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Discussion on: Working in Japan: Myths, Realities, Compensation, Culture (By A Software Engineer)

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Rob Sherling Author
  • What is the job scene in other big cities throughout Japan like Osaka or Kyoto compared to Tokyo? (Abundance of jobs, things to do, apartments to select from, etc.)

Less jobs in either. Tokyo has the most jobs and best pay, Osaka is second, Kyoto is third. In terms of things to do, they all have things to do, although I will say that while I prefer Osaka I actually think that aside from food there isn't as much to do as the other two.

Apartments are a mixed bag, but will probably be harder than in Tokyo - less non-Japanese means more stigma.


I think this is an issue everywhere, but I'm too young to comment on it personally.

  • How can I prepare for apartment hunting:
    1) Learn all the Japanese you need for looking for apartments, or make good friends with a bilingual person who will help you.
    2) Go onto a Japanese apartment website and pick several that you like. This will require high Japanese skill.
    3) Call a real-estate agent (numbers listed on the site), tell them what you want. Ask them to call ahead and make sure that non-Japanese are okay.
    4) Go to a real estate agent and look at places. If a place doesn't allow you, you'll probably know before you even go look at it because the agent will check.

  • Health stuff
    I don't know how easily you could find any of those things because I don't know your Japanese capacity or where you would live. That being said - I imagine that if you could communicate your needs, sure.

  • Little Japanese
    I don't want to sound repetitive here, but without knowing exactly what you know and what your personality is like, I have no idea. I will say that trying to make deep friendships without knowing the language is very, very hard, but I can't speak much to anything else.

  • Can I just use Hiragana and Katakana?

Not if you want to read, no. You don't need to learn Kanji, but if you don't know how to read and write at a (minimum) high school level, you are going to have a rough time getting into the workforce. If you stick to mainly English jobs and have a bilingual partner/friend, you'll be fine. But imagine living in an English country and being only able to read two letters of the local alphabet - that is what life is like here without knowing Kanji. You can live it - many do - but it's rough, and you are functionally illiterate.

Thank you for formatting your comment the way you did, it was really easy to answer! I hope this helps.

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