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Cazuma

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Hello there, I just graduated from an American high school within the past few months and was feeling just a bit overwhelmed with the things I'm trying to accomplish so I figured I would ask here for some help.

To start I've been planning to go to college in Japan for many years and even though I have looked into this quite a lot I would really appreciate any help. The most important thing is that I truly want to be a professor of Philosophy at a Japanese university. I know there's not much money involved there but I'm honestly not to worried about that. But, I'm not completely sure how guaranteed a job is in that subject so I am completely willing to learn another subject if absolutely necessary.

Currently though my Japanese is far from fluent and I understand that I would need to attend a Japanese language institute, an American college in Japan, or a college that would teach in English as I learn Japanese. I am entirely willing to attend these because I know i couldn't get far without being completely fluent in the profession I want to go into.

In all honesty I am taking this very, very seriously because I am choosing to not come back to the US after leaving if it can be helped at all. In other words I would like to become a full resident there; my family and friends fully understand this as well and I have absolutely no regrets in this decision.

So basically any information would be greatly appreciated, and I mean anything haha. Like schools that would be down my career path or any programs for what I'm trying to do. Anything relating to financial aid and other expenses or just any good advice that you feel the need to say. Also, what I would need to teach in Japan like certificates and what would be recommended that I do to help myself down the road. I really am planning on my future involving Japan so I would literally take absolutely anything into consideration.

But, finally I understand what I'm trying to do is not easy and that hard work put towards it is necessary. I understand what it means to do all this has I have been warned thousands of times by people of every standing, those in Japan or those who have been there, as well as my family and friends. I realize what I must be willing to do, but still even after everything I still want to live out my time there - Thanks again ^_^
 

Mike Cash

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Have you ever even been to Japan before?
 

Glenski

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My first question exactly, Mike. I'm betting no. (A look at his profile confirms it. ) What's more, the interests in Japan include manga and anime and video games (again no surprise).

Second questions, if you don't mind: what makes you so dead set on such a career, and why Japan?
 

Half-n-Half

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Google Global 30 for a list of schools that offer courses in English. You can look here for a list of courses at each university and find one that may be appropriate for you. If you haven't heard of the MEXT scholarship, it is basically an all-expenses paid scholarship offered by the government for foreign students to study in Japan. It pays for your plane ticket, tuition, and gives you a monthly stipend of around $1,400. It's also pretty competitive and they have their own selection process you have to start a year in advance.

One thing you should understand, though, is that getting a professorship in just about any field in any country is a very hard thing to do. A lot more PhD's are being given out every year than their are available positions at universities since most faculty are tenured and stay well into their 60's or 70's past retirement age. If you want a faculty position somewhere, you'll have to accept the possibility that you'll not only have to spend about 5 years in graduate school but most likely another 4-6 years as a postdoc before you can even get your first position. This means you will likely be at or close to the age of 30. Most of your friends your age will have long since moved on to successful careers while you will just be starting yours. What I'm trying to get at is you shouldn't pursue a PhD in any field unless you are sure it is what you love. But, you still have four years to decide that, so keep it in mind.
 

Cazuma

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Haha it almost seems as though you have lack of faith based solely on some interests. I understand where the thoughts are coming from and to be completely honest I must have heard those same words a thousand times over; but how exactly would you like me to respond those questions? I went there when I was to small and don't quite remember everything so due to that I've always had an interest. But aside from that what can I say more than I love the culture, the sights, the sounds, the feelings. It sounds rather cliche but honestly it's as though I was born in the wrong place and time. I know the grass is greener on the other side as the saying goes but it seems that people have lost the ability to see it as just that, some place they honestly believe will be something better for them. But as for my chosen career, I suppose its the same for why I choose Japan, I understand that you don't know me personally so it's rather hard to tell but I love philosophy, to advance my intellectual, to grasp a better understanding of the world around me, to acquire something more than what I have. Then the ability to teach that to others is a magnificent thing, perhaps to help someone down the road or just change the thinking of an individual. I suppose I can hide behind a computer and use large words to describe what I feel but it honestly is genuine. I'm not going there to read manga or listen to music and watch TV. I'm going there for honestly very personal reasons that I feel are strong enough to leave behind my family, friends, and life. If there has to be more to explain I will, but regardless of what could possibly be said I'm still planning to go there ^_^.

