Why do Gaijins love Okinawa

Life as a Gaijin in Japan

Dear blog readers,

Before I tell more stories from my semester abroad in Japan, I'll write down some of my thoughts today. How can I fulfill my dream of living in Japan for the long term?

My semester abroad in Beppu started in September 2014 and ended in February 2015. During this time I fell so in love with this country that I was 100% return to Japan. That's why it was that time again in August 2015. 3 weeks vacation in Japan. From Tokyo to Okinawa, 4 friends and I treated ourselves to everything. Nevertheless, I brooded and knew that a vacation in Japan would not be enough for me from time to time. I would like to spend my holidays in other countries in the future and return to Japan after a relaxing holiday.

First thoughts about a long-term return to Japan

Of course, I thought about all sorts of things. How should I pursue my dream of living in Japan? How should I learn the language? What am I supposed to live on? How do I get a residence permit? Is it the right decision to quit my well-paying job and take a financial risk? If my family and friends understand my decision - all alone, nothing to you, to live 10,000 km away from Austria. All tricky and difficult questions and situations that I didn't / don't have a question about right away.

Nevertheless, I am simply of the opinion that you should just jump over your shadow and just dare to do something. At 27 I am now in my prime, am not taken and have no children yet. If not now then when?

Gathering information

The first step I took to fulfill my dream was probably to gather information. Without wanting to sound arrogant, my knowledge of Japan is certainly a lot better than that of the average man / woman in Europe. Still I know that I don't know anything.

After a lot of research and thought, I came up with the following options for returning to Japan.

  • Looking for a job in Japan ... from Austria

Many useful websites such as gaijinpot.com help foreigners find a job in Japan. But 80% of all jobs on offer are aimed at English native speakers who are supposed to teach English in Japan. Since my English is not bad, but by far not good enough and I am also not interested in teaching English or my mother tongue German, this is completely omitted for me. Of course, it is also very, very difficult, if not almost impossible, to find a job when you are not in the country. Even if I found one. What happens if I am dismissed during the probationary period or if I do not like the job at all? Then I would have to break off the Japan adventure after about 1 month. So I gave up on this relatively quickly. Nevertheless, it was and is helpful to keep sifting through new job offers. What do future employers expect from me? In which areas do I still have to develop in order to get a chance for an interview?

Since I already have a bachelor's degree in economics, a master’s degree is of course of great interest to me. I picked out a few interesting universities on the Internet and made contact with them. There are sure to be some degree or two that I would like to attend there. The big BUT are the tuition fees. I cannot and will not afford tuition fees of at least 5,000 or 6,000 euros per semester. Why go away when I could study for free in Austria?

Then a special scholarship came to mind ...

  • Scholarship from the Japanese Embassy in Austria

The Japanese Embassy in Austria offers a very interesting scholarship for research and master’s students. I can recommend this scholarship to anyone who is interested in Japan and would like to do research in Japan. Personally, however, I did not apply because you are first sent to Japan as a research student and can be recommended for a master's degree there. Due to my economic background, I don't see myself 100% in the target group of this scholarship. Unfortunately! I would have loved to apply for a master’s degree in advance. However, according to the request, this is not possible.

It soon became clear to me that I wanted to attend a language school. There are a variety of options at different language schools. I signed up for the Go! Go! Nihon decided. The decisive factor was the many positive reports from international students who have already chosen a language school through Go! Go Nihon. Another reason is a good friend who is already completing a language school in Kyoto and who keeps giving me positive feedback.

However, I did not choose a language school in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto. Language schools in these places are probably or with a very high degree of certainty the best decision. Most international companies are located in these cities in order to get a good job after graduating from school. Nevertheless, I decided to go to a language school in Fukuoka out of pure feeling. I can't tell you exactly why Fukuoka is. The city has already given me a magical charm during my two short visits. Fukuoka is also a lot cheaper than other major cities in Japan. For me that was certainly one of the reasons why I chose this city.

At the time when I had to take care of my visa, there was still no agreement on a work and travel visa between Austria and Japan. However, this will be available very, very soon. An additional option for me should I not be able to convert my student visa into a work visa after 1 year.


So there are so many ways to get to Japan. I have decided on one and in the future I will give you tips and tricks on how I can hopefully get a foothold in Japan. Oh yes, I almost forgot. My adventure starts around the beginning of October. I will tell you about it little by little 🙂

Best wishes