When I first came to Japan, I was a full-time student in Japanese Language school. I felt and still think that it is important to have some kind of grasp of the language, especially if your plan is to live in a foreign country mid-long term.
Besides, I wanted to be in contact with the local culture whilst studying Japanese rather than to jump into a full time job that leaves little time for developing relationships and language skills.
After a year of studying, my Japanese level is still a bit far from where I would like it to be. However, I am fairly conversational and I consider it a success after only 1 year.
Now that I am working full time, and since I do not need to use Japanese much at work, I’m going to take private 1to1 lessons, which hopefully will bust my confidence.
When I decided to move to Japan, I was well aware of Gaman (我慢) a Japanese term meaning “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” This represents the culture of working through illness and major life events such as coming to work right after a funeral.
When I chose both my school and then my job, I made sure I could have a good work/life balance, in order take advantage of all of the amazing things you can do in Tokyo.
The best part of studying and working in Japan is that you get to be here.
There are always interesting places to visit and unique events to go to. Every corner reveals a wonder. Japan is generally very safe, clean and with a convenient transportation system. So make sure you have the time to enjoy all this!
If you want to move and work here, having any grasp of the Japanese language is an advantage since it will open more opportunities and help you navigate your daily life as well.
Lastly, my advice for you who are planning to move to Japan is: use your connections to your own advantage. You may not know anyone in Japan, but there’s always a friend of a friend and once you get here to try to connect to as many people as possible. They will become your second family and the Japanese school is the way to start. Keep an open mind, manage your expectations with research and proper preparation and be ready to adapt when life changes direction without notice.
In a few words: stay positive and clear about what you want and enjoy your life in Japan. I wouldn’t choose any other place in the world to live in!