Living in Japan

Discover the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan is well known for its tradition and its sense of honor. Opening its doors to the Western world during the Meiji Era, Japanese culture quickly captivated the far ends of the Earth, establishing the country as one of the world's foremost references in gastronomy, technology, and tourism. Despite being a relatively small country and suffering from post-war effects, Japan has risen in the East to become the third largest economy in the world and one of the leading sources for innovation.

In Japan, education, hard work and discipline are highly valued. Hierarchy not only plays a big part in professional as well as in everyday life, but it is also emphatically reflected in the Japanese language. In addition to being one of the safest countries and having a low unemployment rate, Japan boasts a large industrial capacity, with a powerful presence in the automotive industry, as well as in electronics, chemicals, foods, textiles and fishery. Furthermore, the island is home to twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which attract over twenty-four million tourists every year, turning tourism into one of the most promising businesses in Japan.

Virtue and simplicity: the Japanese way of life

Japanese culture is not something easy to get to grips with as a foreigner. An ancient land with deeply rooted withstanding traditions, which date back millennia, cannot possibly be simple to understand. Yet, Japanese society takes simplicity as their motto. The Japanese strive to achieve perfection in every aspect of their lives. They are dedicated and seek excellence, taking extreme care with details. A good example would be the innumerous rituals traditions and ceremonies, such as the Japanese tea ceremony. Created by the legendary samurai, Bushido is a warrior code of honor and ethics and it is key to reassuring the high quality of life and living standards in modern Japan, where crime rate is extremely low. Often seen as shy and reserved, the Japanese also enjoy the pleasures of life. A proper after-work celebration cannot be complete without a few too many rounds of beer at an izakaya restaurant. Among other beloved activities are karaoke bars, pachinko, travelling, and hot spring baths.

Working in Japan: the ultimate challenge

With the third largest economy in the world, it would not come as a surprise to see Japan on the top of every expat's list. However, cultural and language barriers play a significant when finding a job in Japan. Regarding the language, English alone will not be enough, making it almost mandatory for foreign workers to have at least an intermediate to advanced knowledge of the Japanese language. Once proficiency is achieved, it will definitely be one of your most powerful assets. In addition to this, before moving to Japan, it is also necessary to be aware of a few other nuances concerning the Japanese job market such as the Japanese working hours, which can be especially demanding, since leaving before the boss is seen as bad manners. Gender equity and equality take small steps in the Japanese society, which can prove particularly challenging to women, who receive considerably lower salaries and are assigned less prominent roles within companies. Another factor that can pose an obstacle for those seeking to work in Japan is the working visa, since a corporate sponsorship is necessary if you currently reside outside of Japan. Even though English is part of daily life in Japan, most of its native inhabitants do not have a good grasp of the English language. This situation creates a large demand for English teachers. Teaching English in Japan could open the doors to the Japanese corporate world and to other sorts of businesses. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to learn the local language whilst working. For internships opportunities in Japan, check our internship platform!

From karate to karaoke: decrypting the Japanese language

Spoken by millions of people around the world, the Japanese language may be easier to learn than most think. The lack of gender and number can greatly benefit its avid students, although the writing system can prove slightly problematic. Consisting of a pair of distinct syllabaries, hiragana and katakana with the fine addition of thousands of kanji characters, the Japanese writing system is considered to be one of the most complicated currently in use. The language immersion method could be effective for day-to-day conversations, but bureaucratic, medical and professional contexts require an advanced knowledge of the language. For this reason, it is highly advisable to learn a few Japanese phrases before setting off on your adventure. Studying in Japan is also an excellent and efficient way of learning Japanese. Since the Japanese government has recently introduced additional financial support for foreign students in Japan, getting a place at one of the 36 Japanese universities ranked among the world's best is now much easier.

The art of Japanese cuisine

Japanese food has easily found its way into the Western world and it is not hard to see why, since Japan boasts the third highest life expectancy in the world, mostly due to its balanced diet. There is more to Japanese food than only sushi. In fact, Japanese restaurants often serve other varieties of food that do not include rice, such as ramen, karē, udon, tempura, grilled fish-based dishes, soba and many more. Japanese sweets are also a nice treat and usually contain less sugar than western desserts. When in Japan, make sure to savour a few of them!