---------- Post added at 08:37 ---------- Previous post was at 08:35 ----------

Thanks for the info half-n-half its greatly appreciated.
 

Glenski

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You may love philosophy, but so do a thousand taxi drivers with that degree in New York.

Look, my question was pretty simple. Give it a shot at answering.

Why pursue a philosophy degree and job in Japan?

I went there when I was to small and don't quite remember everything so due to that I've always had an interest. But aside from that what can I say more than I love the culture, the sights, the sounds, the feelings.
If you were "too small", what exactly do you remember? Things have changed in Japan and yourself since you grew older. What do you perceive as "loving" about the country? If you haven't been here as an adult, your perceptions (hmm, a philosophical bent?) are likely misplaced.

I'm going there for honestly very personal reasons that I feel are strong enough to leave behind my family, friends, and life.
What are those reasons? It almost sounds as if you are running away, not running towards, something. And, that is bad.
 

Cazuma

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Alright I'll put in the simplest way possible for you. Why philosophy? Because I enjoy it, the many aspects of it, the depths of it, and the thinking derived from it. It is the same as asking someone why they would enjoy teaching math or history, it is just the way I feel about it. If you want me to give more detail on why I truly love philosophy then there wouldn't be enough room for it.

Why in Japan? Because it is the place I wish spend my life. Because it is important to me and because I believe I will find a better happiness there, why else would I go there? You almost make it sound as though I have never looked into anything relating to Japan after my young experience, as I said it is what caused me to be interested in the first place. If you say I have no idea because I've never truly been there than so be it, but it is the same as someone saying they want to live in Ireland or Germany or Australia, even if they haven't been there it does not mean it is any less genuine.

The reasons behind it are personal but not anything relating to running away, all I meant is that I will have no regrets and will have no seconds thoughts about leaving, and that in leaving I would naturally lose close ties. I appreciated your thoughts, however, you are not the first and surely not be the last to ask these questions, but if your expecting some answer that will change your thoughts on what I wish to do, then your mistaken. If there is a specific answer that you looking for from me then please inform me what that is. Give it a shot at answering.

I came here asking for help about trying to accomplish what I wish to do, I did not come to have people ask about my personal life and their thoughts on it. If your honestly that interested in my life than I can inform you some other way than these forums. But, unlike Half-n-Half who helped by posting very helpful info, if you choose to not help then there really isn't much of point in you even posting on this thread.
 

leathercouch

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I believe ICU, International Christian University, has a Philosophy and Religion major. I do not think any of the Global 30 constituents teach philosophy. Besides your overt desire to attend a university in Japan, how are your grades or scores. Could you have easily been accepted to a good school in the US? How is your GPA, SATs, ECs, etc. These last few questions are unrelated; I am just inquiring because you are a US citizen (like me) and seem to be close to my age.
 

Cazuma

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Actually I found through global 30 that there is a masters program at Kyushu University for philosophy which makes me really excited. But as for my GPA I screwed around my first few years in high school so I only managed a 2.5 GPA. However, I did receive a 1900 on the SAT, a 26 on the ACT, and I did take the military ASVAB and received an 80, so I believe that my SAT score alone is sufficient. Though I could be wrong the most I can say is I'll deal with it when that comes lol.
 

Mike Cash

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Philosophize on this:

You're not in love with Japan. You're in love with what you've made Japan out to be in your own mind. You haven't the slightest idea what Japan really is, what life here is really like, or whether you could stand it, let alone take to it like a duck to water.

