How hard?

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How hard?


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Old 22nd February 2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Default How hard?

How hard would it be to move from Canada to Japan? How long would it take to adjust?


I'm slightly afraid that I might not be able to adjust; I live in Canada, but I have an Eastern European body type. I'm tall (6"6), large (Not fat, just large in terms of muscle mass, bone size, etc. My ankles are approximately 8-10cm for example), and my feet are large enough to have shopping problems in Canada (Do they even sell size 14 in Japan?).

I eat a typical European diet, tons of meat, enough vegetables, lots of dairy and a good amount of wheat. I'm not much of a snacker, I only really snack on Lightly Salted Lays chips and Pepsi occaisionally. Would I be able to find what I like to eat in Japan easily? In terms of meat, I mostly eat low-fat meat, Fish, Chicken, and once every few months I'll eat some steak. Is cheese common in Japan?


Also, how is it for someone with a University education to get a job in Japan? I graduated from University of Waterloo with a major in Finance, and a minor in theoretical physics. How hard would getting a job be in Osaka or Tokyo?

Also, how's the music scene in Japan? I'm an active Metal musician, and I'm aware Marty Friedman lives in Japan, but otherwise what's the most dominant kind of music?

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Old 22nd February 2009, 08:24 PM
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Why are you interested in moving to Japan?

A friend of mine just moved to Japan with her husband, who works for a Japanese company. The job is a limited term thing - 3 years. They're both British, not terribly tall or overly large, but my friend says that they really can't shop for clothes there because things run very small for Europeans. They've managed to rent a "Western style" house - but even at that there's some adjustment for the fancy fixtures in the bathroom.

I'm not saying you can't make the adjustment. It would help lots if you had the language. My friend says there is a certain level of frustration at not being able to make sense of any of the street signs. As for food, you'll definitely have to make some adjustments - though if you cook for yourself, you should be all right. (Shopping in the stores you may be reduced to buying cans and boxes based on what is pictured on the label.)

But with the right motivation, and a good sense of humor (to laugh at yourself when you make the inevitable mistakes) anything is possible.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 22nd February 2009, 08:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
Why are you interested in moving to Japan?

A friend of mine just moved to Japan with her husband, who works for a Japanese company. The job is a limited term thing - 3 years. They're both British, not terribly tall or overly large, but my friend says that they really can't shop for clothes there because things run very small for Europeans. They've managed to rent a "Western style" house - but even at that there's some adjustment for the fancy fixtures in the bathroom.

I'm not saying you can't make the adjustment. It would help lots if you had the language. My friend says there is a certain level of frustration at not being able to make sense of any of the street signs. As for food, you'll definitely have to make some adjustments - though if you cook for yourself, you should be all right. (Shopping in the stores you may be reduced to buying cans and boxes based on what is pictured on the label.)

But with the right motivation, and a good sense of humor (to laugh at yourself when you make the inevitable mistakes) anything is possible.
Cheers,
Bev
I'm interested in moving to Japan mainly because I don't like the average Westerner, and it's cheaper and in my opinion, nicer to live in than Europe. Plus, the lifestyle is better and there's less of an obesity issue (Not to say I don't like obese people, I just don't want to live with or marry an obese woman due to all of the complications it brings)

I can make food adjustments, no problem, the thing I'm most worried about is Dairy products. Milk is a large part of my life, and I personally just like cheese (Though I can live without it).

Again, I'm fine with a more Japanese-styled house. Do they make ceilings tall enough for people like me? I'd likely be getting a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment if I do decide to move. Language isn't that much of a problem, seeing as my dad went to Japan and lived there for 6 years in his 20s, and he's been teaching me little phrases and stuff since I was real young. I would probably be able to navigate my way through most stuff with the phrases I know, only problem might be getting weird stares for bad pronounciation, and reading. I can speak a bit, but I can't read. How hard is it to read Japanese? Are we talking about 4+ years spent learning Japanese to be able to speak pretty well and read well? How long does it usually take to get rid of an obvious accent, or completely get rid of it? I'm currently turning 24. Also Job related stuff too. Would I be able to get hired easily? I've heard about descrimination against body image in Asia, so I'm afraid that I might get turned down for being too large or something like that.

