love tjeir own families, they silent passive and self centeted too much. Of course there r also some of great nice loving japanse people, but not majority. This society program its members during education years and norms to be good shakaijin , they make a robot with no petsonality or heart. Japan is hard u ll not feel u r living here , just isolated and people avoid u . Their topics are very shallow and boring. Advice dont come or come for short period. I m leaving soon .
Al on September 01, 2015:
"But in many countries racism is a crime which will be punished by law."
Name one country where racism is criminalized.
SpiritofWinter on June 18, 2015:
Hi, I'm a Canadian who went to Japan as an exchange student. Not going to lie, worst experience ever. I really wish I could've read this before I took the trip there, because, seriously, I was treated like trash. The whole thing about them being "respectful" is a lie. I can tell you that after being called a stupid white American over and over again when I AM A CANADIAN OH MY GOD
mikeydcarroll67 on May 15, 2015:
Definitely seems like you have your fair share of experiences on both sides of the fence! I kinda felt the same way when I went to China to live!
fukushima on April 19, 2015:
You all seem to have forgotten about Fukushima. Abe will be pleased.
ivywalker on November 24, 2014:
I lived in Yokohama and Tokyo for 2 and a half years, just returned to my country 2 months ago. I was there to study my Master degree (an International program, so my Japanese is not very good). I had a good time in Japan!!!!
I 100% agree with the author of this article. It's all true. But I think some comments in this post are very negative. Japanese are not racist, they are just "uncomfortable", "afraid" or even "scared" of foreigners. I think most of Asia countries are like that, not only Japan. I'm saying so because I'm a 25yo Asian girls and I'm from South East Asia.
To people who are planning to move to Japan, I have to say that you should prepare yourself to have a hard time in Japan. I have been a fan of Japan since I was 10, so I know quite well about Japanese culture, beside my country's culture has many things in common with Japanese culture, but I was still frustrated and irritated. Japan is a very closed society. Their inflexible bureaucracy killed me all the time. As the author said, Japan won't change, even if they don't like the regulation system (My Japanese friends complained a lot too). But, they are just like us, can do nothing. If you want to blame someone for the bad sides of Japan, blame their education system (what makes Japanese followers, not leaders) and politicians.
So, if you wanted to live in Japan for a few years or forever, you should do some research before deciding (the language, the culture, customs, etc.). Because it's Japan after all, it's not likely to change in the near future. And keep this in mind "It's Japan for Japanese, if you're in Japan, you have to follow its rules, Japan won't follow you".
Of course, different people will have different experience. It depends on who you are, what you do, where you stay and how you live. I didn't meet any serious problems during 2.5 years I was there. And surprisingly some Japanese didn't even realize I'm foreigner. I guess it's because my fashion, makeup, gesture, etc. are Japanese-inspired. But they did stare at me a lot when I spoke English to my friends. Besides, most of my friends are foreigners while Japanese friends are people who studied abroad, who studied foreign language, who travel around the world, therefore they are quite open-minded and eager to meet foreigners. Out of my circle of friends, I found Japanese are pretty reserved, detached, somehow selfish and fake. They tend to hide their real emotion and thoughts, girls act cute and sweet but I don't believe what they say are what they think, guys are kinda selfish and spoiled (by girls). I found it's very hard for me to grow a close friendship with "typical" Japanese. **Advice: Hang out with Japanese who can speak foreign language and have interest in other culture and foreigners, they tend to be more friendly, easy-going and open-minded, you will have fun with them. Stay with people who make you happy and ignore narrow-minded people who piss you off.**
- Before: I wanted to live in Japan forever.
- Now: I still want to come back to Japan, work there for 4-5 years, then move to other countries. To me right now, Japan is a wonderful country, it's worth visiting, staying for a few years to experience new things, but it's not a country to live forever, especially to build a family and raise children, as a foreigner.
Remember, living in Japan for years is different from visiting Japan for a few months. If you don't truly love Japan and tolerant enough, you may end up hating the country.
So, after reading all articles and comments, and you still love Japan and want to move to Japan, GO!!!! Follow your heart. You should go there and see it with your own eyes. It will be a unique experience for you!!
Ahh.. One more advice, if you want to enjoy Japan to the fullest, try to live like a local. Don't separate yourself from the local community. Go to places locals go, join activities locals join, try to follow trends (food, drinks, fashion, activities, etc. This is funny because trends in Japan keep changing so fast). For example, going to a concert, watching a butai (even if you don't completely understand Japanese, it will surely a nice memory for you), joining a one-day bus trip, buying yourself something cute (because Japan is all about cuteness), go home, look at that cute thing and laugh at yourself for buying it. Isn't it something you have never done in your country?? Sounds interesting??!! :)
That way, you can enjoy every single day you are in Japan and forget all difficulties.
Ted on October 04, 2014:
Japan has less crimes you say? Ahahahahaha , soon my friends. Very soon it'll change.
Nami on October 02, 2014:
Japan isn't as open as say, America. But they don't have to be. It's their own culture. I suggest people to just go visit japan. It's like when you read product reviews, people don't say the same things. It's hard to judge japan from these comments. There will be nice japanese people, but they will probably be more reserved than you're used to. But it's up to you how you feel about it.
Good luck people!