Excuse those of us who appear jaded, but we field the almost exact same identical inquiries from immature starry-eyed teen dreamers on a fairly regular basis. Care to guess what proportion of them ever even show up here?
 

leathercouch

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I respect veterans such as Mike. Try putting yourself in his shoes and vicariously experience what he has. I have deliberated over my thoughts for quite a long time now; if I were a veteran such as Mike, I too would consider myself (I am also a teen) a neophyte. What Mike and others are doing is actually very, very thoughtful. Though it may seem like they are coming down hard on you, they are actually psychologically testing your will to acclimate to an alien environment. If you stand resolute, then your desire is sufficient. If you are even the slightest bit doubtful, then maybe you should seriously reconsider. Also, university admissions is nothing to "lol" about. Although your 1900 SAT is far above average, I wouldn't take it for granted that it is "sufficient." Even though I have scored a 2300, which is in the top percentile, I still worry about admissions. Then again, maybe you shouldn't take advice from me; your judgement is what is most important.
 

nice gaijin

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Might also want to consider the quality of education you'll get, instead of where the degree is coming from. A friend is doing a master's program at a top-ranked university in Japan and does nothing but complain about how disappointing the program has been. I had similar complaints when I studied in Japan, and so did many of my Japanese and foreigner friends who were there pursuing 4-year degrees.

Not only may Japan not be the land of milk and honey you imagine, Japanese universities might not be the bastions of knowledge and efficiency we'd expect them.
 

Glenski

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Alright I'll put in the simplest way possible for you. Why philosophy? Because I enjoy it, the many aspects of it, the depths of it, and the thinking derived from it. It is the same as asking someone why they would enjoy teaching math or history, it is just the way I feel about it. If you want me to give more detail on why I truly love philosophy then there wouldn't be enough room for it.
I should have expected such an oblique answer from a philosophy major. The question can be reworded as follows:

If you teach philosophy, you will need very high level Japanese. Q1: Do you realize this and are you willing to get it? Q2: What philosophy do you plan to teach? Western? Eastern? Something in between? How much interest do you think Japanese have in that (i.e., do you think it will be enough to keep a job)?

Why in Japan? Because it is the place I wish spend my life. Because it is important to me and because I believe I will find a better happiness there, why else would I go there? You almost make it sound as though I have never looked into anything relating to Japan after my young experience, as I said it is what caused me to be interested in the first place. If you say I have no idea because I've never truly been there than so be it, but it is the same as someone saying they want to live in Ireland or Germany or Australia, even if they haven't been there it does not mean it is any less genuine.
Again, you don't answer the question. Yes, you were here a long time ago, and yes, for some reason you can't put into words, you want to come back to spend the rest of your life.

Find the words to explain why it is "important" to you.
Find the words to explain why it is you believe "better happiness" is here. Base this on facts if possible, otherwise it's like Mike wrote: You're in love with what you've made Japan out to be in your own mind. You haven't the slightest idea what Japan really is, what life here is really like

The reasons behind it are personal but not anything relating to running away,
That's a relief. Thanks.

I came here asking for help about trying to accomplish what I wish to do, I did not come to have people ask about my personal life and their thoughts on it.
See the comments for what they are: insights into a life here that we know far better than you, and suggestions for you to contemplate before you leap into something that may disappoint you badly.

If your honestly that interested in my life than I can inform you some other way than these forums.
Like what? We see many people come to forums like this with visions of grandeur about coming to Japan with little to no actual basis or experience in it. That fact alone (no basis or experience) should be a pretty easy to understand point, and a red flag for anyone in any country wishing to relocate permanently to another one.

As for not posting help, I just gave you some. It just took some time to work its way out because the background info was more important to get.

