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Rural small towns 2015/1/4 12:02
I want to live in rural Japan for a year or more.
I am 66 yrs-old(happily married for 45 yrs. :-), grew-up on a sheep ranch and still used to cutting my own firewood, plowing snow, light mech. work, and hunting/shooting problem animals.(Ones that attack livestock & pets, or are sick or hurt.)
Trying to learn Nihongo-ga from Pimselur CDs :-)
I'me old and kind of worn-out, but I want to live someplace I could learn new things as well as Nihongo-ga, like blacksmith work, local farming, and be of use to others.
Ochado, Dave
by Ochado  

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/4 14:29
There are many choices. It's what I prefer also. However, without knowing other preferences or requirements, it's difficult to make any recommendations. If you want to rent an apartment, you're going to have to stay in a larger area that might be considered "inaka" to the Japanese but is a city of 100,000. If you want to rent a farmhouse, you need to find a contact who can speak for you and find something for you, negotiating the key money and deposits. Away from urban areas, the key money and deposits are often much less than in a large city. In some smaller cities, apartments were overbuilt in the 90s and now rent for $300/month because many stand empty.

There is also the consideration of climate. Even living on the southern island of Kyushu it gets cold in the winter with no central heating. At least now there are room air conditioners to remove humidity and heat during the humid months. These heat pumps also provide some electric heat in the winter, but nothing like a central furnace.

Up north or in the mountains, winters are even colder but summers can be from nice to hot. For example, Yamagata City, although up north (Tohoku), has super hot summers - I think it's from adiabatic warming as the winds descend into the valley off the mountains.

To get started, I would search for ex-pat blogs and international forums in the area you want to go. You could start with something like MiniMini to see what they have or recommend and widen your search from there.

by Anaguma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/4 15:28
There's also the visa problem. There does not immediately seem to be a visa for what OP wants to do.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/4 15:35
Mr. Ochado,

You sound like you'd fit into the rural life in Hokkaido.

You may want to start by visiting Sapporo or Hakodate which are the most convenient cities in Hokkaido, and study about the possibilities of making a living in the rural areas nearby.

If you don't mind being surrounded by Ausies, you may also want to consider living in/near Niseko which is a ski resort in Hokkaido.

By the way, I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by "Nihongo-ga". Maybe you wanted to just say "Nihongo".
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/4 18:35
I believe that first and foremost you need to consider visa to stay that long in Japan. There is no "retiree" visa for Japan, or just long-term visitor visa. This means (I assume you are an American) you will get maximum of three months' stay if you just come with your passport.

On the other hand, if you want to enrol in a full-time Japanese language school, depending on how long you want to study, this will allow you to stay in Japan for a year or two, provided you are going to attend at least (I believe) 4 hour of classroom studies, 5 days a week. When you say "rural area," you would need to take into account availability of such a school.

Or if you have some specialized skills that are not easily found among locals in Japan and find full-time employment here, you might have a chance for an employer-sponsored work visa, but this assumes you will be working full-time (7, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week), But excuse me for being blunt, at your age, which is past the retirement age in Japan, it might be difficult.

And I am assuming you are talking about learning "Nihongo" (the Japanese language) :)
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 00:42
I want to thank ALL of you for your replies. (I need LOTS of help to get up to speed about "realities" in Japan.)
Hokaido is on the same altitude as where we live now.
3 mo. visa would be barely long enough to get situated/find a "niche", and then it would be time to leave :-(
The "full-time" work is arbitrary since even for a skilled, young, very fit man, running a chainsaw more than 6 hrs. is begging for the kind of accident that leaves the recipiant needful of removing a boot to count aboue 9 ;-) ("Proven" time and again by professional loggers...)
I had hoped to buy a used Kei truck (like I have now in anticipation to "learn" how best to keep oen running, and becasue it is the most practical means of transportation I have found yet. Better for an old man than a large U.S. pickup or my Ural side-o-car...Can go to town(pop. 1,200) , get groceries and 1/3 of a ton of hay and back home for a gallon of gas for 40 km rnd. trip on bad roads :-), a chainsaw to cut firewood where permitted and from wind-thrown trees for local obasans & ojisans.
Would there be any demand for smoked jerky and sausage from locally-culled inoshishi & sika?
I don't need any $300 a month apt.
A hut or abandoned farmhouse would be more than enough. (Running water and woodstove would be "nice" ;-)

Again, I'll say arrigato gazimas to anyone who has tried to prepare fro "reality" :-)

