I moved to Tochigi at the end of August of 2016, so I’ve been here a while. I’ll tell you about some of the processes of moving and a couple things that I wish I had done differently and some things to look out for. I guess I can also throw in what I've been up to.
Things I wish I had done before I left:
- Unlock my phone. I had an iPhone 6s in America, I should have unlocked it when I came here so I could have just used it here. It would have saved me like $1k. If you are planning on moving to Japan, please don’t be as lazy and as anxiety ridden as I was and unlock your phone. It will save you cash money and you will be poor.
- Gotten an international driver’s permit. It’s super easy to do. In America, all you do is get two passport photos, fill out this AAA form and print it out, waltz into your nearest AAA, hand them $20 and the form, wait like 5 minutes, and then peace out. If you live in the inaka (aka boonies), you might be able to live without a car, but you probably won’t be able to be happy without one. While Japan has some of the best public transportation in the world, if you’re in the middle of nowhere it’s not very frequent and ends early. This means you might end up being stranded in some locations if you’re not very careful with your timing, and even then you’ll probably have quite a walk.
- Bought a small American flag, a couple maps, and some teachery stamps.
Leaving America(ON THE HELLO KITTY PLANE):
So I booked the cheapest 1 way ticket to Japan, which happened to be on EVA Airlines. After sobbing out my goodbyes to my partner at the airport, we walked up to the ticket counter with huge puffy red eyes and the sniffles. There was Hello Kitty merchandise all over the place and I mentioned that this airline had the Hello Kitty plane and made some kind of dad joke about that actually being my plane. I got to the counter and there were Hello Kitty luggage tags and my plane tickets had Sanrio characters on them. So we both looked at the man and I said “Am I on the Hello Kitty plane?” and he said “Yes, we try to advertise it as much as possible.” BUT I HAD NO IDEA SWEET JESUS. I just booked the cheapest flight and at no point was it mentioned online.
Needless to say that was a rather good way of distracting me from my pain. I’ll post a review and what details I can remember about it later. It was very exciting/not exciting. I remember liking the food but anything beats United’s food.
Arriving in Japan:
There wasn’t much special about showing up in Japan. Immigration was really simple because I had all the proper paperwork, but I was left waiting for a while on a couch on the side, I’m not even sure why because they just sent me there for 2 hours until my airline came looking for me because they still had my bags and they were worried. Then they took care of me. Nice.
Arriving in Tochigi:
So I showed up, set up my apartment, and started working. There have been various trials about work and making friends, but that’s rather personal so you don’t get any of it, too bad so sad. I’ll post something about my apartment sometime. I’ve been here for like 5 months and I still need to get more shit for it. I’ll probably leave before I’ve completed furnishing it, and then I’ll have to buy way more stuff too. Not looking forward to it.
First 5 months:
So I live far enough away that going to Tokyo too often is a pain but it’s doable at a reasonable price. It’s about 6,000 yen and 6 hours round trip, so I’ve done it probably 8 or 9 times now. I tend to make trips when there’s some event going on in Tokyo or if I have close friends visiting from outside of Japan.
So far I’ve been to:
- Daiya no A the LIVE III
- Tokyo Game Show
- Design Festa
- Heart Mitt 3
- Jump Festa
- Heart Mitt 4
- JWorld, like 3 times already because I gotta eat all the anime food.
I want to go to:
- GRAND BAZZAR LaForet
- Animate Cafes
- Other themed cafes (I’ll probably make a comprehensive list so that I can stay organized and post it later.)
I haven’t done nearly as much traveling outside of Tokyo has I’d like to.
So far I’ve been to:
- Fire Festival in Fukushima
- Kyuubi Festival in Nasu
- A couple of onsen in my area
- Utusnomiya Star Wars Exhibit
- and that it it’s so sad.
Things I want to go to:
- All the touristy stuff in my area(there’s a bit)
- Morioka to see my fam
- I just wanna go driving around in a car and explore things. You really need a car in the boonies. I’m looking into leasing one.
While I’ve only been in Japan for 6 months, I made a trip back home to the US to visit my partner, get an international driver’s permit, and experience Obama’s America (One Last Time…). I was really happy to eat American food, but the vibe I had about America the country was really heavy. I’m still really upset about the election. But the most important thing was that I got to spend a lot of time with my beautiful beautiful partner of 2 years.
I’m back in Japan right now and a friend came in from out of Japan so I went to Tokyo this past weekend to see her AND go to a douj event. I didn’t take any pictures at the event or really of anything other than food, but I’ll take some next time and post about how to go them and how things roll there. I’m actually going to Tokyo again this coming weekend for a Daiya Collabo Café event, so expect a full review and a lot of details about that because I love Daiya. I’ll also make a JWorld post because of course I gotta go to that and get more anime food. And I’m also going to try to go to Namja Town for the Osomatsu event they have going on. I don’t have enough room in my body for all this anime food. The struggle is real.