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Why Japan Is The Best Country To Work And Live Abroad

by Viola
Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

For two years, I lived in Japan as a foreign English teacher. I got the opportunity to work there with the JET Programme and had one of the best times of my life. The “land of the rising sun” has so much to offer. Here are some reasons why I believe Japan is the best country to work and live abroad.




 

It has the kindest People

Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

I learned a traditional Japanese dance from Sendai region called Suzume Odori. This was my awesome team.

Of course every country has their share of good and bad apples. Japan overall however, has the kindest people I’ve ever met. A big part of Japanese culture is a value called “omoiyari”, which means being compassionate and considerate towards others. Even as a foreigner, I felt accepted by the local community. I regularly experienced random acts of kindness while living in Japan. I will always remember the teenager who walked me to my destination when I was lost on the street, the old woman who gave me an umbrella when I was caught in the rain, the coworker who volunteered to drive me to the airport, and so many others who touched my heart in unforgetable ways.

 

It’s very safe

Did you know that kids walk to school by themselves by grade one of elementary school in Japan? Yes. That is unimaginable back in my home country Canada. Yet that’s normal in Japan because it’s so safe. The crime rate is super low here. Two days before I wrote this article, I lost my wallet and phone at a subway station in Sendai. I was panicking because I had A LOT of cash and all my IDs in that wallet. While I was totally freaking out, my Japanese friends helped me make some phone calls. It turned out that someone found my things and handed them in to the station Lost & Found. Nothing was missing from my wallet. Not even a single coin. Japan…you are the best.

 

Its culture is incredibly cool

Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony

From traditional practices such as tea ceremonies, martial arts, kimono wearing, to its modern influences in fashion, cuisine, music, and arts, Japanese culture is so multifaceted. When you live in Japan, you can truly immerse yourself and see many aspects of this unique nation that you can’t experience as a tourist. I have tried everything from learning how to make soba noodles to calligraphy. And there is nothing like festival season in Japan. One of my favorites is the Aoba festival in Sendai, where the whole city is alive with food and performances. Thousands of people dance in the street forming a giant parade (Yes I was one of those people). It is simply incredible.

 

You may also like:  Awesome Things to do in Sendai Japan – The Ultimate List

 

It’s super convenient

If you’ve already been to Japan before, you would have noticed how crazy efficient everything is. The vending machines everywhere (And they work! Unlike the ones on the streets in North America *roll eyes), the next level convenient stores, the extremely punctual trains, the organized queuing systems, all add up to make navigating in public smooth as butter. I remember going to the super market for the first time, and saw three types shopping carts! A normal kind, a kind with magnifying glass for the visually impaired, and a mini sized cartoon designed one for kids. How awesome and sweet is that?! Totally blew my mind.

 

It has REALLY delicious food!

Live Abroad

Fresh oyster dinner. Matsushima, Japan.

Everybody knows that Japanese cuisine is phenomenal. Imagine having access to cheap and delicious sushi and ramen all the time! But of course there are so much more Japanese food to try beyond sushi and ramen. Almost all regions of Japan have their own specialties dishes. My city was famous for gyutan (grilled beef tongue) and zunda (sweet edamame paste). If they sound strange to you, you are missing out my friends. Every since being back to Canada, I have been disappointed a couple times, either from the taste or price tags, by Japanese food in the city. I am constantly plotting when to get myself back in Japan for the authentic deal.

 

The living expenses are moderate

Despite the bad rep of being expensive, Japan is not that bad at all in terms of living expenses. I live in Sendai, and my monthly rent is 50,000 yen, which less than 500 USD. My friends who live in Tokyo and Osaka (the busiest cities!) pay around 80,000 yen, which is again less than 800 USD. In the case of living in rural areas, the rent is even cheaper and might even be free!  Other expenses are reasonable as well. Comparing to living in Toronto, New York, or Sydney, the cost here is chump change honey!

 

You may also like:  Japan on a Budget – An Insider’s Guide to Saving Like a Boss

 

It has four seasons!

Live Abroad

Kyoto in Autumn.

Let me catch you up on what this means as it’s a bit of an insider joke. When comparing Japan to other countries, Japanese people always like to mention that “Ooh we have four seasons in Japan!” What they mean is that seasons are much more defined in Japan. Every season comes with its own beautiful scenery for appreciation, seasonal traditions, and food practices. Spring is pink everywhere with cherry blossom, summer is lush green, autumn is red, orange and yellow with foliage changing colours, and winter is stunning white with snow. Living in Japan is like living in a postcard, with sceneries that will take your breath away everywhere you go!

 

You may also like:  Everything you need to know about Cherry Blossom Season In Japan

 

There are many holidays

There are 17 national holidays in Japan, even more if you work in the banking sector. That’s a lot of day offs comparing to Canada which only has 11 days. 🙁  Japanese people really love to appreciate things and I really appreciate that. Sports day, Mountain day, Children day, Ocean day, they are all wonderful! So you have plenty of time to rest and travel!

 

It’s easy to travel around the country

Speaking of traveling, it’s easy to get around Japan while you live in the country. Japan is not very big so it’s very possible to make weekend trips to another prefecture (That’s where those long weekends would come in handy). Japan has its own budget airlines like Peach or Vanilla Air, as well as bullet trains and buses. There are so many gorgeous places to see so you can only experience as many as possible if you live here! 😛

 

Check out some of my favorite off the beaten path places in Japan!