Syj on September 24, 2014:
I actually agree with the most things you say on this blog - I love Japan and is my number one on the list to live in but I am not surprised that Japanese (not all) discriminates openly whether this is about gender or race. I am korean and it is common in Asian culture for double standards and gender discrimination in a work environment. With the whole 'picking the Japanese side' when it comes to rights, I agree - it's just this blog is scaring me haha. The good list about Japan seems all fun and all but when it really matters like depending on your life, I guess the bad list is more important to consider...
SUSHI-MASTER on September 19, 2014:
Txgirl420 on September 16, 2014:
I am Caucasian, my father worked for Lockheed Martin which transferred us to Japan when I was younger. I lived in Nagoya, Japan for 5 years and went to an international school. I found it to be one of the greatest experiences of my life! Such a beautiful culture, so rich in amazing traditions. I long to go back at some point. It would be a mistake for any of you who have a desire to go there, not to. It's not a place I would have ever wanted to go on my own but I'm am positive I'm a better person for having been blessed enough to have gone and spent all that time there.
che on September 10, 2014:
Most native Japanese speakers naturally adopt ethnoracial attitudes and ideologies that are similar to ones found ubiquitously throughout East Asia: (China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan). This ideology and its resulting attitude can be summarized as the 'homogeneous ethnoracial nation' ideology. Most people who are white are from the West. Most languages spoken by these people are far different from East Asian languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese because there are NO cognates between the Western and East Asian languages. The result is that it is very hard for most members of these language communities to learn each other's languages. Especially for native English speakers, there is not much motivation to learn an East Asian language. This is mainly because of the continued spread of English as a global lingua franca: Most English speakers think they can, and can, travel the world speaking only English. The result is an East Asian public that assumes that anyone who is racially non-East Asian, (a racist assumption) is a foreigner, and foriegners not only only speak English, but should be exploited as English practice partners in the domestic contexts. As long as you don't work hard to learn one of the East Asian languages, you'll probably never notice the ethnoracial prejudice behind such discrimination. However, if you do, you will soon begin to notice that such ignorant attitudes are shared by most of the public in East Asia, and you will only ever be regarded as a foreigner (who should be treated as a foreigner), and the commonest manifestation of this is, again, using English. If you have strong ethical principles and become aware of such discrimination, it is hard to stay in any one East Asian context for an extended amount of time because of the resulting frustration and loneliness from almost constantly not being treated as an equal member of society by the dominant ethnic/racial demographic in each society.
sa on September 06, 2014:
by reading the article every one had lots of experience, which making me really nervous. even if i'm nervous i really like to see the country by my own eyes. the one's who had bad experience you had really tough experience which i really admire that a lot. when something bad happens you have three choices, you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.... the pain you guys had you can't forget but the memories you had can't forget too......i really like japan and planning to go there....sorry for my poor English...
Lucy on September 03, 2014:
I have enjoyed reading the original post and the accompanying comments - I lived close to Fukuoka in Kyushu a 4 years ago, for one year. I think that in itself is interesting, that I have come across this page after thinking about my experience again. The experience as had lasting effects.
I want to add on, that I agree - and I appreciated the comments on women being treated as a second class citizen..this was my experience as a woman in Japan. Really I think the underlying thing that is frustrating as a foreigner in Japan is the undisguised inequality you experience. I have known number of foreigners who have lived 10 years or more in Japan, they are still treated differently (even with fluent Japanese, cultural and social respect and awareness).
Yes you are treated with politeness and consideration, as it is socially expected. (Honne and Tatamae) - this shouldn't be confused with genuine respect.
My first job I was working as an Assistant language teacher in a junior high school, unbeknownst to me, the teacher I was working with had complained to my company behind my back, all while giving me presents and being overly polite. She called in the board of education to view me teach a lesson (For the record, I had a good lessson and the board were happy with me. Anyway, the teacher had done all this, without saying a word to me (still acting sweetly towards me all the while) - I found out she had done this because someone from my company told me.
Just wanted to share that as an example, of how this can be contradictory and harmful to a foreigner, not used to the culture.
Living in Japan was probably the hardest experience of my life thus far.
But not all experiences are fun of course, and it truly helped me progress and develop interesting awareness of the ideas of culture a society everywhere. There is no right or wrong culture, and the psychological impact of a society in general is fascinating. - Teaching English was great fun in the end. I also became aware that I was interested to peruse studies in Social Work after I left Japan, due to my experience there. - So in conclusion it has left an undeniable mark on me, and I don't regret the experience for a minute.
My advice: if you have a drive to go to Japan to live, do it - you can always go back to your home country and you can read other people's online posts to get an idea, but in the end you'll have your own individual experiences and feelings towards life in Japan. An awesomely unique experience and study of people living life in a way completely different to anything I ever imagined. - that in itself is worthwhile I reckon. All the best!
kg on September 01, 2014:
I'm Japanese.I almost agree with your article.
and i saw some comments about ''racist'' ''racism'' so i wanna explain it.
this is just my opinion,
As you know, mostly Japanese can't speak English.it's mean mostly Japanese can't communicate with English speaker.
And Japanese are really afraid to take a mistake due to Japanese silly education and stupid Japanese rules.(Maybe it's difficult to understand to you)
So some people want to avoid foreigners in order to avoid taking a mistake.
it's not racism.just stupid...
