Monday, 27 January 2014


I don't know if I forgot to tell you, but as of the 21st of January, 2014 I left Japan. Anyway I thought it'd be nice to leave you with a FUQ, or Frequently Unasked Questions.


Well as you know from reading my blog (you've been reading it? WOW), I've been here close to seven years, and things have been plateauing for a few years. I'm getting older. Over the years a few of my relatives have passed away, and I value the time I have with my immediate family. Recent events have also fast-tracked my planned departure date.


No, not at all! With amazing technologies like Skype, it felt like friends and family were in my room at any time. There are also heaps of free wifi hotspots. It's much better than the bad old days of phone cards and Internet cafes.


Yeah, of course. I'd like to have had more opportunities to advance in the company. I applied for management/training positions and I wasn't considered. I wish I really learnt Japanese. I should've persued my music dreams harder. I'd like if some people were kinder. That'll do. Can't stop 'dem regrets you know!


The SMOKING. I am not a smoker. Japan has it backwards. You can smoke in bars and restaurants but outside you can't. WTF? Tax the f**k out of those cigarettes too!

OLD PEOPLE - Now don't get me wrong I don't hate them per sé. It's just that I think old people generally don't like foreigners "changing" Japan. This goes for a**hole police officers, and is it a coincidence all the taxi drivers are senior citizens? I rest my case. Actually they often leave seats beside me free on the train. I guess it's not all bad.

SPITTING - Is it so hard to f**king swallow? It's worse in winter when your footpath gunk doesn't evaporate. It just stays there forever. Gross.

BLOCKING FOOTPATHS - Do you have to walk/stand in a "wall of stupid" making it difficult to walk or ride past? I used to use my bad squealing brakes to make people sh*t themselves. Hilarious.

BANKS & PHONE COMPANIES - Now I'm sure there were other so-called businesses, but these two really annoyed me. SIM locked phones? docomo changed tack when they got the iPhone. Shame shame shame. Banks charging after hours and transfer fees really sucked. OH, and piss poor bank interest. Thanks for nothing UFJ.

SHOGANAI - This means "it can't be helped". To me this means Japanese people compromise too much so that the above companies and more get what their greedy minds want. Sure, packed trains can't be helped. I'll let you have that one.


Well, it's going to sound horribly cliché but the food is awesome; I hate flowers, but the cherry blossoms "affect" me; the Japanese girls are super pretty and more approachable (gonna miss the bikini girls of Summer); the plentiful cheap and accessible alcohol, and drinking in public; the wonderful music shops with beautiful instruments (new and used). I'm really going to miss my friends AND my best friend :(


YEAH! As a tourist, Japan is unlike any other country I've been to. Actually it's like another planet. Japanese people are very friendly and accommodating to tourists. You'll feel very welcome.


Now this one is harder to answer. WHY do you want to work in Japan? I had someone tell me, "I don't know". Now THAT I see as the wrong reason.  Life will seem better when you are arrive, but it will progressively get worse. Anything that is wrong with your life will be amplified. You'll be looking for substitutes of all the good stuff you'll miss. I say YES if you can speak Japanese or have a very strong will to learn the language. Use the visa to do something BETTER.

Japanese people will treat you differently, or you'll see them differently when you've been here a while too.


I wish I knew, then I might have left earlier! For me, the right time is to go before you end up hating the place.  It's when you realise that you have a job here, not a career. It's before you get "stuck" here either through marriage or being too lax to go. Once the roots start growing it gets harder to cut down the tree.


In the past I think I suggested using Go Lloyds.  GoRemit (Shinsei Bank) took over their services, and should be the equivalent. I actually used Japan Post Bank this time. You can take out cash from your account and do a 口座あて送金 telegraphic transfer (2,500 yen for any amount), which takes a week to get in your account.  Just don't mess up the information! Don't bring lots of cash on the plane. Banks don't like dealing with paper money.


I'm not sure. I wouldn't mind teaching English here but I don't know if my time actually counts for much. I could go back to my old job. I could be a rockstar. LOL. Right now I'm in a bit of limbo. Getting over my "lost weekend" and trying to join the real world.

Well that's all the questions I can think of right now. I want to thank all the people that have stuck with me all these years with my blog. It's nice that it wasn't for nothing. If you have any other questions or want to say hi leave a comment. I'm not dead yet.

I hope I gave you a good FUQ



peavey said...

Good luck man, wish you the best. There's always time for something new.

BTW just so you know, I had subscribed to your rss feed long ago (through Google reader and now feedly) cause I too was playing with the idea of coming to Japan, so your posts were always part of my morning browsing/reading. I don't usually comment though (nor do I comment to most of the blogs I read). Hope you'll continue posting from time to time.

Jimmy In Japan said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment! It's really cool to get this kind of feedback, and that you guys got something out of this. Hopefully I'll have something worth writing about to continue.

thewilythylacine said...

Good luck on whatever you decide to do. I've been following your blog since the beginning, using it as a guide somewhat. Around the time you started, I was planning to go to Japan to do the same thing, but life got in the way, and I was sidetracked all this time. Finally, I'm preparing to go myself.