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Old 26th February 2009, 05:01 AM
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...Plus, the lifestyle is better and there's less of an obesity issue (Not to say I don't like obese people, I just don't want to live with or marry an obese woman due to all of the complications it brings)
Jeeze... I'm curious but hesitant to ask what kinds of complications you had in mind. And I'm puzzled as to why you might think you'll fare any better marrying or living with an Asian woman -- especially with that kind of attitude.

But to answer other questions...

Yes... Japan has cows. You will be able to find a decent variety of dairy products such as milk and cheese in pretty much any supermarket or convenience store. If you live anywhere near a major city, you should also be able to find shops that carry cheeses and other products from around the world.

The ceiling hight in your home will, of course, depend on when the building was built but I'm 5'11" and I have yet to be in someone's home where I felt I had to duck while in the room (doors are another matter -- but you probably have that problem where you currently live, too). You'll have to watch your head in trains and busses, for sure.

Reading Japanese is not hard if you're willing to put in the time. It's not something you can just pick up without any effort. As has been pointed out in an earlier post, most of the signs and whatnot that you see in your travels around town will be unreadable to you at first. That means that your opportunities to practice reading will be far fewer than they would be in... say... France, where you could practice reading just strolling down the street.

The rest of the stuff -- like getting rid of any obvious accent, etc, is going to be entirely up to you. I managed to nail pronunciation with no problem but I know people who have been here longer than myself (ie: more than 10 years) who still have to be corrected on their pronunciation and grammar constantly. You're still young. If you pour yourself into studying and spend as much time practicing as you can, you should have no problem in the long term.

As for jobs... sure, there is discrimination based on age, looks, nationality, etc. It's not officially legal but there's really not much anyone can do about it. Of course, the main question of whether you can easily get a job cannot be answered without knowing what you're bringing to the table. If you have some kind of technical skill that might be in demand here, you probably have an even chance. If not, your chances are pretty much nil. You're not going to have much of a chance at a regular "native" job without fluency in the language (a few cute phrases you picked up from your father aren't going to cut it when it comes to landing a regular job). Lacking fluency and/or technical skill, most people rely on teaching English and the opportunities there seem to have dried up in the current economy. In fact, I just read an article here that claims ex-pats are bailing out of the country left-and-right because they sense an impending shortage of jobs for non-Japanese. There are apparently a large number of ex-pats in the financial sector -- and we all know how well financial companies are doing these days. Plus with so many new grads chasing an ever-shrinking job base, you're going to be at the bottom of the list for just about anything you apply for unless you're bringing with you some kind of skill that is hard to come by here.

Bev's question about why you want to move was also very insightful. It seems to me that you're interested in Japan as a way to get away from things in your current environment or other alternatives ("don't like the average Westerner", "nicer to live in than Europe", "less of an obesity issue", etc). In that case, you should probably plan to spend a couple months (or more, if possible) on a temporary visit before making the commitment to relocate. Because once the "honeymoon period" (usually about two years) is over, my guess is that you'll find even more things about Japan that you'll feel the need to get away from. Things are a lot different here and if you're not happy in your own homeland, there is a good chance you'll be even less happy here in the long run.

Of course, you never know until you try. No matter how many books you read and how many people you ask, there is nothing that can convey the experience of living abroad than actually living abroad. I hope this helped and wish you luck on your adventure.

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Old 27th February 2009, 06:24 AM
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Larabell makes a good suggestion about coming to live for a while before you make your decision. I have been in Yokohama for 6 months now and have just started to settle.

Like you I used this forum to ask as many things as I could think of before flying out, but of course there will always be things you hadn't considered before you travel. For instance; the houses/appartments are really pooly insulated. I have AC units on 24/7 and have bought additional heaters to put around the house (I have a 3 bed western house and only me living there). When I sit in the house I have to wear jumpers when in the UK I did not have to. When in bed I have to wear clothes when in the UK I did not have to. The ambient temperature is not that low, but when the heat energy leaves the house immediately the air temperature in the house doesn't get chance to rise.

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