1. philosophy teachers here or anywhere are not in high demand
2. philosophy courses from a western teacher are precarious at best
3. teaching at a J uni something other than English language will usually require highly fluent Japanese reading/writing/speaking skills
4. in addition to #3, uni jobs require at LEAST a master's degree, experience teaching here, and professional publications
 

Cazuma

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I understand where all of your thoughts are coming from completely, I've heard so many people speak of going there as if it is a dreamland of some sort where reality itself changes. But I realize the work put into it, why else would I choose such a profession. To teach a Japanese class in Japanese is clearly no small feat so why would I short change myself at all? The language skills needed I'm sure are to be more fluent than I currently am in even English . I understand that the jobs involving this are very low, I was warned previously that I could even up to around 30 years of age before even coming close to job that I wanted if at all, I still seek doing it regardless.

I also understand the thoughts you have on me being another teen who's thoughts are strung up on anime, manga, and living a life thought to be full of beautiful women and close friends with amazing adventures. But I'm not, I'm willing to spend 10 years or more preparing for something that I might have to do for 30 or 40 more years if necessary. I'm willing to take the largest chance of my life that very potentially will not work and waste many years of my life.

As far as what I actually expect of life there in terms of interacting with people, from what I've seen from the other numerous times out of the states, I feel it would not be much different. People are the same all over the world, I don't expect a profound difference simply because of location, I mean sure there is differences due to the history but if it was profound enough then it would be absolutely known. But the reasons why I specifically have feelings for Japan are numerous. I absolutely love the history behind Japan, the different eras throughout time, the restorations, predominant figures throughout history one in particular Akechi Mistuhide, also the reasoning for seclusion. I also enjoy the food, even though the only experience of that is from expensive Japanese restaurants that I have had a chance to attend.

Most of all I love learning about the Nara period from ancient Japan, especially the music like gagaku from the Nara period. The Shinto shrines I find absolutely astounding as well as Shintoism in general. Their traditions from Noh and Kabuki to Kimono and especially their calligraphy are fascinating. The cherry blossoms, the Japanese gardens like Ryoan-ji and the temples are sights that I would have to experience before death. You can never find things like that in the United States, this country is just to young to have any profound interests to me.

I suppose I am confused at what exactly you would want me to say, sure there's more things I could list but it would be pointless if it didn't cover what you are looking for. But aside from that, I didn't mean to scoff at Japanese university exams by using "lol", I just felt that this thread was becoming a little tense and didn't mean to offend; if I misjudged on that as well then I am also sorry. As far as education goes, I have heard that it is most notably focused on in elementary and secondary levels and that the colleges there are not significantly superior to Americas colleges and if that is the case then I believe I am prepared for that as well.

Unfortunately asking why I love japan feels as though it is a loaded question where the one asking is just waiting to refute whatever I have to say, but I will try to answer everything honestly if needed. But at the end of it all, I'm going to attempt going there really regardless of what can be said, if it is a huge mistake and I feel that I am unhappy, then it is something I well deal with then personally. I do appreciate the thoughts though.
 

Mike Cash

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Back down to earth and more practical matters:

You say you've been "planning" on doing this for years. Does that mean you've been "planning" it for years? Or does that mean you've been "thinking about" it for years? If the former, one would expect you would already have most of the answers you seek, which is why I suspect it is actually the latter.

How much Japanese have you actually learned so far? Again, if this is something you've been at for "years" in preparation for realizing your dream, one would expect you would be able to J-Google a lot of this stuff for yourself.

Your desire to go to college in Japan is not unusual; lots of people from overseas go to college here. Your desire to live and work here is not unusual; lots of foreigners live and work here.

If you had left out all the nonsense about loving the sights, sounds, smell, feel, etc of Japan....something you know nothing about....your inquiries would be treated more seriously.

A fascination with Nara period history is nice, but it can just as well and just as meaningfully be indulged in right where you are. It is utterly immaterial and irrelevant to life in modern Japan, especially as a foreigner. A fascination with Shinto shrines is perhaps easy to maintain when you've never been to any and just see pictures of the touristy ones. But the vast majority of shrines (and temples for that matter) are by and large dull places.

