This blog post is based in reality. I am being a realist. If you are an obsessed Japan or Korea fan you may not want to read what I will write, but tough, this is how it is!
I wanted to address some of the false images people have and false assumptions people make about life in Japan and Korea.
1. If I move to Japan or Korea, my life will be better: Maybe, maybe not. There are millions of factors that will cause this to become a reality or not. Did you come to Asia to teach or live with a massive financial debt hanging over your head or were you running away from a messy divorce? If so, maybe life won't be better for you with a simple geographic change. For many out there though, life does become better.
Simple reasons for this: A massive geographic and cultural change is exciting. It is a sensory overload and an amazing learning experience. Moving to a culture completely foreign and learning to navigate it can be fun. Also, living in a place that may have a deeper history than where you came from may also seem interesting.
2. I want to live in Japan because I love anime and manga: Japan isn't a comic book or a cartoon. it is real and life here is real. It is very different than in Europe and North America, but it is real. People eat breakfast in the morning and go to work. They drink coffee during their coffee breaks and fall asleep with the TV on at night. Life in Japan is certainly cool, but it isn't like a manga or an anime. Sorry!
3. I hear everyone in Japan does Cosplay and I wanna see it: No they don't! To be honest, it is pretty rare to see people doing Cosplay in Japan. It only happens in specific places and only sometimes. Although, as a Canadian, it is interesting and amusing to see people dress up in costumes, it isn't that common. According to my wife and many other Japanese people I have talked to, the regular everyday Japanese person thinks Cosplay is pretty weird. It is a subculture. Sorry folks!
4. If I move to Korea or Japan (some younger readers say this) then I'll never be bullied: ARGH! Please don't think that. Bullying is rampant in these two countries. Their teen suicide rate is through the roof. If you think bullying is bad where you are from, try being pushed to the outside in a group culture!
5. I love Korean dramas and want to move to Korea: Sort of like the anime thing. Life in Korea is interesting, but it is real. Dramas (soap operas in North America) are anything but real. That prince charming way that guys act in those shows...well....they're just TV shows. Nuff said!
6. I really want to move to Japan and Korea because I love the food: Good reason. The food in both countries is outstanding and a fine reason to set up shop there!
7. I wanna move to Korea or Japan cause all the ladies will want me: Did the ladies want you where you came from? If the answer is "No", than maybe you may have trouble here as well. If you go to a club and someone throws themselves all over you right away, either you look like Ryan Reynolds or they've done it many times before. To be honest though, you get a good lady here like you would anywhere else. Be interesting, charming and have some luck on your side!
I lived in Korea and I now live in Japan. They are very interesting countries to call home. They can at times be frustrating though. You will face many of the day to day living problems people all around the world face. You will also get to enjoy many of the benefits of life in such interesting cultures with rich histories.
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