There are two types of Westerners living in Japan: those who can live for a long time and those who can’t. There are those who can live in Japan for a long time and those who can’t. Unfortunately, the ratio of these two types of people is roughly 1:5 or 1:10. It’s a tough reality. I’ve seen many foreigners come and go in the past, but the difference between the two still bothers me a lot. That’s why today I’m going to talk about two important preparations to keep living in a foreign country.
Going to Japan is like going to another planet
I say foreign country, but there is a big difference between a European going from Spain to France (a foreign country) and a European going to Japan. So when a European goes to Japan, don’t think that he is going to a foreign country.
You are going to another planet!
Students from Europe use the Erasmus programme to study in other EU countries because of the existence of common ideas and values within the EU. But Japan does not care about EU values in the slightest. So, when you come to Japan, what you take for granted as “good” or “important” will not be recognized. This will be a big problem for you in your life in Japan. And you will be part of a super-minority, one of only 2% of Japanese society, and you will not be able to change the Japanese society by yourself. You will be overwhelmed by the new culture in an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.
So don’t compare life in your country with life in Japan. It’s useless. Japan is not going to change for you. This Japan is being run for the remaining 98% of Japanese people in terms of democracy. If not, one day your stress pile will cause an eruption and you will go back to your home country. In fact, that’s what happened to my parents when they were in Europe for 8 years, so I understand.
My father went to Spain when he was 19 years old and studied Spanish for two years before enrolling in the University of Salamanca, like most Spaniards. But in Spain he was not satisfied with his life. He was constantly comparing his life with that of his friends back home. He had studied at a Spanish university, so he put in a lot of effort, and it was not the kind of effort that an ordinary Japanese can make. But his Japanese friends worked easilier than him to get a regular job, marry her and raise their children. In comparison, my father’s life was three times as hard as an ordinary Japanese’s, but his prospects were twice as obscure. So he returned to Japan with his mother.
But if he had been prepared to leave all his life in Japan and live as a Spaniard, he would have been able to work with a Spaniard in a small company. It was all because he was not ready to leave his life so far.
This is the first thing you need to do. But it’s not enough. The other feeling is just as important as the first.
Make effort three times as hard as the Japanese.
For example, he is a Swedish man who inherited the art of Japanese garden design. And after living with Japanese teachers for a long time, he learned these skills and has become a respected figure in Japan. But I know it’s not easy. His smile is beyond the efforts of ordinary people.
Be prepared for that. If you move to a foreign country, you will be humiliated day after day. But even so, fate is smiling on those who persevere and make an effort. If you think going to Japan will change your boring life, you will be happier if you don’t come. This country is for real challengers for foreigners. Because there are so many difficulties.
If you were an ordinary European, would you move to Japan?
Now, let’s talk about whether I personally would want to move to Japan if I were a European.
If I were a European, I would not live in Japan. First of all, the working and social environment is very different. Unless you are studying Japanese culture, it would be career suicide to live in this country.
I am 24 years old now. I can’t take that risk when I have a stable job. Moving to Japan would ruin my life within 5 years. I can’t go to language school in this country to learn a mysterious and unusually difficult language until I’m 30 years old to get a work visa which I don’t know when I’ll get. If I come to Japan, even if I want to get married and have children, I probably won’t be able to achieve that dream.
On the other hand, if I was born in Spain or Italy, where jobs are scarce, and I thought I had no job, would I go to Japan? I don’t go, as long as you are an EU citizen you are free to work in Germany or Estonia and it is hundreds of times easier to learn German or English than it is to learn Japanese. I would die to learn German and choose to live in Germany.
In other words, if I’m a talented person with a stable career already, I won’t go to Japan because the Japanese society is not likely to offer me any great future. Secondly, if I am someone who has graduated from university but does not have a job, I will not go to Japan because Japanese society does not value someone like me at all and will not give me a visa. This is the logical conclusion. The globalist ideal of being able to live freely in different places does not work in Japan.
So, unless you are a strong person who has always loved hardship and is willing to jump into the mysterious business jungle that is Japan, even if it means giving up your guaranteed future, this country is not for you, unless you are an adventurer or something.
Conversely, all successful foreigners in this country are great adventurers. Assume a life where you have no help from anyone and believe in your own strength alone. Japan as it stands now is that kind of area for foreigners.
Now, you out there who still want to be adventurous, good luck with that. There is no other way but to work hard. But the Japanese love such people.