Dave Orchard (my Japanese/English dictionary says o-cha-do means "orchard" in romanji :-)
by Ochado rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 01:09
Dear ALL,
Part of the reason I wish to live in Nihong for at least a year is that I see little future in visiting anywhere's I am not considering to live.
I do not like the way my country has been heading since 1945.
After I read BELLS OF NAGASAKI,and a historical article about how surrender overtures (Nearly identical terms to those signed afterwards on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri), were made to the U.S. prior to the atomic bombings of non-mil., mainly civilian populations, I realize that our leadership has been becoming blatantly evil for at least that long, and that most of the population is willfully ignorant or in denial about the direction we have been heading for too many years.(Like a dead fish, the U.S. is rotting from the head downwards.)
Where we live now, 25 km from an old goldrush town of 1,200, we have on 3 points of the compass from our cabin, a cocaine smuggler, MJ grower/peddlers, and occassional meth cookers...(You CANNOT get away from the drug-culture in the U.S. It is EVERYWHERE.)
There is constant "traffic" for buyers, some of whom are just out of prison, or have warrants out on them. There is alot of casual thieving going on to pay for drugs that welfare $ won't quite cover towards the end of the month...Nearly everyone is armed in spite of it being illegal for felons to possess firearms.
Part of the reason for my interest in Japan is the rural areas and back-to-the-land movement that seems to have started in earnest aprox. 15 or 20 yrs. ago, and my impression that drugs & career welfare drones are not tolerated in Nihong.
I am seriously considering leaving the country I was born and raised in permanently.
But like the joke that "I would not want to be a member of any country club that would have ME as a member." , I am probably stuck here till I take my "dirt-nap" ;-)

Dave Orchard/ "O-cha-do"
by Ochado rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 05:33
One problem with small towns anywhere is that local people are suspicious of anyone that wasn't born within 30-60 km from that small town.
My parents experienced it..yet they were born in the same region as the village where the ministry of health sent them..but"on the other side of the woods" as the sullen natives told them..

A long-term residency visa is difficult to get in most(likely all) major countries, including Canada, your neighbour.

Besides tons of paperwork one need proof of income, proof that one will study etc.

If you get an offer for a permanent job you will get a visa job. After X years you can then ask for permanent resident status. But in order to get a job you need a certain level of education, or have skills that few locals have..

Besides all that...the inescapable fact is that the USA are neither worse nor better than other major countries. Everywhere you will find drugs and some level of violence.

I was born in Western Europe around your birthtime.
Even in the downtown area of a town of 400 000 I never locked my bike..
Nowadays older people don't just get robbed in their home or on the street, they get badly beaten up or even killed..

This is, at times, much more obvious in small towns. 3 crimes in a town of 5000 feel much worse than 40 in a town of 100 000 as you likely will have seen the victims a few times, in the super-market for example

In the bigger town crimes may be concentrated in a couple of areas, the rest of the town is fine, and you may not have ever seen any of the victims..
by Rueful Renard (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 06:38
I want to live someplace I could learn new things

That's great but it's not going to happen in Japan unless you get divorced and find a Japanese wife.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 09:20
I believe you do need to do a lot of reality check, sorry to say.

- Driving: it is on the opposite side from what you are used to in the States; you need to get an international driving permit (valid for one year) or get a driver's license in Japan.
- No matter what you plan to do on a daily basis, you need either work or student enrollment otherwise you cannot stay (visa consideration). If a neighbor offers smoked jerky/sausage, that is nice, but if you want to sell them, you'd need a business permit.
- I hope you will visit Japan (by the way it is "Nihon") once to see what it is like.

by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 10:26
Again, domo arrigato for ALL of your replies/"reality-checks" :-)
Re. Driving on the "wrong-side of the road"...No worries mate! ;-) I worked in NSW, Australia on a sheep station about 50 years ago and currently drive a right-hand drive 1991 Autozam Kei-class micro-truck that I traded an old tractor and some $ for.(GREAT little truck and that 660cc 3-cyl. Suzuki engine is amazingly reliable & economical.)
Driving locally and hauling water & hay to my daughter's horses is probably as close as I'll come to realizing my "dream", but if it gives me some interest and keeps me out of the bar, that's not such a bad thing! ;-)

"My heart's in Hokaido...My heart is not here...My heart's in Hokaido a'chasing the deer."(or sika and inoshishi :-) With apologies to R.Burns :-)

Ochado, Dave
by Ochado rate this post as useful

Re: Rural small towns 2015/1/5 10:47
Your answers/comments have all been of value to me.

I will be talking to a friendly acquaintance, Murray Carter, (who I hope to become real friends with) who lives and works in Oregon, after living 18 yrs. in Japan, 6 years of which was as an apprentice learning blacksmithing/knife-making...
I am NOT as Murray was, young, tough, strong and smart, but perhaps I might get some encouraging info. from him, re. living and even working in Japan for a reasonable length of time.
I HAVE learned how to use Japanese waterstones to sharpen and polish from Murray, and have realized that the Japanese have forgotten more about superior knife steels & tempering techniques than anyone in the west except perhaps the Finns. (Just my personal, curmudgeonly opinion, but there it is ;-)
I might eventually be "qualified" to break-up the charcoal for a Japanese smith's forge, but I am afraid there is not enough left of my life to become a real knife-maker/blacksmith in the classical Japanese tradition, even if the latent talent is buried somewhere in me. :-).

Well, I have to plow snow now...(I DID mention we are at the same latitude as Hokaido ;-)

Ochado, Dave (In the wilds of Ferry County, 25 Km north of Republic, Wash., in Rose Valley....(Check it out on google earth if you are bored ;-)
by Ochado rate this post as useful

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