Overall, did you accomplish what you intended by leaving your "comfort zone" in Australia? How did the reality of 7 years in Japan differ from your expectations before you moved there? Or did you even have any expectations? And perhaps the most important question, if you hadn't had this experience, if you had stayed in your comfort zone, how do you think your life would have been different?

While I know everybody's experience is completely different, I have learned quite a bit from your blog, and your final impressions have been/will be very instructive.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your journey. It would be cool if you maintain a follow-up blog of your post-Japan experiences.

Jimmy In Japan said...

My biggest expectation was that life would be better, but it just cruised along in the last years. The alienation that I felt back home followed me in Japan. I was searching for replacements of what I had - Yoyogi park was Roma St Parklands, my gf became my "mother". Once my friends hooked up with their girlfriends I was feeling alone again and the horrible people were just as bad as back home.

When I came to Japan everything felt new. Towards the end everything felt the same and I wish it didn't. It's like a really promising movie with an anti-climatic ending "Is that it?"

Did I accomplish what I intended? No. Being home I've jumped back into that comfort zone. I have sent out applications out for English teaching here but I'm still waiting for replies. I've only been here a week so it's still early days.

I don't feel much different. To quote the Wallflowers, "I ain't changed but I know I ain't the same". I know I can live alone and independently but old habits die hard.

I'm thankful for the time I spend in Japan, and think some of it will have been beneficial. I'd like some things to have been different, but if I did it again I'd likely do the same things over anyway.

If I stayed here I'd probably have wondered "what if?" so now I know. I'd probably be doing the same thing as before had I not left. I really don't know. Who can predict it?

You sound like you really want to go. I say do it. You sound really motivated. What side-tracked you? Just go for the right reasons, and if the reasons aren't right, don't wait seven years to find out.

Good luck to you too :)

thewilythylacine said...

Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful response. I've actually tweeted you a couple times a few months back commenting on the blog and musical gear. It's hard to make a long story short in this case, so I apologize if this is long-winded.

Initially, the he idea to move to Japan came from a desperate need to escape from some really unpleasant living circumstances. Right when my life was kind of cruising along with no particular goal, I found myself saddled with the full-time responsibility of taking care of an elderly relative with dementia. The situation was almost like being in prison or in a coma for a few years while everyone else moved on with life.

About two years into that madness, I accidentally stumbled on to some Japanese TV programming on a station here in San Francisco, and I gradually developed an interest in learning more about the language and culture. Doing some research, I got the idea of going to Japan to teach, and that notion kind of kept me going through all that isolation.

When I was able to break away from my responsibilities, I took classes at a local Japanese language school and met a number of people who had already gone or were planning to go do the teaching thing in Japan, and the notion of going became more of a viable, concrete objective.

When my relative died and all her affairs were settled, I began to make plans to go. One of my friends had done it, lasted about 3 years before he had reached his limit, and then was back in the USA, but overall he thought it was a worthwhile experience.

It was about this time that I discovered your blog. So in a way you were almost a vanguard for what I was planning to do sometime in 2008. Being an extremely cautious person, and never having traveled outside the States, I took 7 week solo trip, mostly hanging out in Tokyo, but also doing a lot of sightseeing and traveling between there and Hiroshima, just to see if I even liked the place. It was a challenge, but it was great. Right at the end of the trip, the world economy tanked (making job prospects everywhere wobbly) and when I returned to the US, the responsibility fell on me to look after another relative with serious health issues. That situation pretty much side-tracked me again from going for what amounted to the entire duration of your stay in Japan. I'm just now in a position to make the move.

So that's the story. I have to say that your blog has been a great guide, and especially useful in wiping away any idealistic notions about life in Japan. It seems like most people either reach their limit for various reasons at about the 3 year mark or they end up staying there forever, so your experience is somewhat of an outlier in terms of time. Somehow, though, I still want to have this experience for myself, and even if it only lasts a year or two, I can be satisfied with having tried it.

Honestly, thanks for the blog. It has been helpful in so many ways, practical and otherwise. It would be cool if you could follow it up from time to time, particularly chronicling the adjustment to your "new" life back in Oz. Even, after my 7 week trip, it took me about a week or two to grasp that I was really home. For a couple of days, it was almost like trying decide whether being in Japan had been real or being back in the States was a dream.

Anyhow, best of luck, keep blogging if/when you are able, and of course keep rocking the guitar!

Jimmy In Japan said...

Yeah I remember those tweets. Good thing you learnt some Japanese. It will help you a lot.

Three years is the average, some one year, some a lot more. Do it as soon as you can. Once you get the placing it takes 3 months to get your visa & Certificate of Eligibility. One of my biggest regrets is that I started traveling relatively late. You're not getting any younger.

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm really amazed that anyone read my blog let alone used it as a guide.

blank said...

Came across your 2008 posts while searching for UFO Catchers in Yokohama. I just blew more money than I'd like to admit on an anime figurine that I can buy for half the price in Akihabara.

Anyway, had a great time reading through some of your posts. Thanks for sharing. Good luck in whatever you're doing now man.

Jimmy In Japan said...

I know exactly what you mean. You forget how much yen you put in those machines! The prizes back then were better quality back then. My favourite stuff were the Nintendo plushies. Thanks for writing :)