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Difficulties as a Foreigner 2023/5/7 15:00
Hello Everyone,

I would like to understand and know the difficulties of being a Foreigner in Japan. Well, there are many barriers apart from the language, including renting an apartment, getting a job, favorite food back in your home country, candies used to enjoy in your childhood, etc., and can be anything that might not be available when you want or vice-versa.
Japan has all sorts of comforts which is not the case in other countries in terms of safety, cleanliness, standards, etc however there are discomforts that are only felt by being a foreigner.

by Faithful (guest)  

Re: Difficulties as a Foreigner 2023/5/8 02:07
This question has many potential answers depending on who you are, what you are doing for employment and where you will be based.

When I lived in Japan I had no problems getting an apartment due to my employer helping me. They also helped me set up a bank account, get furniture, phone number and even set up internet. There was also plenty of westerners at my job which means that I did not have to dip into a true Japanese experience.

However - since I was a very introverted person I found it difficult to get to know the locals. As such for me - I could not form a strong local friendship group like I had in countries before and after living in Japan.

It should be noted that this was for me - and I have plenty of friends who have lots of locals as friends. But they tend to delve more into living in more rural locations or taking part in group activities (such as football, running, hockey, church etc.)

If you live in Tokyo or nearby, you can't get everything your used to at home but you can get pretty close if you come from a English speaking country. Life can be a bit more difficult for Jewish, Muslim and Vegans food wise.

This is more of an asia thing than Japan - but expect things which take almost no time at home to take a lot longer. Japan also does things their own way. An example was me getting a police check for an upcoming job.

For some reason, you are not allowed to have your own police check in Japan and it must be asked for by your employer or government department. I was moving to a country that needed a police check (this is normal as a teacher with actual qualifications) but I could not get a police check until I got a request from the embassy. So to put it simply - it was a headache.

Going through a honeymoon phase for the first few months is normal, which is generally followed by a negative stage where all of the differences has worn off. This is not a Japan thing - just a living in another country thing. Also remember that you job plays a much larger part in your life as you will no longer be around your friend/family support group.

Due to this - if things are going badly at work it can have a much more negative affect on you than it would at home.

When working for a Japanese based company, the way they work and make decisions sometimes feels stupid along with feeling demoralizing. However, I'm sure the same is also true in the opposite direction but I don't know enough to pin point what those things are.

Also - expect setting up your apartment to cost a lot more that it would in our home country. This basically comes down to almost nothing being included in your apartment (you most of the time even have to buy light fittings). But once you have set everything up - there are more expensive places to live.

One thing which I tend to find amazing is the large number of people who thinks that Japan does everything better and must move there because of "reasons". For me - Japan does not do things better, just differently.

I'm probably wrong with this assumption - but moving to Japan is probably not best for people like myself who are very introverted (when you are moving to a more introverted country) or to people who have very strong opinions and tells everyone what needs to be changed without considering what is happening.

For me - some of the minor Japanese traits such as being punctual, not being overly forceful all the time and trying to get peoples opinions before you make a final decision has rubbed off on me once I moved onto other countries. So to put it simply - some of the things in Japan are better than where you come from, while the same is true in the other direction.

Keep your mouth a bit quiet when you first get to Japan when airing your opinion, but ask why things are the way they are and ask for help if you need it. If you don't ask you won't get it or understand it.

Hopefully some of this is helpful.....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Difficulties as a Foreigner 2023/5/8 17:09
favorite food back in your home country, candies used to enjoy in your childhood, etc., and can be anything that might not be available when you want or vice-versa.

You'll probably be able to find some of your favourite food, candies from your home country in Japan albeit it will likely be a vaccumed-packed pre-mix unless there's a specific market/vendor that imports it in its original glory then lucky you.

That being said however, if you want to live overseas in a foreign country this is just one of those things that you'd have to get used to. Can't live in a foreign country and expect to get exactly the same stuff as you would in your home country, that would, in my opinion, defeat the purpose of living overseas in the first place!
by King of the World (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Difficulties as a Foreigner 2023/5/11 10:33
Being a foreigner in Japan is different on a case by case scenario. Depends on where you live in Japan, your Japanese skill level, if you're super tall, stand out with blonde hair and blue eyes, etc.

Most people are very friendly in Japan, though there are always interactions that may be negative, just like any country. I'll just tell you this from personal experience. The nicer you are to people and if you act genuinely friendly, even if you don't know the Japanese words to explain yourself in certain situations, most people will be willing to help you and also be friendly in return.

When it comes to apartments, renting, buying things, setting up a bank account, etc. I would definitely have the company who employs you to help you with that stuff as Japanese banks are like a nightmare to set-up with all of the documents needed and everything needing to be PERFECT in order to sign up. Whenever it comes to technical things and legal documents, just always make sure you understand what you're signing and reading over.

I will give you this advice too that even in Japan, there are those who do try to take advantage of foreigners who seemingly don't know any better. When I moved out of my apartment, the inspector who came to check my apartment tried to charge me over 400$ for little "spots" on the floor that he said I damaged, lol. I called him out on it and that he was just trying to extort me for money and even the agency agreed with me that I reported to and said the job to clean the "spots" would be MAYBE 100$ and that's all.

Just do be careful when it comes to things like this, but overall most of the interactions have been quite positive and Japanese people do love talking to foreigners too since a lot want to explore the world.
by Tom (guest) rate this post as useful

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