And regarding ''Japanese is not used to foreigners.''
It is true.When i was in a school,I had never seen foreigners in my school.(it's not so long time ago)
Every students and teachers are Japanese.there parents,ground parents are also Japanese.How can we be used to foreigners?
anyway i hope many people to be able to enjoy Japan life.
Andrew on August 30, 2014:
Earlier this year I visited Tokyo and Nagoya to see two of my friends who are now living in Japan. What I found in Japan didn't shock me, but how immediately you notice it did. This being said, I'm a 6'3, extremely caucasian Canadian so I didn't exactly do myself any favours. People generally would stare at me, or be extremely cautious towards me. I always walked alongside one of my friends who spoke English and Japanese fluently but we would converse as we walked in English. This was typical met with glares. Trains were an absolute nightmare as they aren't built for anyone taller than 5'8. All of this being said there was one thing that severely annoyed me while i was in Japan. Both of my friends are only half Japanese although both being born in Okinawa. They were treated as cautiously as me and they had lived in Japan their entire life. Workplaces would hire them, but were often hostile towards them. People treated them the same was as me, as if they were foreigners. Generally my reception of Japan was that if you want to visit there be prepared for a country unlike any you have seen and be prepared to be different.
Chibi Usa mama on August 05, 2014:
I lived back and forth between Japan and the USA since I was young. I'm from a small town in Japan, and always wanted to visit somewhere different from where I came from as a child. Each places I lived were different from the others in both countries. Moving from a small town in Japan to a small town in the USA, I did not feel so much of the cultural difference. I have a unique family and religious background compared to the most of Japanese people lived in Japan at that time, and it may contributed to how I felt. I had bigger culture shock moving to Tokyo as a teenager. It took me a while to get used to the change, but loved living there. I was planning to live and work there forever, but my school, jobs and my family situations brought me back to the USA. I was a permanent resident in the US, so I was able to work in both countries anytime. I'm married and settled in the USA now. There are pros and cons in everywhere I lived. I lived in the cities and the towns of 3 different States and visited many more in the US. I lived in a small town and a big city, and visited many more cities and towns in Japan. Each places were unique in their own cultures, dialects and people behave and think differently about certain things, even though they live in the same country. When some people talk about Japan, or any other countries, they maybe talking about the specific place they lived in and the people they met there. There are good people and bad people in any countries. The experiences living abroad could be unique to each of us. I'm trying to teach my children good things I learned from living in both countries. It is very interesting to read everyone here's opinions and experiences. Thank you!
Dennis on July 13, 2014:
There's no way to live in Japan if you're from overseas, especially from India... No offence
b lue on June 10, 2014:
The original author of the article is correct. Also the posters, Keith in Kobe and Fomergaijin are pretty informative as far as people living in Japan beyond the the 'honeymoon' phase (or when the novelty of being in a unique culture wears off). My take after 10 years here? It is all about appearance without substance in Japan...the superficiality is stunning. It is hard to connect on a deeper level, even with knowing the finer points of the ambivalent/imprecise nature of the language. I have to debunk frequently perpetrated myths about the Japanese:
hard/efficient workers - nowhere in the World have I seen do people turn 8 hours of work into 12-14 hours, at the expense of their family lives!
polite - maybe if you are asking for directions and are lost, they will hand hold you to your destination because they can hardly put two English words together to tell you the place your looking for is just around the corner. other than that, i have experienced open hostility and rude behavior, not offering up seats to old folks and pregnant women is something i frequently see, guess what, it is the foreigner that most likely to do that. Also, passive aggressive behavior is the norm here.
well educated - um, good rote memory is what they mean. good at beating tests. forget critical thinking or independent thinking.
clean - maybe the cities are spotless, the beautiful country side is littered with old household appliances. Mt Fuji, their country's icon, is an absolute and utter mess.
Xeryus on June 08, 2014:
This article is more than four years old. Do all the points still apply today?
I am an Indian male, and will like to move to and start a life in Japan. The place I have my eyes on is Denenchofu located in southern Tokyo because of its suburban-like appeal.
I will love to land a job as a web-developer. I have no clue the possibility for a foreigner to achieve something like this even with qualifications and experience. Can anyone shed some light on how difficult it is for a foreigner to attain a job other than teaching english?
Matt on June 05, 2014:
Well john looks like I will be in bed a lot then now I want to go there even more
Mike on June 02, 2014:
I am an up and coming Navy officer. I want to live in Japan and all of the comments and the post have helped shape my decision. Thanks everyone. Who knows maybe after my navy life I can assist japan on its path to making virtual reality a reality.(If you have seen SAO)
Faye on June 02, 2014:
I lived in Osaka, Japan for almost 2 months when I was in high school as an exchanged student. I'm a Black girl and surprising, in the time I was there, I can honestly say I did not experience any direct racism from the Japanese. Tho I did get alot of stares and looks, but my Japaneses was terrible, so maybe I was oblivious to any comments people may had said. Alot of people thought I was there to model because of my height and figure, I was even hit on by some guy. I rode the train by myself and never felt like people didn't want to stand or sit near me because I was black. I even went to a hair salon, and they offered to do my hair (which is thick, long and curly) and even tho it took forever, they were super gentle with my hair and were always complimenting my hair. Even tho most people I did befriend were other host students from different countries, I did connect with some Japaneses teens who made effort to socialize with me in English, since my Japaneses was that of a baby. My overall opinion was that I felt people were more curious because I was so different and rare to see in person rather than being negative towards me, but who knows I could be wrong. The ironic part was that I experienced racism and exclusion for the first time in my life from the other American students I came with rather than the people of the country I was a foreigner to. Isn't that funny.