As for things being "too young"...with a few notable exceptions, most of the things you will find here will be no older than things you can find in the United States. One of my hobbies is wandering around exploring cemeteries and roadside religious statuary. There is no shortage of ancient looking stones to discover and examine. Want to guess how old they are? You'd be disappointed, I'm afraid....the bulk of them are from the mid 1800s and the absolute oldest thing I've ever found is a Lotus Sutra Stupa from 1702.
 
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Glenski

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I understand where all of your thoughts are coming from completely, I've heard so many people speak of going there as if it is a dreamland of some sort where reality itself changes. But I realize the work put into it, why else would I choose such a profession.
The profession you have in mind and simply coming here to live & work forever are 2 different things.

To teach a Japanese class in Japanese is clearly no small feat so why would I short change myself at all?
I'm sorry, but I don't understand that English expression. It doesn't apply here. If you simply mean you are aware that you have to learn a lot of Japanese, then good.

I understand that the jobs involving this are very low, I was warned previously that I could even up to around 30 years of age before even coming close to job that I wanted if at all, I still seek doing it regardless.
But, what are you going to do from now till then? Stay in your home country getting trained, or come here and actually experience the country and learn what it's like to live and work here, interacting with people and the culture, and scraping to find work and money? Don't kid yourself; Japan's economy is not in the best of shape, and many people (foreigners and Japanese alike) have a tough time getting a job here.

I'm willing to take the largest chance of my life that very potentially will not work and waste many years of my life.
That's pretty sad.

As far as what I actually expect of life there in terms of interacting with people, from what I've seen from the other numerous times out of the states, I feel it would not be much different. People are the same all over the world, I don't expect a profound difference simply because of location,
Then you really, truly ARE setting yourself up for a miserable time! I'm not joking. People intrinsically are the same, yes, but the culture and mindset varies. Do NOT expect Japanese to act like you, even if you speak very fluent Japanese.

#1, they don't simply from a cultural standpoint.
#2, they don't because interactions with foreigners can often be different than with each other.

But the reasons why I specifically have feelings for Japan are numerous. I absolutely love the history behind Japan, the different eras throughout time, the restorations, predominant figures throughout history one in particular Akechi Mistuhide, also the reasoning for seclusion.
That and 500 yen will get you a cup of coffee here.

I also enjoy the food, even though the only experience of that is from expensive Japanese restaurants that I have had a chance to attend.
Not a reason to move to any foreign country and begin a lifestyle. Doesn't hurt, but I wouldn't put it among reasons to move abroad. Same goes for the earlier remarks about any country's history. Besides, what is past is past. This is NOT the Edo era, people don't walk around in kimonos carrying samurai swords, sporting skullcap haircuts or geisha shimada wigs, and listening to koto or shakuhachi music in the background.

The cherry blossoms, the Japanese gardens like Ryoan-ji and the temples are sights that I would have to experience before death. You can never find things like that in the United States, this country is just to young to have any profound interests to me.
Some Japanese gardens exist in the U.S., as do cherry blossoms. I used to live in Seattle, so I know. Your entire image of this country is sensory, and you are either going to go crazy and start wearing a kimono yourself (and get pegged as a weirdo), or you are going to be severely disappointed and culture shocked in 2-3 months.

As far as education goes, I have heard that it is most notably focused on in elementary and secondary levels and that the colleges there are not significantly superior to Americas colleges and if that is the case then I believe I am prepared for that as well.
What do you mean by "focused on"? College entrance exams are brutal, yet after kids get in, unless they have certain majors which demand a lot of them, they just coast through classes. Fail to meet a course's requirements, and many students still pass by asking the teacher to let them write a "report". Stupid. Employers don't care about grades (and there isn't even a GPA system here yet, although is it only now just starting to make inroads, but nobody here understands what it means or how it affects them). Instead, employers look at a student's social connections and the name of the school where they graduated, then mold them into the employee they want. Again, stupid.

