I came to Japan to teach English. In the beginning, I found things quite smooth and did not experience any real culture shock. I was in Osaka and I loved it. It was, of course, different to London where I am from but it was exciting and I loved the atmosphere. Now I work for myself as a doula (birth coach), with some editing and proofreading work, and occasional English teaching. I also run Tokyo Mothers Group.
Tokyo Mothers Group is a support and networking group for English-speaking mothers and families who live around Tokyo and the surrounding areas. We offer informational support, help finding resources, playgroups and get-togethers, workshops and friendship. When I had my oldest son in 2007, there were no English-speaking support or information groups online. I felt lonely and overwhelmed. I met a group of mothers who met regularly and eventually took over running that group, then called it Tokyo Mothers Group and set up the TMG website. After that, TMG grew so quickly as mum’s could easily search for us. Then we made the FB group a few years later. That is now the largest and most active Mothers group in Japan.
The things I love about Japan
I think the things I like most are the things I have always liked- great customer service, excellent transportation which is so clean compared to the UK, the food (of course), and great daycare for women who work- the care is amazing (although it can be a challenge to get a daycare spot for your child).
The things I dislike about Japan
Nothing much to be honest, although I find usually in Japan things are not taken on a case by case basis so much. Everyone is expected to behave the same or follow the same rules of society for example without taking individual circumstances into account.
Tips and advices for newcomers
Check with your ward or city office if they offer free or very cheap Japanese language classes for foreigners. If you want to learn Japanese, join a club or find hobby that is in Japanese so you can meet Japanese speakers. Throwing yourself into the language in a fun way is the best way to learn.
For more information about Tokyo Mothers Group, visit this link http://www.tokyomothersgroup.com/