John on May 29, 2014:
I recently went to Japan and it was a blast. Not sure if I would live there, but I would certainly work there as a post-doc for a year or two.
The first sensation I got when I arrived was, "Wow, this is different. Very different." From Narita airport traveling to Shibuya you are literally the only white person/foreigner (unless you take Narita Express). Then came the feeling of tremendous isolation. "Damn, I'm the only white person on this train again?" Then I met some Japanese people and we all hung out, went to restaurants, etc. Had a blast and felt at home. I highly encourage using meet-up groups. There's plenty of Japanese people that want to meet foreigners. This is your ticket to not invent the idea in your mind that you are alone in Japan because you are absolutely not. Needless to say, if you aren't outgoing in your own country, you won't magically be in Japan.
Haha, I had fun in Japan... Roppongi is a bigger international area. A little trashy, but easy to pick up women. They practically throw themselves at you. If you're white and women find you attractive in your own country, you will absolutely kill it in Tokyo. Girls giggle at you on trains. Some girls eye fuck you like crazy. You basically feel like a celebrity. I even saw some neckbeard weaboos at least makeout with Japanese girls way out of their league. That would never happen in America.
To the Indian girl. Japanese people are very friendly and helpful toward foreigners. I've heard that some Japanese people are more racist toward darker skin, but someone else that has lived there would know better than I would on that. You'll be fine on making friends. Not all girls there are super girlish or have strict preferences for skin color. I would do meet-up groups if you ever go to Japan and meet Japanese people that way (at least at first). I mean, some girls dress up pretty bizarre (see Harajuku station). I doubt they would be phased by a tomboy.
Sonia on May 28, 2014:
Shit!!!! i am a 15 year old indian girl and I am in love with japan since i was 4.
I've heard that japanese people are friendly towards foreigners at some blogs,but in the majority blogs I've read,japanese consider indians as smelly people and now you say they're more racist towards Indians than caucasians.
i lov'd to make japanese friends(girls),but ive heard that girls are mostly super girlish and they prefer pale skinned people,so i dont think girls over there will like a tomboyish and wheatish girl.
what do you have to say guys??????
Garrison K. on April 28, 2014:
Yo Mat V, it depends on where you're stationed. If you're in Yokohama or Okinawa, it should be fine. Expats tend to set up shop around the bases, and if you're in places like Roppongi out in Tokyo, there tend to be more foreigners than elsewhere. I know that some of my friends who joined the Navy want to stay there after their service is up. Some places do discriminate against Gai-Jin, but there are always plenty of other places that don't. It'll be a pretty interesting experience, so make the most out of it.
mat v on April 25, 2014:
so what about us military personal moving there how would they be treated and i'm Caucasian
JDM on April 22, 2014:
I'm afraid I have to agree with your post.. My story is a little different than typical,but it took me only around 6 months to realize all off this, leading me to search for other people's experiences which are more less the same..This is now hard since I am kinda at the point when I have to decide to start building my life here or not ( or at least stay some time)..
I also have to mention that I am a guy from Europe ,which doesn't feel like home at his home.
Angella on April 04, 2014:
I have many questions to ask about Japan, anyone would to share with me?
Nina on March 15, 2014:
So, in the end, Japanese is more of a place you would go on holiday, not a place you woukd live?
Konu Hong on February 02, 2014:
Worldtravellers on February 01, 2014:
Has anyone else experienced the 'no room' in Japanese restaurants in Kyoto on a Saturday night? We only ask because we went to four different Japanese restaurants tonight at around 7pm and each one said 'no room' even though we saw empty tables (granted, they may have been reserved), which is what we initially thought, but after the third 'no room' business with visably many empty tables and the door being immediately closed so we had to shuffle back, we were hungry and frankly getting a bit impatient with this game. In two places we asked 'how long to wait for table?' And in the first place initially we were told 30mins, we thought ok, as the place seemed nice and we were willing to wait around, when the waitress then said, 'maybe hour now', so we turned and left. Finally we thought we should go to the restaurant underneath our hotel, as it had be advertised everywhere in the hotel, and surely we would be allowed in there. Again we were met with 'no room', even though people in front if us and behind us were getting seated (yes, they probably had reserved), so we explained that we were staying upstairs in the hotel and the waiter said 'wait one minute', came back and showed us to our table. The 45mins that we were there, the table beside us was empty. Why the 'no room' thing, when there clearly was room?! We are foreign as you may have guessed, but I really don't like to think that that has anything to do with it. Anyone experienced this? What are your thoughts?
