The world of Japanese food discoveries is unlimited
Sushi, soba, ramen, Kobe beef, even those with a passing interest in Japan known that it’s home to some of the best cuisine in the world. Beyond the typical aforementioned dishes there’s a lot more to Japan’s food scene but uncovering often requires more than a passing visit.
Thanks to the nation’s rich history and diverse countryside Tokyo hosts a stack of different regional dishes just as diverse as anywhere else in the world. Each pocket of Japan boasts its own culinary specialty and each specialty is filled with history, pride and tells a story about that area. The pride that this city takes in food is a lesson in patience and educated appreciation that honestly takes a little time to learn.
It’s where history and future collide
As you witness monolithic, neon emblazoned skyscrapers tower over peaceful parks that play host to centuries old shrines you’ll realise Tokyo is a place where the past and the future can live harmoniously in the present. A country that’s filled with pride and an history depth that’s difficult to fathom without immersing yourself in the culture.
Japan is a history buff’s delight and a non-history buff’s new fascination. As the country comes up with new strange inventions and futuristic cultural icons, there’s something really special about the nation’s ability to incorporate or at least acknowledge their past. A sense of reverence for those who came before is a fantastic quality to have and one you’ll no doubt acquire after living here.
You’ll learn a thing or two about work ethic
Work ethic in Japan is a double-edged sword. On one hand the dedication and pride many workers take in Japan is something to be admired, however it can be taken to the extreme. In fact many people work so hard, that the Japanese have the word ‘karoshi’ which translates to death from overwork.
In terms of working yourself to death, that’s definitely not an encouraging prospect, however what you can draw from spending some in the Japanese workforce is a sense pride and commitment to your job, which in turn gives many workers a true sense of purpose or ‘ikigai’. In Japan the term ‘ikigai’ means (in a very vague description) your life’s purpose, or reason for living. There is a little more to the ikigai philosophy and it’s worth investigating but essentially many have attributed this sense of pride and purpose to the long a fulfilling lifespan of the Japanese population.
Improve your writing and communication skills
For westerners learning Japanese can be an incredibly daunting task. Lack of English speakers and lack of personal Japanese skill may make living in Japan seems like a near impossibility, however in a number of cases it can be a personal benefit.
Teaching, writing and jobs that require English skills are increasing in demand as the country becomes more globalised meaning that if you can write and speak English really well there’s high probability of employment. Also what better excuse to drown yourself in fascinating anime and catchy J-Pop jams than under the guide of ‘studying’ Japanese.
Employment is high, really high…
Rolling on from the point about English speaking jobs, one of the most fascinating aspects of everyday Japanese culture is the country’s incredibly high employment rate. Just this year Japan’s unemployment rate fell to a 22-year low of 2.8% in February. Given the population and speed at which technology tourism and specialized based industries continue to grow it’s definitely a place to consider if you’re after a little career change.
… and crime rate is low, really low
If there’s anything lower than Japan’s unemployment rate it has to be the country’s crime rate. In fact the incredible level of safety in Tokyo makes it seem kind of odd when compared to almost any other major city in the world. What makes Japan such a safe place to live is a difficult question to answer concisely but there are a number of definite factors. A level of pride in being an individual with integrity, along with a mentality to act for the greater good in combination with economic success and a disciplined population means that in a country of 127 million crimes like drug use, theft and street crime are generally unheard of.
There’s world class sightseeing opportunities less than an hour from the city
Though size wise Japan isn’t really a large nation, it’s home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the world. From the snow capped peaks of Nagano, Yamagata and Hokkaido to the tropical beaches of Okinawa and the lush mountainside of Takao, the amount of natural wonder here is wonderful in itself.
Of course you have the iconic Fuji, that on a good day can be seen as from the beaches of Enoshima, an hour out of Tokyo, but if you hop on a train and trek just an hour out of the city you’ll be inundated with a world of natural beauty that’s unsurpassed.
People party as hard as they work
Of course nature and history are great but if you want to live in another country comfortably and for an extended period of time you’ve got to make friends. Often there’s no better way to make friends than partying and no matter your party style Tokyo has something for you. If it’s quiet (though probably increasingly rowdy) after work drinks with coworkers, then head straight to your regular izakaya.
If you’re more of a show pony there’s of course more karaoke bars than cheesy pop jams you can butcher. If you’re more of the night clubber, or live music fan Shibuya and Shinjuku and of course Roppongi are dotted with nightclubs and venues featuring the best sound systems in the world, so really there’s never an excuse to stay at home.