How To Feel At Home In Japan
November 22 2022
Living in another country can be an exciting and life-enriching experience, especially if you're in a place like Japan. With its beautiful scenery, dynamic cities, and amazing culture, it's no wonder why foreign residents make up 2.2% of the total population in the country, with most of them living in popular places such as Tokyo and Okinawa.
There are many ways in which Japan is unique. Bringing a piece of home may help you cope.
However, living in a place that is entirely different from where you grew up can be disconcerting at times, and most people will experience culture shock and homesickness while they're abroad. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to feel at home in Japan so you can make the most out of your day-to-day life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Bring a Piece of Home with You
No matter how well appointed it is, your new apartment or condo unit can feel somewhat cold or impersonal once you move in. Thankfully, you can remedy this problem by taking something that's been with you for years to make your home in Japan feel more familiar. Some of these things may include a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, a decorative windchime that's been hanging in your old home, some framed pictures of your family and friends, or a couple of your most loved books. These items are easy enough to pack up and bring to your new home abroad.
For items such as wall art, see if you can bring smaller pieces with you, or consider reprinting and framing your favorite images to make your house feel more like home.
Explore Your Neighborhood
Getting to know your neighborhood is one of the most important things that you have to do once you move to Japan. Make this a priority, especially if you're raising a child abroad. Doing so can help your kids to feel at ease so they can adjust to your new place. Moreover, it can help you and your loved ones to cope if you're feeling homesick.
On your first week, make it a point to walk around with your family and see if you can find a nearby park, a nice coffee shop, a grocery store, a konbini or convenience store, book store, and a pharmacy to start with. Knowing where to get your essentials can make you and your loved ones feel a little more settled in a new country.
Moreover, you can have lots of fun browsing and shopping for items that you can only find in Japan. Some of the most popular stores in the country with multiple branches include Daiso, where you can find everything from household items to stationery at very low prices. There's also bound to be a Lawson or FamilyMart convenience store in your area where you can get grocery items and simple yet filling meals.
Learn the Language
Even if you're working for a multinational company and your kids are studying in an international school, it's still important to learn the local language so you and your loved ones can feel like you belong. Knowing how to speak Japanese will make it easier for you to shop, run errands, take public transportation, and make new friends. Consider taking an online language course, or better yet, enroll in a language school. Some of the top places to learn Nihongo include the KCP International Japanese Language School, Meiji Academy, and Shinwa Foreign Language Academy.
Living in a new country can be overwhelming, but by bringing some of the things that matter to you, exploring your neighborhood, and learning the local language, you can have a happy and fulfilling life in Japan. Be open to new things, and be mindful of the culture and customs so you and your family can enjoy your time in Japan and make new connections.