Assumpta on January 08, 2014:
You ll enjoy ur stay in japan only if u learn hw to speak fluently Japanese language.so first n foremost when u enter japan register urself with d international study centre in ur area.
gurdip singh on December 25, 2013:
I wanna do study in japan but also i want earn money for my family so what u think
Chris Ortiz on November 21, 2013:
I am guessing you know how to speak Japanese by now. I just have some questions I would like to ask. 1) Why did you move to japan. 2) What do you do in Japan. 3) Was the Japanese language hard to learn? 4) Do you own a house or do you rent an apartment and if you rent an apartment do you get respect from the land owner and from the people around you? 5) Do you have a favorite food that they make and what is the name of the place you get it from. 6) Have you made a lot of friends in japan that are and aren't Japanese? 7) Are there restaurants or small food shops that are owned by any american? 8) Is there any populated English restaurants in Tokyo or at least where you live? 9) Are there any kind of gangs you have to worry about, if so what do they call themselves. 10) Would you recommend your friends or family to move there? 11) Do you own a car, if so what make is it. 12) Have you ever been on any trains on which they had to bring out the "pushers" to push people into the train because there were just so many people that the there was just no room? 13) Do they have people that you can pay and they will spend the day with you and help you out? 14) Just for the record i am not racist but since there are racist people out there and the laws in Japan don't have anything to do with racism, would someone actually be able to walk down the street with a KKK uniform on and not get arrested? Just wondering because this guy that didn't even live in our town wore a KKK uniform and was walking down the street when the cops pulled up and arrested him on the spot. (btw I live in New Jersey, in America) So I was just really curious about moving to japan and after reading all the bad things people have to say about it, I am starting to change my mind. Ohh and lastly where would you recommend someone from america to go at night. Where would be the crazy cool places to go. Anyway, if you do read this and reply, I thank you. Have a nice day!
bahar on November 18, 2013:
i know its mean but when westerners are afraid of racism... its kinda refreshing
bahar on November 18, 2013:
i know its mean but when westerners are afraid of racism... its kinda refreshing
Tili on November 10, 2013:
Experience the place for yourself. If you like it, stay..if you don't go. Life is short......very short. Take each experience, as a petal of the flower called life.
Sam Vin on November 10, 2013:
Hello i am only 15 years old and i want more about the live in japan, because i desided to live there i need your opinion. Is it a good idea or not ? Pls i need the answer :/
mona on November 08, 2013:
yeah rozeana is right i agree with her to because i an fan of japan too!
marry on November 07, 2013:
yeah i agree with roozeana
rozeana on November 07, 2013:
look here i am a fan of going to Japan and i do not think your saying is trie until i go there my self that's just your opinion okay! i may not know much about Japan ,but i am not listing to your words that you have to about it so i am reading anymore of that stuff you made me so mad i really really want to say a bad word!
Marvin on October 30, 2013:
Japan is great
Formergaijin on October 06, 2013:
And that's why I moved back to my home country after quite some years living in nihon, fluent in nihongo too.. Believe me, despite the relatively unsafe, unpolished state my country's in at the moment, I'm more than happy to be back with the rest of the world as a member of a diverse, multicultural, free and individual society. I felt so cut off in japan. even with other friends around: we were cut off from all the latest trends, news, music, issues etc, and we knew it.. and that's why we spent our leisure time drinking like fish in small bars and singing the same old songs in dusty karaoke rooms, dreading the feeling of alienation we'd feel the moment we got on the train for the commute to work the next morning.. Listening to parrot-talk "weather, food, money, weather, food, money" among japanese colleagues all day, catching snide racist side-comments by japanese passers by on the way home, watching xenophobic news or impossibly stupid comedy on japanese tv, internet, then sleep.. Needless to say I fell into a numb depressed state for what must have been months at a time.
I fell out of love with Japan, or rather I realised that the love I thought I had was childish infatuation, and definitely was not one that was reciprocal. So I judged what was better for myself and I came home to face the music of my erroneous decision so many years before when I was younger and had less to worry about. And what I realised upon arriving back in my home country was that there was no music to face, I had led myself to believe a lie while I lived away. It was like a lot of the reasons I based for my life in Japan were illusions. Being home I was being appreciated as a fellow human being again, no one thought living in Japan was sugoi, no one refused to sit next to me on the train, no one assumed anything about me anymore. I was no more a feared, gawked at, smirked at and isolated gaijin as I was over there. I was just me again. The real me.
Anyone who feels cheated by life in Japan, or wherever they've moved to searching for greener pastures, it's tough to do at first but just bite the bullet and admit to yourself you made a mistake moving to such a place that doesn't value your presence, where your money doesn't go far and your security is always at threat, settle your issues there ASAP and return back to your homelands, where you know you belong. You'll ultimately not waste any more time merely existing in a place that offers such ammentally-conflicting or daily-frustrating life, instead of actually living.
えいみ on September 17, 2013:
I agree with pretty much everything you've said, but I feel like every time I say it to either a Japanese person or a foreigner, there's this weird change in atmosphere and it becomes awkward because they don't want to talk about it... So bizarre... I hate when people don't or can't name or acknowledge the truth of what is going on. They alternately accuse me of not understanding the Japanese mind, or of not being used to living here, or else they completely ignore me and start talking about something only slightly related to get off the topic. It makes me sick. Thank you for sharing your honest opinion.
jabel on May 04, 2013:
well , great comments
i'm Saudi and lived in many different countries including Australia,u.s.a , England and japan .As a foreigner i felt the same way in each country except in japan it was nice experience comparing to the others .they are polite and they have history and culture that anyone must study it in order to judge them . thanks
snarj on April 24, 2013:
i hate japan
NVM on April 01, 2013:
Thanks for taking your time to actually discuss this. Japan has always been a country I've been dying to visit. After reading your opinion and the comments, I've decided to learn Japanese fluently before going there.