Mike Cash said:
As for things being "too young"...with a few notable exceptions, most of the things you will find here will be no older than things you can find in the United States.
I live in Hokkaido which was settled only 150 years ago, so in fact it is YOUNGER than the U.S. Up here there are far fewer influences of Japanese architecture and culture than you might imagine. One rebuilt castle on such a huge island. Hectares and hectares of farmland that is indistinguishable from Kansas (aside from the occasional rice paddy), with corn, potatoes, wheat, beans, etc. being grown and Holstein cows the norm.

Cazuma said:
I suppose I am confused at what exactly you would want me to say, sure there's more things I could list but it would be pointless if it didn't cover what you are looking for.
No, your answers were what I expected. You really need to just come here for an extended visit before you up and move stakes forever. You truly have no real concept of what Japan is like in the 21st century, whether in the countryside or urban areas. That is the honest truth you need to come to grips with.

This is not the Edo period or Nara period. It is not the time of Marlon Brando movies like Sayonara, nor like any 40- or 50-year-old movies you might have seen (like Tampopo). It's not even as insipid as the Michael Keaton comedy Gung Ho portrays (although elements exist) or what Tom Selleck's Mr. Baseball tries to convey in its own dreamlike way.

What modern information about Japanese society have you read? That would be a good starting point and a telling indication of how you perceive Japan's way of life as it exists today.
 

Glenn

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A fascination with Nara period history is nice, but it can just as well and just as meaningfully be indulged in right where you are.

Actually, I had an interest in old Japan and the Nara and Heian periods, and while I guess I could have just enjoyed reading about them in the books I had, actually going to Todaiji in Nara and walking around the town and seeing and interacting with the numerous deer there, as well as actually going to Asuka Village and seeing Asuka Temple and the statue of Soga no Iruka, and going on the tour of the old imperial palace in Kyoto were experiences that I thoroughly enjoyed and could not have gotten in the US. I would have liked to have gotten to Akashi, since it is one of the settings in The Tale of Genji and I thought it would have been cool to see it just based on that, but I never made it there.

Mike Cash said:
As for things being "too young"...with a few notable exceptions, most of the things you will find here will be no older than things you can find in the United States. One of my hobbies is wandering around exploring cemeteries and roadside religious statuary. There is of ancient looking stones to discover and examine. Want to guess how old they are? You'd be disappointed, I'm afraid....the bulk of them are from the mid 1800s and the absolute oldest thing I've ever found is a Lotus Sutra Stupa from 1702.

I was disappointed about the relative newness of all of the buildings that were rebuilt on the sites of buildings that actually were old. I was hoping there'd be some thousand-year-old structures, but no such luck.

I'd like to make it clear that I'm not arguing the major points here at all. I just wanted to say that going and seeing the sites for yourself is an experience that you can only get in Japan and it pretty much makes all of the stuff you've read about the history real. I agree that the OP should spend some time in Japan to see what it's actually like. Even still, I had wanted to go for a long time, then finally got to spend 10 1/2 months there on study abroad, and I can't say I'd like to live and work there. I had a student experience, and I understand that the ナステ絶?ーテッツ人 experience is something totally different (as it is in the US as well). I loved my time there, though, and would like to go back at some point even if just to visit.
 

johnnyG

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Cazuma--you should take what these people are saying and think long and hard on it. You've gotten the advice of some really good folks, people who've (surprisingly!) taken the time to respond in detail to your initial post, along with the other info you've added along through the thread.

Since nobody has said it, can I suggest that instead of mainlining on philosophy, that you choose something instead that is both practical and that you find pleasant, and then make most all of what you talk about above your lifelong hobby/avocation?
 

