Could I live in Japan?
This is a really funny question because my family, blood-related and non-blood-related, all seemed quite sure that I would just… stay in Japan after my two months. They thought I’d love it so much that I wouldn’t want to leave. They thought I’d adapt really well and be able to fit in without any problems. Whatever their reasoning, many of them probably wouldn’t be surprised if I just walked up to them and was all ‘I’ve decided to move to and live in Japan. America just isn’t right for me.‘ :p
Isn’t that silly? Haha! I mean, don’t get me wrong. I know people who have chosen to move to foreign countries because they loved them so much or because they just fit in so well. Or perhaps they moved their for a job or a loved one. Yet, I have neither a job nor a loved one in Japan and as much as I love Japan, I can’t see myself living here for the rest of my life. It’s nice to visit, but that’s all. I’m too… Western to live in Japan. Haha!
Though, it is quite the interesting concept to imagine moving to and living in Japan. In fact, I even put together a little pros and cons list for living in Japan and while there are some AMAZING things here in Japan, the consensus was that I couldn’t stay in Japan. Don’t believe me?? Let’s take a look at the list, shall we? :p
Reasons to Live in Japan
1. Food: The food in Japan is amazing! Sushi. Tamagoyaki. Onigiri. Mochi. Okonomiyaki. I mean, there is an endless of supply of amazing foods here in Japan and most of them we can’t get back in the United States. Giving these foods up will be very disappointing, very sad, and leave my taste buds wanting.
2. Public Transportation: Okay. Perhaps this is just as nice in a big city in the US, but I love it here in Japan! You can get EVERYWHERE using trains or buses and the shinkansen is something to truly marvel at.
3. Safety: From what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen, Japan is super safe. Yeah, there are some shady areas. Yet, the most of it is really safe. I mean, people leave their wallets on the table to reserve their seats. That’s crazy! But that’s the kind of culture you get in an honor-based society. (which would never happen in most Western cultures.)
4. Parks: Japan has an abundance of parks. Even the biggest cities or the smallest towns have parks to go to and hang out. It’s amazing and the Japanese REALLY know how to design and take care of parks. They’re so gorgeous and relaxing. As long as it’s not raining, they’re wonderful places to sit and read or draw(if that’s your thing, which I see A LOT of Japanese people doing.)
Reasons to Not Live in Japan
1. Food: The little American food one can find is WAY expensive. I mean, the price for french toast, pancakes, cereal, peanut butter, hamburgers, fruit… it’s INSANE! I’d be broke all the time because I miss the foods I grew up with, the ones I’m used to. As amazing as Japanese food is, I can’t ever kick my love of American food. Nor can I get used to eating rice for breakfast… I like my sugary breakfasts of cereal, or peanut butter toast.
2. Uniforms: Oh man! I can’t do it! I just CAN’T! The school uniforms are one thing, but business attire is like a uniform, too! I watch women walking down the street in the same thing! All the women wear black skirts, black blazers, and white shirts. Just… NO! I want the color. The cute, fluffy skirts. Not to mention, my shoulders are way too wide for most blazers. So that would be difficult in and of itself. -.-
3. Expensive Cofffee: I’m a coffeeholic. I admit it. I drink 1-4 cups a day depending on what I’m doing and whether I’m leaving the house or not. Yet, coffee here from a cafe is SO expensive! And the coffee that most people drink at home is INSTANT! *dies*
4. Libraries/Book Stores: Ugh… This I would probably remedy, but going to a book store and not finding a single book in English kills me. And what’s more, the book stores here aren’t designed to just sit and relax. Yes, there’s a few seats, but there are no fires or coffee shops, or places to relax and read for a while. Like… that’s a big thing for my family and I and not having that leaves me with one less thing to do.
5. Clothing: -.- I am not small. I’m average size with sizable thighs because I run and broad shoulders from my Germanic heritage. Aka I don’t FIT into Japanese clothing! *headdesk* They are so tiny that you could probably fit two of them into one of my skirts, which means I’d have to ALWAYS order clothing online or
by some form of magic find a shop that sells things in *cough* bigger sizes. :p
6. Genkan: The Japanese people believe the outside world (and the toilet room) are dirty places. As a result you must ALWAYS wear shoes outside (and into the toilet room) and remove them before entering the house. -.- Uh… no. In America I wander around outside barefoot. I haven’t felt the grass under my feet since I left America and that is the strangest feeling, especially for someone who doesn’t like wearing shoes or socks. There have been many a time when I’ve debated walking around America without shoes on. Yet, I don’t need to be chastised for doing such in Japan. So… That ain’t gonna fly.
7. Hygiene: I don’t consider myself a germaphobe, but Japan is kind of disgusting by even my standards. Restrooms outside of big cities often times don’t have soap to wash your hands. -.- People just rinse their hands off and then wipe them on their clothes to dry them because there are no dryers or towels. Oh! And people cough and sneeze right into their hands! 0.0 EW! No wonder so many people wear the face masks. They’re always sick!
So, as you can see, there are many good reasons to live in Japan, but also many not so good reasons. Still, the biggest reason for me to not stay in Japan: my family. It’s going to be hard enough for me to live in Georgia this fall for graduate school (2hr plane ride/13hr car ride), much less in Japan(13hr plane ride.) When it comes right down to it, I couldn’t live across an ocean from my family. They’re the reason I’m staying in America.
Have you been to Japan? What are your pros and cons for living in Japan? Leave a comment below!