Tony on March 28, 2013:
I get a lot of valuable information for me to consider whether I should aim to settle in Japan or not ...Thanks a lot
nb: every country has their own ups and down...oh well..
pepli on March 16, 2013:
wow it must be very hard livin' in japan , great article , im from indonesia (southeast asian) , after reading your article i have to think 100 times to continue my study there ... thanx for the article...
kai on February 04, 2013:
I'll be honest. I've always had a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture, living in the UK and abroad a bit one tends to get a "everything is greener on the other side" vibe when it comes to imagining living in other countries and Japan was no different. Plus I was learning the language and had many Japanese friends at university.
But i'm gonna be honest.. everything you've said both the good and bad things are 100% true. Yes, people may have had different experiences, some a lot more positive but with my own experience living in japan in mind i can say i've come to respect and admire the culture for what it is and admit to myself that the idea of living "forever" in japan at some point was just a fantasy of mine. I LOVE the culture, i really do. But to be treated like a second class citizen and if your japanese is not good enough in order to just communicate, well.. it's off putting after a while.
As a woman too, I feel both warmly safe and also upset because the way a lot of Japanese women act is just to follow the crowd and be second to the men. They accept this to the point they don't question. And that's probably my main issue with Japan: the lack of free-thinking and continual acceptance for the status quo. It means everything runs smoothly (fantastic for transport) but also means everything becomes stuck in a rut and they will never change. This is a country that was run under the same government for more than 50 years after all.
Now Japan is really BEAUTIFUL. Has lots of differences in the seasons. I would like to visit Hokkaido and Okinawa, possibly Fukuoka too. I guess the only place I felt mildly accepted was Tokyo because there were other foreigners there too. Also I was staying with Japanese friends from university so it was much easier to integrate. If I didn't have them though.. well, I'm not sure what I would have done. I know England (where I live) is not perfect but I appreciate a lot more now the acceptance for all kinds of people and the freedom to express oneself however you like without getting too much stick for it.
One day I will go back to Japan, maybe after learning more of the language. I just hope it becomes more open. It's a really fun and interesting place!
allie on February 02, 2013:
Yeah, Japan is a weird case, exciting in a positive and a negative way. From what I've read in comments sounds like a very annoying country to live in. I could't stand to be treated that way, like in some Nazi or Soviet disciplined army kinda thing. Human rights is a sensitive subject and in this regard Japan sounds pretty "Asian", no different from Bangladesh or India. I don't get it why are Japanese so bothered about modern looks and short skirts and fashion if it's all so stagnant. The combination of super-cool and beautiful (red maple trees and mountains) and this annoying other stuff is such a torturing combination! And one more thing: why does Japan government (embassies in foreign countries) act so peaceful and friendly and try to promote their culture, art, exhibitions blah, blah, blah abroad like super restlessly. What are we going to do with that? They provoke us into coming there and then they treat us like some Chinese war ships...I'm so angry!
eslinsider on January 21, 2013:
Some of these things are in other Eastern Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, and China. Korea is what I am reminded of. It is also very rigid and many people are not welcoming to outsiders. Racism and preference for white skin is all over Eastern Asia.
Michelle on November 20, 2012:
The comments on here are very racist. Especially the one saying that they Japanese breed like rabbits. WTF is wrong with people?! I find more people talk crap behind the safety of a computer screen than when they are dealing with people face-to-face. Pathetic.
Austin on November 19, 2012:
@Alan What Racism? I didn't see any racism.
Alan on November 12, 2012:
Seriously what's with all the racism against the Japanese in these comments?
Karma on October 26, 2012:
What a wonderful day it will be: When the technology to easily reveal the identities of anonymous Internet posters finally exists (especially all those whom operated under the supposition their comments would remain unidentifiable forever).
It's certainly coming; hopefully sooner than later.
Tobin on September 26, 2012:
Ryan! I was really encouraged by what you said. Ive been to 55 countries, Japan has remained one of my favorites.
I often felt like the service and people in tokyo and Kyoto were friendly.
I also wonder how the techno akihabara generation will chance the countries attitude toward foreigners.
What would you recommend for someone planning to move there b themselves or for a job?
Keith in Kobe on July 14, 2012:
Your spot on with all your points, i run a cafe/bar with my wife (japanese) and she dosnt play the japanese game.
Ive travelled a lot and lived in 3 other asian countries, Japans is a great safe place to live, its beautiful and unique.
Running a bar i see the japanese at the only time they have there guard down (DRUNK) non of my customers when asked when they are on there own "get it" why the japanese are the way they are. But if asked in a group no one can answer.
For those who have read A Brave New World, for me this is Japan in so many ways, i have moments when i hate there small minded opinion/programming but in general i pity them for the blind following of a system imposed on them since a very young age through education/indoctrination.
