1. The People
Japanese people are very, very friendly, and will welcome you with open arms. I have been living in Japan since 1980 and have very rarely met a Japanese person I didn’t like. The Japanese are humble, polite, shy, honest and … need I go on? They are great people.
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. There might be another country in the world where anyone (including women and children) can walk the streets at night and not feel threatened or even slightly scared, but I don’t know where it is. In my almost thirty years in Japan, I have seen a total of maybe three or four light fistfights, and even those were the result of tempers flaring in the summer on hot, crowded commuter trains.
Japanese food is healthy and delicious. If you live here, you will find that everything (especially vegetables and fish) is fresh, fairly inexpensive, and mouth-wateringly delicious. My favorite night out on the town with family or friends is at a local yakitori shop: grilled chunks of chicken on sticks with green peppers, onions, and so on…washed down with cold beer, sake or tea for the teetotalers. Vegetarians will delight in the tofu, local vegetables, and yummy seasonal fruits. My favorite is the nashi—a cross between an apple and a pear, but better than either of them!
4. Japanese Culture
Japan is such and interesting place. I still find new and delightful things that surprise me everyday. You can travel to places like Kyoto and Mt. Fuji, enjoy hot spring resorts, study traditional arts, learn Japanese cooking, study the language, and so on and so forth. There is enough to do to keep you eager and satisfied for decades. I myself love photographing old temples, shrines, festivals, and Mt. Fuji.
5. Teaching English
Finally, if you have a college degree you can certainly find a job teaching English in Japan. You’re not going to get rich doing it, but you won’t starve either. The Japanese love to study English and millions are doing it: Kids at school, Housewives at local conversations classes, and Businessmen at the office.
And be careful—you might find yourself liking it so much that you decide to stay a long, long time. Many a man and woman have come to Japan to teach from foreign lands, intending to stay here a year or two, only to suddenly find that it has stretched to five or ten.
You won’t really need experience to land your first job (These days, many jobs are advertised on the Internet. Just do a search titles “Jobs in Japan” or “Teaching English in Japan” and you will be well on your way) but if you do decide that you’d like to give it a try, then look into studying on-line for a certificate for TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). They will not take long to finish, are not expensive, and one of them on your resume will do wonders in helping you to find your first job.
No country in the world is perfect, but I would not trade my experiences of living and working in Japan for anything. Japan just might be the place for you, too. Why not give it a try!