Cazuma

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Mike, yes that is correct I have been mostly wanting to for many years but sadly I never thought I would ever be able to leave due to complicated family matters, but only this past year has a change occurred allowing me to actually have the ability to leave. This is mostly why the measures that I should have taken have not been. Otherwise I would not be asking these questions, but so far the actual information I have received as actually helped me quite a bit.

Also, honestly what I meant in terms of the United States being to young to have such things, I meant that the country is literally around a few hundred years old and it is still very young. That's the reasoning why there is so much debate as to whether or not there is an actual culture for America, it is why it's known as the melting pot of the world. The diversification often causes it to just be listed as just having multiculturalism.

Once again, I did not mean to speak as though I know the fine details regarding the education level, but I did not even close to saying that the actual difficulty of college was something to look down upon. What I was saying was that I have heard that the actual quality of elementary to secondary schooling was renown for being superior to many countries but that the college level quality had equals throughout the world. Please if I offended anyone what so ever it was not my intention and I apologize entirely.

But I was never saying I am expecting it to be feudal Japan where there is no sights of not even modern implications anywhere, and it is rather silly for someone to assume that as well. Aside from a particular interest in the Nara period, the age of something specifically is not necessarily what draws the interest to me. As Glenn said I believe there are many things that can only be experienced by going there, it's the same as saying you can indulge in the feelings of sky diving my reading and watching about it, the difference between the two is so significant that they are incomparable.

But if I literally could not find myself enjoying my life over there than I would be forced to come back to the USA, there would not be much else for me to do at the point. Besides, the thoughts of a harsh life that could very possibly be awaiting me is nothing I am afraid of, not in the least. Someone trying to inform me of that as though it is something that I yet to think of feels though they are looking down upon me without even knowing me. But is it actually, truly sad that I am willing to do this? Is it sad that I might waste my time? I suppose depending on who you are. But if taking a risk to reach a greater level of happiness is really considered sad then I think a person of that regards has lived a very mediocre life without taking any risks. Though I'm not speaking down to those of that feeling, that is something that is not me, but I am prepared for the consequences of the risks none the less.

But saying that people are instinctively the same and yet are really so much different is so ridiculously obvious. I'm not expecting the people to act a certain way at all, that is why I am open to what is to come, it is not as though I expect the Japanese as a race to be fundamentally different, I was saying that the types of people that I would meet can be found throughout the world. The exact feelings and actions of the people are always going to be different, it is even profound within the USA,the south and the north are completely different and so I would obviously approach them differently.

Really though, I appreciate the information that is given here, but at the current rate this whole thread will turn out to be me trying to justify my thoughts for what I want to do; while someone continues to refute everything I say as I slowly have to continually tweak my previous statement. It seems as though the other person is looking for every single point that is not covered or is slightly off from what they want to be a correct answer. I'm not able to come here and persuade anyone I have good enough reasons to believe that my life in Japan is right for me. So if it is too much for people to look past me wanting to live there then I suppose I should leave it at that and leave myself.
 

Glenski

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Nobody is telling you not to follow your dream. We're just urging more caution and planning. When was the last time you were here (circumstances, your age then, length of stay)?

What I was saying was that I have heard that the actual quality of elementary to secondary schooling was renown for being superior to many countries but that the college level quality had equals throughout the world.
Where did you hear those things? Having been here for 14 years in the education field, I can tell you that the first part your statement is outright false. As for unis having equals, uh, yeah, they do in the sense that there are good ones and bad ones, but you haven't even qualified which "many countries" you mean.

The education system here is different than in the west, too. You should know that already. Largely teacher-focused education with homeroom teachers in K-12 serving as surrogate parents and counselors/psychologists. Unis don't even really care that much about grades, as evidenced by lack of a GPA system, and the fact that companies hire graduates on the basis of their school's name and the network references of school advisors (the "old boy network").