I feel if you are a reasonably superficial outside you can deal with Japan easily and get on but for those of us with a deeper outlook dealing with the general public is a chore to say the least.
Since WW2 the population have been given a complex/s and dumbed down like an Orwellian project, sex/immoral behavior is not an issue as long as you dont get caught everything for the majority is on a superficial level which for me is almost a soulless level, again they have been made this way like in my opinion. Men as in the west have been demasculinized to the point where if i dont laugh i would cry and old woman (obachuns) hold all the social power cos they have played the game longer than any1else.
Its a culture of blind following, no logic, no critical thinking, those of you who are here must know "Honne and tatemae" people who want to understand this place more should youtube the following:
John pilger: japan behind the mask
A Life in Japan
Thats my rant over, humans are being de humanised in my opinion the world over and its easier to see it here when you are a "gaijin".
On a closing note, my wife and i are very happy with our lives as we do not play the game and do not have to "fit" in as we are self employed and use logic rather than programmed responses.
over an out.
Keith in Kobe.
Hassan on June 25, 2012:
yes' im agree with you
Ryan on June 15, 2012:
My friend told me he was once almost-mugged in Tokyo: He's walking back to his apartment (he's 27 years old and a Gaijin), and a man approached him saying in Japanese "Okane onegaishimasu = money please" (my friend speaks Japanese quite well, but we can all agree there are some instances where its good to pretend you don't... for instance if you're being mugged, or the smoking police are trying to write you a ticket for not smoking your ciggs in the proper area, etc). He responded in American-sounding basic Japanese that he didn't understand. The would-be mugger took out his own wallet and pulled out some money and demonstrated that my friend should do the same and give him the money. Again my friend responded that he didn't understand. So the would-be mugger put his money away and said "arigato konbanwa = thanks, have a good night" and simply walked away.
Mind you also, my friend has been living in Tokyo for over 9 years and this is the WORST thing that's happened to him...
Zzze on June 10, 2012:
I was born and raised in Japan. My family is all Japanese. Yet, I have felt those things you mentioned above since I came back to this country last year after six years of higher education in the West.
I have had hard time working for a company in this culture. I was relieved by reading your post. Thank you for writing it.
Ryan on June 05, 2012:
I love Japan. Lived there a couple times for a couple years each and I think everyone that loves Japan has at least one story or a turning point if you will that creates their passion for that country. Here's my story: So I was partying in the greater Shibuya area (a little bar past 109 on the right side, right before Citibank turn left down the little street its called Q-bar, not sure if its still there, great mini-jazz bar...) anyway, lost track of time and made it back to the station 5-minutes after the last train left, gate was down and I was SOL. So I did what any good drunk person does and sat down next to the entrance and passed out. I woke up the next morning around 5am with a little plastic bag on my lap - inside was my wallet and a little note in Japanese. Note - NOTHING was missing from my wallet, cash, credit cards, ID, photocopy of my passport (don't carry it around, make a photocopy of it). I brought the note to my Japanese language class that day (couldn't read it as it was in Kanji) and had my teacher translate it for me, it read: "I found your wallet near you, I put it in this bag so you wont lose it, maybe you drink too much, be safe." My question to all those people out there trash-talking about Japan is: where else in the WORLD would that happen?
Sure there are some places that Gaijin (non-Japanese) aren't allowed, oh well, go somewhere else! There are 160,000+ restaurants and bars in Tokyo alone, chances are if there's a bar that doesn't allow foreigners in it, there's at least 50 other places on the same block or even in the same building that are just as tasty or chill.
I feel safer in Japan than anywhere else in the world. There's practically no guns (even the patrolling police don't carry them) and its a 0-strike policy on drugs for the whole country.
I have a Japanese friend that came to NYC (where I'm at) about a month ago to study ESL, the second week he's here he gets mugged right outside of his dormitory at knife-point. He had to get his pocket dictionary out to chase after the muggers and please ask for his school books back because what do they need with ESL books and that he had a test the next day to study for.
In Tokyo alone you can go to a different restaurant/bar for each of breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week for your whole life and never repeat a visit - talk about variety.
There's NO gratuity/tipping. Japanese people give good service because that's what you should do, not because there is a tip in it for them. People have chased me down the block for leaving more than what was asked for on the bill, and if you pay by credit card there's not place to write down how much you want to add as a tip.
To summarize - Every country has its ups and downs, but having visited over 88 different countries and having lived in 6, I can easily say that Japan has way more ups than downs.
Jon on May 20, 2012:
We should nuke this shitty country again.
Edward on May 04, 2012:
I agree somewhat. I lived in Osaka for only 9 months, but I could sense an underlying resentment towards foreigners AT TIMES lol. That being said, most people were very friendly, if just on the outside. I also felt that making true friends over there was difficult, but my Japanese wasn't the best, so I'm almost certain that that was the main reason, not something the Japanese had against me personally.
I think that if one has a strong grasp on the language and understands the common courtesies quite well, they'll do fine. And of course, the most important thing, is to be willing to take an interest in them, and be willing to learn. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, that will remain a constant. Give genuine respect, and you'll get some back. Just my thoughts
American on May 03, 2012:
I am an American ex-Japanese employee and with a Japanese ex-wife. Truer words were never written. Not worth the pain just to experience "something different". Other than being different, tell me what this isolated country has contributed to the long-term advancement of the world. Cars?
