Despite it being seven and a half months until the big move, I can’t stop thinking about Japan! I’m actually struggling to concentrate at work or talk about anything else with my friends. I think it makes sense to wait this long – I’ll have ample opportunity to plan my time there and save up extra cash just in case.

Actually that’s what this post is about. I’ve done some preliminary research and I’ve already learnt a lot. There are a fair few resources online for me to look through which has got me thinking about what I would like to achieve. To begin with I’ve been ruminating on…

Where?

I’m lucky enough to have already been to Japan twice. I’ve spent five weeks overall travelling the country and I’ve seen many of the touristic highlights. It’s a big place however and there’s still plenty I want to see.

Hokkaido

Hokkaido is the northern-most island in Japan and therefore a bit off the beaten tourist track. From what I’ve read and seen online, it has the best of Japan all in one place. Cities, culture and natural beauty in spades. It does get pretty cold in winter however so I’m considering spending the summer months up there. I’d love to do some hiking and get a feel for what city life is like here (Sapporo is closer to Russia than Tokyo).

hokkaido
Mountain landscapes in Hokkaido
sapporo
Hokkaido’s capital city – Sapporo

Okinawa

I don’t think many people think of tropical paradises when considering Japan, but actually the southernmost part of the country has beautiful remote islands with coral reefs, white sand beaches and sparkling azure seas. The biggest of these islands is called Okinawa and this has a city of 300,000 people on it named Naha. I would love to experience for myself what it’s like to live in such a place. Perhaps I’ll hideout down there and avoid the winter…

naha
Okinawa’s capital city – Naha
Okinawa
Tokashiki Island in Okinawa Prefecture

Mountains and Landscapes

One of the absolute highlights of all my globetrotting has got to be when I hiked the Nakasendo Highway in Japan. The country is pretty mountainous and therefore has incredible alpine scenery that in my view rivals even Switzerland’s – but coupled with the adorable Japanese architecture it becomes a uniquely special experience. If I’m there for a year, then I’m going to want to do plenty of walking in the hills and forests across the nation. Better buy some sturdy walking boots and do some research into what routes are best! Perhaps I should climb Mt. Fuji…

nakasendo
Kiso Valley

Not-Tokyo

While cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima are all brilliant and must visits, part of me would like to spend more time in the smaller cities around the country for a view of what living in Japan is typically like. I imagine this will likely keep costs down and potentially reduce competition for jobs so it could be a sensible idea!

View of Cherry Blossom or Hitome Senbon Sakura festival at Shiroishi riverside and city, Funaoka Castle Ruin Park, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
View of cherry blossom in Sendai, a smaller city north of Tokyo

Speaking of jobs, I’m not sure what kind of work I’d like to do. I’ve had a quick look and there are a few interesting options, for example helping check localisations for video game scripts, proof-reading scientific papers or even something similar to what I do now like business analysis. Besides those, there are things within the tourism sector I could do, or of course something like English teaching. At this stage, I’m of the opinion that any work I do will just be to supplement my funds for a little while. I’m not particularly interested in full time work but we’ll see!

1 Comment

  1. Konichi wa ! Charlie, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before you were heading back to the Far East – it can get you that way and living in the UK doesn’t quite compare ! I remember suggesting at the end of your world tour that working overseas might be the next step and so it is. Japan is a great choice and, as you already know, a fascinating place in which working/living there will be a great experience. I also did it back in 1990 and have no regrets and although I didn’t really take to the Japanese work ethic the opportunity it afforded to travel, see and feel the country was priceless. I worked in Tokyo for a couple of years as a structural engineer before heading down to Hong Kong.

    Like

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