Life in Japan is exciting, fast-moving, hectic and generally the complete opposite of what it is in the West. In this series of article, I would like to provide you with how to's and guides in order to make your life easier, weather you are a tourist planning a trip or a future expatriate trying to sort out the details of your relocation to Japan.
I recently wrote an article dealing with the risks of radioactive contamination associated with the consumption of food in Japan. This article was prompted by the publication of the first set of data estimating the distribution of the cesium throughout Japan's cultivable land. Earlier this month, the results of another significant effort led by researchers at the University of Tokyo was published, this time, dealing with the doses of radioactive iodine to which the populations of the Tokyo area were exposed in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis triggered by the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the crippling of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. In very much the same way as last time, I propose to analyses this paper and try to extract the most significant information for the Tokyo residents or those wishing to visit Japan soon.
Eight months have passed since March 11th 2011 and the Great Tohoku Earthquake which triggered a tsunami that devastated the eastern coast of Japan and provoked the worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl. The initial fears and the foreign media frenzy now over, one could now think that all is back to normal in Japan. From inside Japan however, things are still far from normal, even for those who were fortunate enough to live several hundreds of kilometers away from Fukushima and its crippled nuclear power plant. One of the main problems that all people have to face is to ensure their family’s safety as regards to the food that they consume. While the entire population of Japan is concerned, foreigners are a lot more susceptible than any other as they might not necessarily be able to access or understand crucial information regarding to the provenance and relative safety of the food that they purchase.
To all of you who wrote to urge me to come back to France, here is my point of view. I really appreciate your concern and kindness. I will try to explain to you the situation as it can be seen from here but there are some circumstances that cannot be grasped from outside Japan. I, myself do not understand all of them, even from within. I have chosen to settle in Japan over a year ago. Little by little, I made my place, my life, friendships and even more. I currently share my life with a Japanese person. As Olivier Gaurin was explaining in his own note, if you decide to settle somewhere, whether you want it or not, this place and its people will deeply affect you in more ways than you can imagine.
If you are going to spend a significant length of time in Japan, I am sure that you will consider the option of renting a flat of your own. Although it is, to most people, a sign of ultimate achievement in terms of settling in Japan, it is also the hardest of all procedures that I have faced so far in the country. After talking to you about how to get a working holiday visa and how to find a job in Japan, I will try in this article to give you the nuts and bolts of apartment search in Japan.
In a previous article, I covered the main requirements for obtaining a working holiday visa in Japan. I would now like to go through the job hunting process which should logically follow. Like in every country, finding a job in Japan can be difficult, particularly at the moment, in a time of economic moroseness. But take heart however, it is not impossible and on many aspects, if you have the right profile and the right approach, you might find the Japanese job market more flexible and full of opportunities than the one of your country of origin. In some cases, some people have been able to completely reinvent themselves professionally in Japan!
I got a lot of demands for an English translation to this one. It took some time but here it is, the translation of my original article. While I was preparing my application for a working holiday visa, I obviously had to read through a great deal of web pages, blogs and forums only to find very inconsistent and contradictory information. In this article, I would like to sum up the main points that I think are essential to make your application successful.