Ahmed on March 31, 2012:
interesting!! thxs for posting!
Gershon on March 27, 2012:
I'm a Jew with Middle-Eastern physical features and have plans to move to Japan.
samuel welsh on March 18, 2012:
I live in tokyo and Im frm nz ,its true most of what you say,however the racist in japan are few in number,we had idot right wingers some racist cops and shopkeepers apart from that no real racist and most foriginers are treated well by japanese people,more understanding englsh and I think that the racism above will disapear.
DB on February 20, 2012:
I'm fairly sure that the dull buildings and ugly urban sprawl contribute to the high suicide rates. It's only my own theory, but people in a 1st world country shoudn't have to live in that environment, even if they're not aware of it. Look at problem areas in the UK. Which would anyone say was more pleasant - Salford or York? I hope they get it sorted, because they're lovely people and don't deserve to be treated like this (and neither do I!)
Frozen Jap on December 11, 2011:
Hi, I am a Japanese male and found your article very interesting.
Your opinion especially critisism about our culture supported by years of observation points out many truths - though some others I believe are misunderstood.
Still it is very interesting to know how we are observed in the viewpoint of a foreigner in Japan. I have no hostility against you and your opinion. Thanks a lot.
Asukasi on March 12, 2011:
An excellent read! I have considered living in japan for a long time now.. But my questions are, is it hard learning japanease? I'm a typical swedish guy and i'm pretty good at english, can you live there without knowing japanease. I will probally move there after i have a doctor degree, it's my dream becouse i love the japanease culture!
Sass Alessi on February 02, 2011:
Thank you for your Top Five Good & Bad vibes in Japan, very interesting. It's a country i would kill to live in, i adore the place, the people, the culture, the very beautiful ladies, and so on. Basically i love the place!
I'm a practising Soto Zen Buddhist so have huge Japanese influences on me daily. I've attempted to locate English Speaking Radio Stations who are looking for Presenters but seem to have difficulty doing this task. Please, if you know of anywhere i could gain information about this my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you could send me links, i would be incredibly grateful to you. I really would love to settle in Japan, so, thank you for your help. Thank you for your article, very honest, very interesting, i enjoyed immensely.
Watashi wa yumi.
JD on August 21, 2010:
What do you expect from a country where people breed like rabbits and live on top of each other like rats in a sewer pipe?
Japanese are far from civilised. They are a cruel, racist, selfish, ignorant, superficial race.
All the emphasis on manners and cultural rituals is fake... I've seen Japanese people do things that are considered crimes in my country and they have no concerns about it either.
Most men treat their women like shit.
Most women dress like sluts and will offer themselves to you after a few drinks or a night out.
They are about 60 years behind when it comes to personal hygiene.
Seriously the amount of people I encounter with bad teeth, bad breath, body odour, dirty clothes is surprising.
They still smoke in most diners and restaurants and even close to wear food is prepared and served.
I.e. They waste all this time going to pray at these temples and shrines and practicing these out dated rituals which make little or no sense in modern society...
Then most of them get drunk every night, smoke like troopers and have no consideration for passive smoke and the harm it poses to children and other adults.
Most of them have the morals of an alley cat. If you venture into the pink areas of any city and visit an adult book store or video library. You will see some of the most sick, twisted, perverted material ever....
As for the infrastructure... Well most of it is aging and from the 50s onwards. They have no sense of urban planning. Just go to the observation deck of any major city and you will see an ugly urban sprawl of concrete and endless towers and power line spaghetti...
At ground level the air pollution is pretty bad and many places smell like sulphur dioxide.
I could go on, but I think you get the message by now....
By all means come and have a great holiday, but I wouldn’t trade living here with any civilised western country.
And by the way... There are literally truck loads of Euro trash, ignorant , noisy Chinese and Koreans too... So you might not get the cultural experience you were planning for if you stick to the tourist traps.
And don’t assume the Japanese are all cashed up either... Guys be warned, there are plenty of gold digging bitches that are ready to burn you hard earn cash for little return.
luvintkandtj from USA on June 07, 2010:
great hub. I'm currently living in tokyo and I can say I agree with most of what you said.
Kyushu_Jaded on May 05, 2010:
Time and time again you here that both Japan and the Japanese are unique- so much so that there MUST be a distinction of inner and outer group. Respecting the rules of division, taboo, and conservatism yet at the same time .
How would the thorny issue of the Ainu be fitted into this racial profiling - if it would be allowed into any form of wholesale and acceptable debate in the first place?
Houji2009 on April 29, 2010:
I have to agree with number 4 ending,some of my friends who is Foreign from India and a french student were treated differently because of their race
Caucasian were treated better than other race because we still carry the Colonial Mentality after the WW2
I do felt pity for the indian guy though,eventhough he is much smarter and charismatic that the French dude...He still have no friends,NOT a single Japanese friend
KP on April 13, 2010:
I have lived here for 1 and half years..only advice, dont come here as a bachelor...haven't seen any bachelor surviving for more than a year....its really frustrating...
Akgt on April 09, 2010:
I am now in the university in Kobe and I feel that everything is tough. Love it! I so agree! Thanks for the blog,