12 Things to expect when moving to Inaka Japan
Are you moving to the countryside? Or are you just curious how is it like?
Here are 12 awesome/terrible things about living in Japan’s countryside.
1 – Language
Starting with the obvious – People don’t understand English!
If you think you’re having problems with communication in Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto, imagine moving to a place where English is practically non-existent. Other than the bigger road signs (Thank you Japanese government), all food menus, instructions, local guides, etc are all in Japanese.
So unless you step up on your Japanese language game, you’re probably gonna feel a bit defunct trying to speak to your colleagues and neighbours.
Pro Tip: Download google translate IMMEDIATELY. The camera function works wonders.
2 – People are (mostly) very friendly
The locals in inaka Japan are a very close-knit community. So if you’ve just moved in there, you can expect people coming/stopping to chat with you when you’re walking on the streets. If you need help or information, they will certainly lend a hand too. Any omiyages / gifts you buy for them will also be returned to you in a different way as appreciation.
They are a warm bunch of people who values the concept of “harmony” and nothing can pretty much go wrong… unless you’re a total a-hole and one by one people stop talking to you and stories + rumors of your misdeeds are the latest gossip in town.. Just because that’s the most fun thing to do in the quiet countryside.
3 – Neighborhood friends
As the population around you is low and everyone knows everyone, people get closer, faster. You’ll not just be a “hi-bye” friend but you’ll be invited for dinner at their place.
People will share about themselves more and you’ll most likely be involved in more than a few traditional Japanese drinking parties.
We call this “nominication”
4 – Travelling to eat
If you don’t cook, don’t like cooking, or too lazy (that’s me)to cook, you’re kinda out of luck. Because most likely the food options around you would be limited. You’ll need to have AT LEAST a bicycle to find food somewhere else.
For me, a 20 minute (one-way) ferry ride is the MINIMUM.
Oh, did I mention there’s no Uber Eats too?
5 – No Halal
Made this point for my Halal friends.
You can expect NO HALAL RESTURANTS.
So if you can only strictly eat Halal meat, your most convenient option is to cook. Thankfully you can buy Halal meat online and have it delivered.
6 – You’ll enjoy the local food and produce
Fresh veggies, meat, fish and fruits!
Ingredients so fresh, you’ll think season 7 of Bel-Air is airing.
Be spoiled while you can, because if you move back into the city, you’ll start dreaming of the food you once had.
7 – Shops close early
Most shops will close by 5 and you’ll be left to yourself to fight off the army of boredom that come raiding your soul every now and then.
Unless you’re the Flash or can teleport, I’d highly advise you to pick up a hobby, have a bunch of local friends or be addicted to online porn.
Suggestion: Put your time to good use and write an article for us instead! #lookingforwriters
8 -No night entertainment
There has GOT to be a bar nearby right? Or late night izakayas that are so common in Japan?
Yes and yes, fortunately! There is probably ONE bar nearby operated by some granny and ONE izakaya by some gramps. Hell, if they serve food, most likely it’ll taste amazing too! But ANYTHING other than that? Most likely not. Cinema? Bowling Alley? 60s style game arcade center?
No no no no no no~
Why don’t YOU start a new business? More young people are starting to do that in Inaka Japan and (with the right planning)business is booming!
9 – Lack of Transport
I don’t know about you, but where I am, there is very little public transport. There are no trains and the nearest bus stop is 15 minutes away. I live surrounded by the sea and the ferry is the closest but it take 20 minutes to get to the other side. Not to mention the last ferry back is rather early.
How do you deal with this?
A – Get your Japanese driving/bike license
B – Get a good bicycle
C – Like to walk. A lot.
10 – Going to the city seems like a luxury
I travel quite a lot and I come from Singapore so the city is nothing new or surprising to me. But after living in the countryside for more than a year, whenever we (my colleagues and I) hear that someone is going to town, we will low-key go “ohhhhh that’s great” in our hearts.
I’m guessing going to town takes quite some time and money and not everyone has that all the time.
11 – Close to nature
You’ll be surrounded by lots of greens and forestry, by agriculture and even mountains! For me, I live on Awaji Island so you can add the awesome view of the sea to that.
It is an experience to be able to live away from the city – Walking home on a dark path with the sounds of insects, frogs and the trees brushing against each other… You look up and you see an ocean of stars above you. It is absolutely amazing and the point where you come to a realization that you’re living in the inaka.
12 – Its not really cheaper
Food is about…20% cheaper? Rent is super low and you can have a nice 1LDK for 50,000 yen depending on where you are (I live near the sea and ferry for 40K. 2 stories, unfurnished)… and because there are not much you can do, that’s where the problem lie.
Transport – You’ll need to travel out to meet your city friends, or when you wanna catch a movie, or etc. When your family/friends come to visit in Japan you’ll probably want to get a room there too. I wouldn’t consider Japan’s public transport cheap and these costs stack up more quickly that you’ll think.
…and thats it!
I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as I did making it. The next part will come in near future! Do share it with your friends if you think it is interesting! 🙂 – Freddy Bboxfred