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Thread: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

  1. #1

    Default what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    I'm heading out in August to start as an ALT. Not sure where I'll be placed yet -- hopefully will find out next week. Any hot tips/wisdom to bestow besides "take deodorant"?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Living in Japan won't be what you expect, so don't waste time thinking about it too much and instead focus on the things you love back home. As far as things, pretty much everything can be purchased online these days, so wouldn't worry about that. As far as culture, it's too variable depending on placement to worry about.
    After you know your placement people might have more advice, but until then, can't really say much in my opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Be as open-minded and as flexible as you can.


    When something goes wrong due to a language/cultural misunderstanding, try to take a step back, ask yourself if there was something you should have known or could have done differently and learn from the experience.


    Don't let yourself fall too deeply into the negativity of the ex-pat whinging circles. So you should probably get off this site.

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    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Living in Japan won't be what you expect, so don't waste time thinking about it too much and instead focus on the things you love back home.
    word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Be as open-minded and as flexible as you can.


    When something goes wrong due to a language/cultural misunderstanding, try to take a step back, ask yourself if there was something you should have known or could have done differently and learn from the experience.
    word

    "Better to ask forgiveness than permission."
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  5. #5

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Focus on your communication skills. Your job is 90% decided on how well you can communicate with your supervisor (who probably doesn't speak any English) and your JTEs (Japanese English Teachers) who you teach alongside. Be as clear as possible with them about what you need/expect from them and what they need from you. Especially in terms of scheduling and paperwork and notifications (a lot of JTE/supervisors never had over paperwork - for things like JET meetings - on time, or even at all, which can lead to way more stress than necessary.

    Because you aren't fluent in English and are young, you will be treated like a child and not a full adult in a few ways - that's not necessarily a bad thing given the cultural differences. The BoE you work for will probably try to handle a lot of things for you - like arranging utilities, setting up a home phone line, getting your car insurance paperwork done etc. Don't sweat it - they're just covering their asses. But be clear about what's necessary here as well - you don't want to be paying $30/month for a phone line that you'll never use if you've got a cell phone etc.

  6. #6
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Anti prostitution laws only apply to vaginal intercourse so don’t be afraid to ask for anal
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Ini once again providing the best advice.

  8. #8
    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    How much is fisting?

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    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Be as open-minded and as flexible as you can.


    When something goes wrong due to a language/cultural misunderstanding, try to take a step back, ask yourself if there was something you should have known or could have done differently and learn from the experience.


    Don't let yourself fall too deeply into the negativity of the ex-pat whinging circles. So you should probably get off this site.
    Jiggit in with the good advice.

    In times of misunderstanding, you should usually assume that you're in the wrong and be humble and open to criticism. The children are more important than the ALT's ego.
    Last week there was an ALT complaining that her school wouldn't take her on overnight school trips with the kids and she had the audacity to say "It's spoiling my ALT experience," which really just confirms that all-too-many ALTs are incompetent imbeciles who see this as an extended vacation. Nevermind the fact that bringing along an ALT with the speaking abilities of a four year old is just an accident insurance claim waiting to happen...
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    whether in a foreign country or not, when there's a misunderstanding, assuming you made the mistake is a wise move.

  11. #11

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Anti prostitution laws only apply to vaginal intercourse so don’t be afraid to ask for anal
    Adding onto that, if a deriheru girl advertises "AF" on her page then that stands for anal fuck but more often means regular sex, it's just a way to get around the law.

  12. #12
    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Wow jiggit and ini wait years to share this absolute gold, what a bunch of dicks.

  13. #13

  14. #14

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    placements are out: I got Toyama-ken! I didn't receive a city or municipality--does this mean I'm teaching high school? Also, anyone know anything about Toyama? I didn't request it although I did request neighbouring Ishikawa so maybe that had something to do with it. I'm pumped--looks pretty rural with lots of hiking/nature and old architecture around, but still has a big enough city and is relatively centrally located. Also looks like it's always cloudy and rains a lot which is my type of weather. Could not be happier. Thank you guys for all the advice already given, especially Ini, really hitting home the important points.
    Last edited by phthalocyanine; May 18th, 2018 at 06:04. Reason: what is grammar

  15. #15
    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Toyama's got those bioluminescent suicide squid, so that's kinda cool. I'd like to see it someday. Moon/tide/weather has to be just right though.
    I know nothing else about the place.

    Right now I'm filling in the excel document for my successor and goddamn, there's no way to make this place sound good on paper.
    Conbini? None.
    Hospital/pharmacy? None. You get airlifted by helicopter if something bad happens.
    Entertainment centres? LOL.
    Nearest city? A one hour ferry and then four hour bus away.

    Enjoy your bugs and boob sweat, ye poor soul.
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

  16. #16

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    In this prefecture the pref gov't has cut vacation days by 1/2 for new JETs this year. Hard to see that going over well with the non-American arrivals.
    Last edited by TachikawaTruffle; May 18th, 2018 at 08:43.

  17. #17

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by TachikawaTruffle View Post
    In this prefecture the pref gov't has cut vacation days by 1/2 for new JETs this year. Hard to see that going over well with the non-American arrivals.
    yikes. Which prefecture are you in? Please not Toyama?

  18. #18
    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by TachikawaTruffle View Post
    In this prefecture the pref gov't has cut vacation days by 1/2 for new JETs this year. Hard to see that going over well with the non-American arrivals.
    Why would only the non-Americans be upset by this?
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

  19. #19

    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by OatsCurrySummer View Post
    Why would only the non-Americans be upset by this?
    maybe Americans are so used to not having any benefits that whatever the halved number of vacation days is would still be a step up?

    Also just googled the bioluminescent squid. So creepy, I love them. Suicide though? Did they commit some kind of mass squid suicide? lol

  20. #20
    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: what do you wish you'd have known before coming to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by phthalocyanine View Post
    Also just googled the bioluminescent squid. So creepy, I love them. Suicide though? Did they commit some kind of mass squid suicide? lol
    It's a mating thing, and by letting themselves be washed up on the shore, they die.
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

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