Last Updated on March 12, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
In any Japanese lover’s life there comes a time when they find themselves considering the inevitable: Should I settle in Japan? After that comes a question which is even more inevitable: Is Japan really all that great? Before being sure about whether or not you will be living in Japan, it’s necessary to find out if its the country which you’ve always dreamt of spending your life in, which can be hard because each country has its own set of pros and cons.
Japan is home to some of the largest cities in the world, peaceful, and serene countryside. Any of the favourite pop culture in the world comes from Japan where there are a lively art scene and lots of young people.
The nation is renowned for its food and people from Western cultures will be familiar with many of the services there. Japan is a busy, growing economic centre, and a popular place for expatriates. But what are the pros and cons of living in that country? For more detail please read on.
Pros of Living in Japan
1. Quality Education
Japan is renowned for providing all students with a world-class education, whether they attend free public school or private international school. When students complete their education, they are kept to high levels of performance, and US News and World Report recently rated Japan’s school system among the best in the world. There are great opportunities in Japanese schools to learn multiple languages, and Japanese universities are highly esteemed.
Japan is very affordable with public healthcare. Everybody is protected, and the out-of-pocket expenses are capped to keep the cost of healthcare manageable. The nation is making a concerted effort to keep the costs of healthcare under check, and they rarely create any problems for people living there.
3. Shopping Experience
Supermarkets in Japan are world-famous for being, well, convenient. There, you can buy almost anything, and they are always clean, safe and well-staffed. Many visitors from other countries would not even recognize a convenience store in Japan when compared to their own. Likewise, Japan ‘s cities are home to major shopping centers where you can find just about everything you want.
4. Delicious Food
Tokyo’s restaurants were given more Michelin stars than those in Paris, but Japanese cuisine has more to say than sushi. Japanese food is healthy and scrumptious.
There is an array of fresh seafood and world-class dishes including melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef, teppanyaki which is cooked on an iron grid, and tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet).
5. Job Opportunities
There is a constant demand for people to teach English to the students, so if you’re a fluent English-speaking westerner, you can very easily get a job as a teacher in Japan. The pay for teachers is steady, and they are provided with living quarters in many cases to facilitate the transition to living in a new culture. That could be an easy way to make Japan your new home if you enjoy working with children.
6. Public Transportation
In most of the articles, public transportation has mostly come under the cons, but not in the case of Japan. Japan’s subways, trains, and buses are fast, clean, comfortable, and reliable. The system of public transportation makes it very easy to get to where you wish to go, even between cities. The use of public transport in Japanese life is so ingrained that you could comfortably live there without owning a car.
7. Clean Environment
Japan may be an Asian country, but there are plenty to find in Western conveniences: Modern toilets, free water, stores, and more. With its lovely gardens, the houses are also very well kept.
8. Work Visas
Japan provides many different forms of work visas, including a temporary visa that you can get if you’re doing paper-signing research, or other work that isn’t paid. While it can be complicated and time-consuming to apply for a visa without a corporate sponsor, Japan is usually fairly open to encouraging foreign talent to work within its borders.
Cons of Living in Japan
1. The High Living Cost
You can expect to shell out big bucks for rent if you want to live anywhere near a Japan city Centre. Living costs in Japan have long been one of the highest in the world, and while in recent years the country has become more affordable, it is still not a cheap place to call home.
2. Non-existent Work-life Balance
Japan has an incredibly hard-working culture. Individuals are only supposed to turn up early to work and stay late, no matter what position they are in. If you’re sick, you ‘re expected to use vacation time rather than sick leave, but using vacation time is also frowned on, and your ability to get a job in the future could be negatively impacted. Japan has an insanely hard-working culture, and that means a lot of time it’s hard to get a break-even.
3. Natural Disasters
Japan experiences earthquakes within its boundaries on a relatively regular basis, and those can cause tsunamis which can devastate the island country. There is nothing that you can do to avoid them, but natural disasters are just a part of Japanese life.
4. Opening a Bank Account is Tough
You have to be a citizen and have proof of your residence, as well as your passport and Japanese visa to open a bank account in Japan. You would also need to have a hand-carved Hanko seal, which is a stamp used on official documents instead of a signature.
It is not necessary to open a Japanese bank account from overseas, due to complicated visa requirements. That means you’ll have to jump through some hoops when you first arrive in Japan to get all your documentation in order before you can open a bank account.
5. Always an Outsider
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you seek to blend in and integrate into the culture, you ‘re never going to be accepted as a local individual. You will always feel isolated and called “gaijin,” meaning an outsider. Being a migrant does have its advantages but also its obstacles. Beware of that. You’ll be asked a lot of questions about when you’re returning to your home.
6. Male Chauvinism
Gender inequality in Japan is a huge problem, as it is still strongly embedded in Japanese minds, politics, education, and economics. At all levels! This is a major drawback in this community and sadly this comes from ancient samurai times and their bushido code, both historically and culturally speaking. You ‘re not going to see a lot of women CEOs and women politicians.
The gender disparity in Japan is usually so high that you can even compare it to Muslim countries. You will get incredibly depressed at some point as an independent female living in Japan, and inevitably you will start losing gender equality in society.
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