About Me

I'm Phil! American living in Japan. Teacher. Ex-independent professional wrestler. Student of Japanese. Traveler. Article writer for Mythic Scribes. Also written four manga, novels, and various short stories and poems. For my fantasy-related blog, check out http://www.philipoverbyfantasy.blogspot.jp/.


Drill Bits: random thoughts, bloggy stuff
Japan Hammer: topics about Japan
Story Time: stories I felt like posting

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Living in Japan: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Frozen beer: The Breakfast of Kings

Well, that was a long break. Sorry for anyone that was interested in this blog. I kind of just abandoned it when I started working on my new fantasy-related blog. However, I'd like to pop in here more often than I have been (been over a year!)

I'd like to start updating this blog again as I'm going to be making some big life changes soon. Ultimately, I'm going to be deciding whether or not to leave Japan permanently within the next two years. I have a "countdown clock" so to speak. Every week I'm going to put a coin in a "Should I Stay" or "Should I Go" jars. By 2016, depending on our situation, this will be one of the determining factors of staying here. I can't seem to make up my mind if I want to stay or not. Luckily, I have a supportive wife that wants to do whatever makes us both happy.

While I love Japan, I have to start thinking about a permanent lifestyle here. This means finding a somewhat permanent working situation. If this becomes impossible, this is going to tip the scales more towards leaving and heading back to the U.S.

So what are determining factors for "Should I Stay:"

1. Ease of daily life

I find living in Japan to be relatively easy from certain standpoints. I prefer walking and taking public transportation than owning a car. It's just a preference of mine.

2. Good food and new locales

I love the food in Japan and I think I would miss it a lot if we left. It's also great to be able to take a train to somewhere new and see around.

3. General safety

I find living in Japan to be relatively safe. I don't have to worry about getting shot, stabbed, or robbed on a daily basis and people are generally very trusting.

Then on the other hand, what are the "Should I Go" factors:

1. Lack of permanence

While I've liked working here for the most part, the jobs for foreigners don't seem to have as much permanence. Meaning short term contracts make it hard to remain stable over a long period of time.

2. Lack of language

This is a problem I'm perpetually flip-flopping on. Not being able to speak Japanese well has a huge effect on being able to function and get better jobs. This has to be one of those things I really just dive into head first or I'm going to be treading water forever.

3. Variety of jobs

Teaching English is really the only option you have if you don't either have (a) other skills that are needed or (b) Japanese ability. This severely limits the kind of work I can get.

As time wears on in the next couple of years, I'll be making some final decisions on these issues. I hate to leave Japan as it's really my second home, but I have to factor in long-term goals at some point.

That's it for now. Stay tuned to see what I ultimately decide. I'll be posting some various blog entries in the coming months to highlight some of these shifts I'll be doing.