InterNations Featured Blog
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Japan, etc.
My name is Fran and I am originally from New Zealand. I moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2003 to teach English for a year (on a working holiday visa). I hated Japan at first and almost gave up and went home after a few months. After being encouraged to stay and stick out the remaining months on my visa, I realised I loved it here!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging simply to update my family on my daily life in Japan. It was much easier than writing separate emails!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Hmmm, writing about my pregnancy and the birth of my son are the most memorable for me (but I don`t know about my readers!!).
Tell us about the ways your new life in Japan differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I had a lot of culture shock when I first arrived. It was July (the rainy season), I was living in a tiny hostel room with my best friend and 100 mosquitoes, we had no jobs, no friends, and no money!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Japan? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was not prepared. I wish I had done more research on companies that were hiring English teachers, as well as understood more about the value of the yen.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I would rather forget most of those early experiences, but let’s just say that coming from New Zealand, where most of my friends never wore high heels, let-alone makeup, I was not the most stylish of the Tokyo-ites!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Japan?
- Research! Read blogs, forums and websites and find a company that is currently hiring, while suiting you and your needs.
- Save money!
- Come with a very open mind. Japan is an incredible country, but the people are shy, and it takes time to make good friends!
How is the expat community in Japan? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Once I had a job it was easy to meet other expats. It was much harder making good Japanese friends.
How would you summarize your expat life in Japan in a single, catchy sentence?
The most incredible learning experience!