But saying that people are instinctively the same and yet are really so much different is so ridiculously obvious. I'm not expecting the people to act a certain way at all, that is why I am open to what is to come, it is not as though I expect the Japanese as a race to be fundamentally different, I was saying that the types of people that I would meet can be found throughout the world. The exact feelings and actions of the people are always going to be different, it is even profound within the USA,the south and the north are completely different and so I would obviously approach them differently.
You miss the point. The problems you will run across are not due to people's intrinsic personality differences (even if they are the same as people in your home country, Germany, Australia, or Kenya). The problems you will face are cultural and social based (things that often take foreigners a lifetime to realize, let alone adjust to) and which often set aside us foreigners as real outsiders no matter how long we live here.

Some people write about "microaggressions", feelings of resentment which stem from little things that Japanese repeatedly say and do, no matter how innocent or well-intentioned they may be. For example, I've been here 14 years, and despite some people knowing that, they still say "Oh, wow, you can really use chopsticks well!" when they see me using them for the first time. I let it go, but think about how that may make others feel year after year and especially if someone knows you have lived and eaten here for such a long time. That's just scratching the surface, too, and it marks how Japanese can perceive you. You can adapt and adjust, but to so many you will still NOT be accepted. Keep that in mind.

Some people will bail out and return to their homeland (or divert to another country) to avoid such frustrations. Others find that they can't because they may have burned bridges back home vocationally, or because they have established a family life here (one that won't relocate). It's not all roses, but it's more in the attitude one takes, and that is NOT something you can tell us you have at this point!

Get a student exchange program, a homestay, a traineeship or internship, or even volunteer for WWOOF and see what a long-term period of interacting with people in many situations will be like. Best advice I can give.
 

Mike Cash

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Over the years I have met and known many people who have made Japan their home, staying here long-term....ten, twenty, thirty years.

I have asked all of them, and without exception, not one of them has said they came to Japan with the intention of staying here long-term and making it their permanent home; it just sort of happened.

Over the years, I have in various places on the internet fielded numerous inquiries from people who profess to want to move to Japan and live forever-n-ever-n-ever because they just know down deep in their soul this is what they were meant for and they'll do just absolutely anything to realize their dream. They usually include vague mentions of their love of the people, culture, language, history, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah (despite not knowing the first damned thing about any of it, other than what they got off the internet or out of comic books and cartoons).

I have yet to see one of them show up for so much as a visit, much less actually make a permanent move here.

See why I don't get overly worked up when the latest in a long string of such inquiries comes along?

Those who are actually going to show up have a tendency to just quietly show up. The others seem content to take it out in thinking about it and talking about it. Then their attention gets diverted by something else shiny and new and that's the last anybody ever hears of them.

(And if that ticks you off and you decide to pursue and fulfill your dream just to spite mean old Mike Cash, nothing would make me happier).
 

Glenn

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Get a student exchange program, a homestay, a traineeship or internship, or even volunteer for WWOOF and see what a long-term period of interacting with people in many situations will be like. Best advice I can give.

Along these lines, I was also thinking if you could do a study abroad or homestay or whatever and work at least part time it might give you a pretty good idea as to what to expect out of life there. Also, pay attention to where you choose. Your experience will differ depending on what part of the country and rural vs. urban, etc., so pick one that fits where you think you'd want to end up there. Also, travelling around and seeing different parts of the country to compare isn't a bad idea, but keep in mind you're only going to be getting a cursory look if you go there. It's easy for people to think they know a place because they've been there. Avoid that trap, but at least getting an idea is a good start. But you're going to need to have a decent command of the language to do that, which I would say would be at least conversational. So, if you haven't started on that already, now's a good time.
 
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Just reading this thread brings this to mind.

61M06KLvWaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
 

Glenski

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I have to say that in fourteen years of fielding questions from teacher wannabes and people who are just generally interested in Japan, that my experiences match Mike's 100 percent.

Visit first to the point that you get as much a real taste for living and working here, and THEN you will know so much more.
 
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