Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far Living and Working in Japan for the Past 5 Years
It's not all work-you get to have fun, too.
For those who want to live the Japan Dream, it is not just all work. When I first came to Japan, I expected my life to be all work and no play, but it turns out, there is so much to do that there isn’t enough time to do everything!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to wear a suit during your days off—unless you want to!
There are a lot of festivals and events.
Almost every weekend, there will be an event somewhere. Japanese people like to put puns on everything. Even the simple November 11 becomes Pocky Day here—just because the numbers 11/11 are similar to the chocolate covered sticks.
Festivals, of course, are endless—with each festival celebrating everything one could possibly think of. Not to mention the season-related events and festivals.
Themed parks, themed restaurants, themed everything.
It goes without saying the Tokyo Disneyland is one of the biggest and most famous theme parks in Japan. But, there is so much more to Japan than that. What about the recently opened Naruto X Boruto Themed Attraction at Fuji-Q Highland? Or even a themed hotel run by robots, Hen na Hotel? There is not enough time to check everything out!
Holidays in Japan are often extended weekends.
One of the best things in Japan is that most holidays are not the isolated midweek ones that feel like a whisper of a break. In fact, it is actually dictated by law that if a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day becomes a public holiday also known as furikae kyuujitsu. Also, any day that falls between two national holidays also becomes a holiday (aka kokumin no kyuujitsu). The Golden Week in Japan is a result of this. In addition, the Happy Monday System introduced last 1998 to 2001 moved several holidays to Monday, ensuring a wonderful long weekend. This is actually the most common pattern nowadays.
What can I say? For a country that is often labeled as workaholic, Japanese people sure do like their vacations!
One-day trips, anyone?
Whether it be the shopping central of Tokyo, the snowy wonderland of Hokkaido, or the sunny beaches in Okinawa, there are so many places to explore in Japan. Depending on where you are, these can be great one-day trips or weekend getaways for you and your friends. For example, a trip from Tokyo to Osaka on the bullet train (shinkansen) is just around 2.5 hours, and a flight from Tokyo to Hokkaido is just around two hours! With Japan’s excellent transportation system, one could virtually go anywhere in this island country.
And the food! Amazing. All. The. Time. There are so many specialties (meibutsu) in every Prefecture that one might as well call all of them food capitals.
Many perks enjoyed during the week as well.
Of course, for those whose days off are on weekdays, or even those who are simply looking for fun things to do after work, there is an abundance of activities and discount promos held on weekdays as well. Wednesdays, for example, are so-called Ladies’ Day in movie theaters and women can enjoy a discount on movie tickets on that day. (Some shops also employ the same discount, so it is not just in movie theaters.) Happy Hour is also common at izakayas and pubs where one can enjoy discounted drinks.
There are so many things to do in Japan that I never run out of things to do. Yes, even when I have been living here for more than five years. I’m sure you will find lots of fun stuff here as well.
(28 August 2019)