Yamadera Temple, Tohoku       Miyagi Zao Fox village       Mount Zao and The Okama Crater

Japan off the beaten path: YamaderaZao Fox Village Travel Guidezao okama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a gateway to the rest of Asia

With those same airlines I mentioned above, you can also trot all over Asia for cheap from Japan. In the two years I lived there, I went to Taiwan (two times), Korea, Malaysia, China, Philippines and Singapore. Japan has a whole week of holidays in early May called “Golden Week”, which is a good time for international travel (would not advise traveling in the country though. It’s damn busy and pricey during that time). Flying from Tokyo is very convenient. In my case, Sendai had its own international airport. Lucky me!

 

There are many work and live abroad programs to bring you to Japan

As I mentioned, I am currently teaching English in Japan with a program called The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (The JET Programme). JET is a super well-known and well-run program with over 30 years of history. It’s a quite well paid job and I absolutely love how helpful the organization is. As well, there are many other English teaching programs and work abroad opportunities you can find that can bring you to Japan.

 

You may also like:  How to Pass the JET Program Application and Teach in Japan

 

There is a lot of support for expats

Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

Exploring with my fellow Sendai ALTs.

I’m made some amazing friends from all over the world while living in Japan. There are many expats living here so there is always a community you can turn to if you ever feel lost. You can join local expat groups or Facebook groups. There is a real sense of camaraderie and compassion towards each other as everyone knows the difficulties of navigating in a foreign land. You just might meet some lifelong friends! 😛

 

You may also like:  Living in Japan as a foreigner – Your Big Questions Answered

 

Some of my favorite Facebook support groups

Japan Teaching Resources   -“JTR aims to share resources and solve teaching-related problems together by pooling together everyone’s experience.”

A great place to go for English teachers. I’ve used this for my work so many times!

 

Sendai JETS  –“A group for past, prospect and current Sendai JETs.”

This is a group for my local city and it’s super awesome. You can find similar groups for your own area as well.

 

JET Ladies + – “A platform on which people discuss and debate, share resources, tips and experiences for making life as a woman easier in Japan.”

Discuss any topics from trivial (like what brand of tampon is best in Japan) to heavy (like workplace harassment) and these girls got your back! So much support in this group!

Japan is a beautiful country and you will surely have the experience of a life time! If you have any questions about teaching English or living in Japan, always feel free to drop me a comment!

 

 

 

Note: If you are interested in teaching English abroad in general, check out this comprehensive guide on getting started.

 

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Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

Why Japan is the Best Country To Work And Live Abraod

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13 comments

Alex QuyenVo December 22, 2017 - 10:59 pm

Hi,
I’m waiting for an offer from the JET Program too ! And I studied abroad in Yamagata in spring 2014. Fell in love with JAPAN ever since…
Nice to know you’re living in Sendai and work with the JET Program.

Alex

Reply
Viola December 24, 2017 - 4:12 am

Wow Alex, I live in Sendai so super close to Yamagata. Good Luck with your offer!! <3

Reply
Sophie December 23, 2017 - 5:34 pm

Love the 4 seasons, didn’t know it was so defined in Japan! Great post!

Reply
Viola January 14, 2018 - 2:45 pm

Thank you so much Sophie!

Reply
Charlotte March 23, 2018 - 8:11 am

Thank you for sharing this! Japan is an amazing country. I only travelled there for a couple of weeks, but I totally see why it would be great to live there.

Reply
Viola March 23, 2018 - 8:36 am

Thanks Charlotte for reading! Yes Japan is a wonderful country for visiting and living 😀

Reply
Yok June 15, 2018 - 1:35 pm

hey, how are the working hours like for the JET program?

Reply
Viola June 17, 2018 - 11:36 pm

Hi Yok, the working hours are typically 8:30 am-4:00pm for most ALTs. Monday to Friday. There may be some difference for ALTs in different areas and different schools but that’s the usual schedule.

Reply
bella July 9, 2018 - 12:21 pm

hi, I’m very much in love with Japan and Korea and would like to live in one in the future so i would like to know why you lived in Japan rather than Korea which one is best for living?

Reply
Viola July 9, 2018 - 11:55 pm

Hi Bella!

Japan and Korea are both lovely countries. I think what drew me to Japan more was the kindness and politeness of Japanese people. Not to say that Korea doesn’t have kind people, but Japan is definitely known for its culture of curtesy and cooperation. I thought I could learn a lot by living here and I definitely have! I would consider living in Korea in the future as well and compare the two cultures. 🙂

Reply
maria elona caparida April 29, 2019 - 11:11 pm

how to apply live and work in japan, i currently teacher here in the Philippines, i’m an ex- trainee in shizuoka, japan for 1 year since 2006-2007.

Reply
Viola April 30, 2019 - 2:25 am

Hello Elona, I recommend applying through the JET Programme. You can read more about the options here: https://theblessingbucket.com/teach-english-in-japan-best-programs/

Reply
Christina Simon October 17, 2019 - 9:20 am

this is really helpful for people who are passionate in exploring the world. thank you viola.

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