How to get ready to move to Japan

How to get ready to move to Japan

Summer is almost here, which means that a whole new bunch of people will be preparing to move to Japan for the purposes of either study or work.  Whatever the reasons for relocating to Japan, preparing for the move can be nerve-racking; however, there are a couple of tips to help get you used to the idea.

The days and weeks leading up to relocation to Japan are likely to be fraught with innumerable expectations, fears, and preparations.  The first tip is to work out which items you are going to need to take and have with you from the very beginning and which you can either purchase or have shipped over to you later on.  You need to know where you are heading and not be afraid to ask people about the area and what kinds of things are available there.  Clothes shopping can often be difficult in Japan, even if you are considered to be of average size in the US; this is something that is particularly the case when it comes to shoes.

The good news is that the internet makes it a lot simpler nowadays to be able to find clothing in your size, regardless of where you end up in the country; however, you may not always be lucky enough to have internet access right away.  This need for preparation also extends to money.  You may have less day-to-day expenses living in the countryside than the big city but you are also more likely to need a car, so make sure you get hold of an international driver’s license before you move.  Even if you doubt the need for one, it is better to have one and not use it than to need one and not have it.

Salaries are usually paid once a month in Japan, rather than every two weeks as is the norm in many other countries, so you need to make certain that you have set aside enough money not just for the initial expenses but also for rent, phone, key money etc, and indeed everyday life for the first month.

Another good tip that might seem strange at first is to take photographs with you.  It may sound a little on the sappy side, but the reality is that those first few weeks and even months in a foreign country can become very lonely and you will want and need to have reminders of your loved ones around you, particularly if you are uncertain as to your ability to gain access to the internet to begin with.

You also need to learn to manage your expectations.  Nobody knows quite what living in Japan is like until you do it.  You may initially plan to live there for a year and then come home, only to fall in love with the place and never want to move back.  At the same time, you may plan for a permanent relocation, only to realize there is no place like home.

Jon Huser