Newcomers Guide to Japan

Moving to a foreign country where the culture is vastly different from one’s own is a thrilling and frightening prospect. Many Canadians make this decision, especially after they finish college and want to earn some money before continuing their studies or settling down. If you can find a place to live and work outside of central Tokyo or some other city entirely, you will save money, but Tokyo is where the work is. A newcomers guide to Japan will probably lead you to the capital.


Japanese people are typically patient with English-speaking foreigners and especially kind if you try to speak Japanese. Even a few words cause them to erupt into enthusiastic applause. Plan to become familiar with the language during your stay. The more you know prior to living in Japan, the more comfortable and the less lost you will be.

Job Opportunities

There are many job opportunities in Japan. Job satisfaction will depend on your Japanese language skills. Waiting tables or taking tickets at amusement parks pays very little, but these mundane and unskilled jobs are good opportunities for students.

People who want more out of life will have to be highly qualified with either many years of experience or a degree. One of the best areas to get into is anything to do with computers and technology which are as much a part of entertainment as business.

Where to Live

If you come to Japan with your family, you need to find a location where kids can go to school and there are activities. The neighborhood must feel safe and welcoming. Some neighborhoods are difficult to join because the people living there all know each other and have been living in the same homes for decades. Kichijoji is popular with families. Ikenukuro is another popular spot offering lots of entertainment and plenty of shopping. Neruma, considered relatively inexpensive, is a good place for anyone in the animation business to live and work. Residents of this area consider it a positive place to live and raise children.

There are also lots of good schools near family neighborhoods and a school for kids whose second language is Japanese. Immersion is the best way to learn any tongue.


Tokyo and surrounding towns are popular places to visit annual festivals. Within a short drive are several amusement centers offering exciting rides.

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