When living in Japan you may find yourself isolated culturally and physically especially if you end up in the country side. Many people do not know you but they know you are not from here. There may be some expectations (taking out the trash on the correct day for example) that you follow some of the cultural norms but obviously you weren’t born here so you can swipe the good ol foreigner card here and there (I know I do) but you will still at some point yearn for some type of familiarity of your home country. No matter what you do and how much you think you may enjoy a particular place home is still home. For those having this problem I have listed a couple of solutions
FIRST: PICK UP A HOBBY RELATED TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Picking up a hobby such as basketball and football (for all you westerners out there) will give you access to people who may be similar minded. I may have jumped in the deep end with a hobby that is more related to Japanese culture and suffice to say (the environment) it didn’t jive with me to well. I then decided to choose a different hobby more related to western environments and I have found that I am much happier. Due to this experience I also only go to a western style hospital and I am a bit happier how smoothly things transition.
SECOND: PICK A JOB THAT IS RELATED TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY
When coming to Japan you can choose to work at an organization that is related to Japan and work through the bureaucracy of that organization or you can find a place that is culturally aligned with you. Look for foreign companies that are in your area that have a branch in your home country. I have recently looked at some international schools and have found that some have various cultural backgrounds such as an Indian international school
THIRD: CHOOSE A LOCATION THAT OFFERS YOUR HOME COUNTRIES AMENITIES
With this one I mean by choosing a location that has things that you like or need. These places are usually in higher density locations as there are more stores. While it is possible to of course use Amazon and other ecommerce stores such as Rakuten, it may just be healthier to get out there and walk to the store itself. You might even find a new location that you would like to travel to on the way. While there are some problems that may be associated with living in higher density places there are also a lot of pros so definitely weight your options
FOURTH: BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU WHO IS LIKE MINDED
Really this one is more or less self explanatory. Coming to Japan you may feel a bit lonely and isolated. In order to mitigate this it may be best to bring someone with you. You can bring a friend or if you are married you can bring your wife. Well if you are an introvert like so many people now-a-days you can bring your pet. Eventually in Japan you will just need someone to talk to especially if you are having a bad day. Unless you have an amazing level of Japanese you will not be able to speak to anyone from Japan and even if you do you won’t have the same cultural background as them so their perspectives might be different.
FIFTH: CALL FAMILY AND FRIENDS BACK HOME
Bringing someone from your home country is a lot of work. A final suggestion would be to just call someone from your home country. Time difference and life may limit the availability of calls that you can perform but tech allows us to stay connected especially through the use of Zoom, Skype, Instagram, and Facebook. While I am not particularly fond of social media too much I still like how I can pop open a video and see my families smiling face and joke from time to time.
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