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An Expat Talks about Living in
Tokyo , Japan
Sep 17, 2019
An expat moved to Japan mentally prepared to face the stages of culture shock and was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the Japanese culture even in the most crowded places in the city.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
For me, I heard so many stories online about how people “dreamed” of all these great experiences and this perfect life. I wanted to avoid that disappointment. I had to keep in mind that I would still be working full-time while living in Japan. It would just be like working a full-time job in America, except I happened to live in Japan. Also, moving to another country has so many hardships that no one can every really lost them all. This includes homesickness, depression, isolation, and more.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
I kept an extremely low expectation when I prepared for my move to Tokyo. I expected to feel isolated and to experience every little errand be challenging. In ways, I did feel that, but I also did not expect to feel the warmth of the Japanese culture, even in the most crowded places of the city. I went in with low expectations and came out with my expectations surpassed.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
There are so many unsaid rules in Japanese culture that it can be brutal. Some will expect you to know these rules without ever being told, but most are understanding and are more helpful than a lot of Americans. Also, Japan is technologically advanced in some ways, but is also behind the world in a lot of different ways. One example is that they still use FAX machines regularly. Their traditional thinking limits them at times.
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