A Girl's Journey Living in Japan

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Top 5 Tips for Moving to Japan

When it comes to some of the most popular countries in the world to relocate to Japan is up there in the top five. It’s no wonder when you consider the huge technological advances that come from this part of the world, meaning jobs aplenty and a real neon-lit and totally different way of life for those who want to explore.

Moving to Japan was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever been on, but I think it’s been a great way for me to learn some independence, save money and of course make new friends!

Despite all this, moving countries is a huge deal, and there are lots of things you need to take into account first. Healthcare, for instance, is always a hot topic—especially with the Affordable Care Act in the United States starting to make waves. Research, research, research is the first step, in order to make sure that everything is in place and you’re truly comfortable before deciding where to settle on. Obviously you’re moving probably halfway across the world, so you’re not going to just jump in and move without checking things out first, right? Well, I would hope not anyway. So, in that vein, let’s look at five tips for your big move to the land of the rising sun.

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Visit first

Okay, so this is a no-brainer, but living somewhere is totally different to going on holiday or visiting. Daily life comes into play and that might not have made an appearance during a holiday visit or business trip. Head over there for a little longer than you normally would, see if you feel comfortable, and do a little scouting around for somewhere to live before you leave your home for good. Japan can feel very alien to the moving individual, and sometimes a little surreal, so make sure it’s the right step for you.

Learn some of the language

Even if you just master the basics, hello, goodbye, please, thank you, nice to meet you, I don’t understand … you know the drill. Locals will always give you more respect and be happy for you to at least try to speak some of their language, and as a result you will get them onside to help you out. You can never have too many helping hands when you’re in a foreign country!

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Give yourself time to recover and adjust

A flight to Japan is long and you’re looking at jetlag central due to time differences. Don’t plan to do too much in the first week or so when you arrive, so make sure you allow yourself time to recover and settle in properly. If you’re moving for a job, don’t expect to fly over and start work the following Monday!

Money sense

Like most places in the world, you will get a better exchange rate on your money once you are in Japan, so only take enough Yen to last you for the first few days or first week, and then change the rest once you’re there, or use ATMs to get your money. Depending on where you’re from obviously depends on the exchange rate of your local currency, however you may consider opening a bank account in Japan once you arrive to cut out the need for additional fees.

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Registration

Once you arrive in Japan and plan to stay longer than the standard tourist visa time frame, you need to register with the Japanese government and apply for your residency permit. Make sure you do this in good time otherwise you’ll find yourself in hot water and you’ll be heading home much sooner than you planned!

The bottom line is that a move to Japan is a massive event in your life, so it needs proper planning and research. Check your visa requirements, check your passport is valid, make sure you have the necessary funds to fall back on, and most of all, look forward to your pending move to this huge and diverse country.

Gemma

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