The country of Japan is actually an island country made up of more than 3,000 islands. The greater Tokyo area is the largest metropolitan area in the world with more than 30 million residents. Japan has the second largest economy in the world, second only to the United States. It is home to great global enterprises such as Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Sony and Canon. With all the cross-over in the business world between Japan and the U.S., more and more people are moving to Japan for business purposes.
When you’ve made the decision that moving to Japan is your next step in life, you’ll need to prepare for the differences in culture and every day life. However, there are many similarities to the United States, as well. You may find yourself more at home than you would’ve imagined.
Schools and education are a high priority for most Japanese families. Therefore, know that in moving to Japan, the school system is very competitive. Almost all children continue through the three-year high school and most will continue into a four-year college or trade-school program. School years and days are much longer than those in the U.S. The kids may need some getting used to in that arena.
For those of you who won’t want to miss your weekly ritual of watching a sporting event on TV, you’ll have much to choose from as sports have gained in popularity over the years. Sumo wrestling is still considered Japan’s national sport and it is one of the most popular spectator sports. Martial arts such as judo and karate are also enjoyed by many fans. However, the professional baseball league in Japan was established in 1936 and today is the most popular spectator sport in the country. Soccer, golf and auto racing have also made their way to the country and found a huge following.
Moving to Japan – Downsizing Will Do
Now that you feel a little more aware of the culture, you’ll need to prepare your home for the move. Homes in Japan are very different from those in the U.S. Because of the high cost of housing in major Japanese cities, many families and individuals rent apartments rather than owning their own home. In 2003, less than half of the residents owned their own home.
If you plan to rent an apartment to stay closer to the amenities of the city, you’ll likely need to downsize from your existing home. If you know your move to Japan is only temporary, you may want to consider renting a storage unit to keep many of your belongings. If you’re making your move permanent, you’ll likely want to sell, donate or discard some of your things. Since the Japanese interior design style is very open and clean, you’ll want to bring as little as possible.
In order to feel at home, you’ll want to keep things that are most comfortable to you, but that also fit well within your home. Now may be the time that you also expand your interior style by incorporating a few Japanese design elements, so you are mixing the old with the new. This will help you embrace your new culture but still feel a touch of home.
Making It a Smooth Move
Making a move to another country can be scary, so work on learning some of the language before you go and do as much research on the country as possible. You want to know the best place to live, work and be able to enjoy the nightlife and cultural scenes including theater and movies, as well. You may also want to take a cooking class to begin to enjoy the delicacies of the country.
With so much to learn and do, you may feel overwhelmed by your decision. However, moving to Japan will allow you and your family to explore a whole new world and culture that few will get to enjoy. Take the time to embrace it and learn as much as you can. Once you’re settled, you’ll likely feel like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.