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Moving to Japan, but where?

musicisgood

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Fukuoka has a large International Community but it's mostly Koreans and possibly Chinese I would think if you wanted Fukuoka you have a good chance of Landing a job but Fukuoka kind of a boring City really. Either way Japan is ok untill you get around 65 years old. It actually gets pretty tough when one gets 65 years old to live in Japan as a foreigner I know I'm speaking because of experience
 

cocoichi

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Fukuoka has a large International Community but it's mostly Koreans and possibly Chinese I would think if you wanted Fukuoka you have a good chance of Landing a job but Fukuoka kind of a boring City really. Either way Japan is ok untill you get around 65 years old. It actually gets pretty tough when one gets 65 years old to live in Japan as a foreigner I know I'm speaking because of experience

I think it is all mostly perspective :) I currently live in a 15.000 people town, which is close to a 120.000 people city. Yes, in terms of fun, one could do much more in Tokyo or Osaka, but I think Fukuoka is more than capable to fulfill my needs when I need shopping, entertainment, etc.

Why is it tough as a senior citizen? I am not too worried about that aspect now since I am 33.
 

hellohello2

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Why is it tough as a senior citizen? I am not too worried about that aspect now since I am 33.
If you plan to live in Japan long term, definitely think about buying a property soon. Because once you are past 65, almost no landlord would be willing to rent to you. Also, the banks will only make loans typically to people whom they can be sure will still have jobs at end of the term (typically 65).
In most companies, after 60, they will reduce your pay, and after 65, many companies have mandatory retirements setting in.

The regions you mentioned may have foreigners, but internationalization is very regional, and not much international business goes on there based in my experience. My company have offices in Osaka, but all global projects and personnel are located in Tokyo; there's almost no client demand for global experience/projects outside of Tokyo area. Your wife will have opportunities everywhere, but because you do not have native level Japanese, it would be important for you to go out and feel the waters on employment opportunities when selecting a city.
 

cocoichi

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Wow, thinking about my life when I'm 65.. now that's a hard one! I think the smart thing to do would be to pay extra on your mortgage in the first years, so that you have a relatively small (or none) amount of debt after 55. I don't even know if I would still like to live in Japan by that time, but I know the real estate market in Japan is completely different, so selling a house is no easy task.

My father in law went through the process that you described. He went from an HR manager to an ambulance driver after turning 60. He made sure he paid the entire mortgage before the switch. When my mother in law also retired from her sales job, she started part time work in a supermarket. Now they basically earn money to travel.
 

PeterJC

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I lived in Osaka for 10 years up until 2007, and have revisited four or five times since, my most resent visit being in June 2019.
My wife is from the back end of Kanagawa, a stones throw from Shizuoka, but only and hour from Tokyo by express train, faster by Shinkansen.
If your wife can get a solid job anywhere in Japan, then I would choose to be near the rest of her family initially. They will help you get settled in and provide a support point for both of you. Osaka is accessible from all sorts of nice places as you are aware. I lived and worked on the north side mainly, but if I did decide to move back into the area, I might choose the southern part around Sakai, Sayama, or Tondabayashi, if not even further south in Wakayama.
We have also considered moving back to Japan, but we have been looking at moving to one of the islands south of Kyushu due to the support they are providing for freelance workers, and the availability of cheap housing.
 

cocoichi

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Hello guys,

I have been casually searching for opportunities, and I stumbled upon the concept of secondhand "mansions". For examples, see below in Osaka prefecture:

【SUUMO】朝日プラザシティ サザンコースト B棟 中古マンション物件情報



The places above are at least 90m2 in space and not older than 30 years. Since they are made of concrete and the interiors look quite decent, I expect a lot less renovation necessary when compared to an abandoned house or even a cheap house in which people live. Of course you would have to give up on having a garden, but the houses above cost anywhere between 8.8 and 10 million yen, so roughly between 60-85.000 EUR/USD. To me that would be an absolute steal. I expect to be able to pay half of that from savings/profit of selling our current home, so that would leave a mortgage of roughly 30-40.000 EUR/USD. If you commit to it, you could live mortgage free within 5 years of purchase.

Maybe the biggest question I have is, what's the catch? For akiya it is obvious that renovation will cost a lot, but for these mansions it is not so obvious to me. Would love to hear your ideas and experience with such places.
 

Lothor

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I have no experience with buying mansions but, as far as I understand, the renovation is organised by the company who owns the building and residents pay a few man a month toward this. So an advantage of mansions is that you don't occasionally get stung for a very large bill because you discover a major problem with the roof.
The disadvantage is long-term instability. People in Japan don't normally like living in old places and mansions often get knocked down and rebuilt, and if you're in a mansion you might not get any say in this. I believe you get some compensation because you own a proportion of the land but I have no idea how the amount would compare with what you paid. You would need to look into this very carefully because although 1000 man is cheap for that amount of living space, it's a very bad deal if you lose most of that after a few years.
A minor disadvantage is that concrete apartments tend to be very hot and humid in summer (concrete doesn't absorb humidity like wood does) but when we lived in one, our winter heating bills were always low.
 

mdchachi

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Not sure about Japan but in the U.S. you would want to make sure the housing association's finances are in order. Have enough reserve, multi-year maintenance plan and no major issues on the horizon that would require a large unexpected outlay. And of course check the monthly management free. Y6,300 doesn't seem bad at all. Still need to weigh it against the cost of renting which gives you more flexibility and may or may not be more expensive in the long run.
 

Majestic

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Those buildings all predate the Hanshin Earthquake, and that may make them unattractive to buyers.
They are starting to age, which means they start to need major repairs (elevator repairs, structural repairs), and these major repairs have to come from the building's maintenance fund, as mdchachi alluded to. You typically have two fees associated with these kinds of units: management fee (管理費) and maintenance fund fee (修繕積立金). Management fee pays for utilities used for the common areas, cleaning for the common areas, security, etc. Maintenance fund is the fund that is used to pay for major repairs. By law, all such units have to have a maintenance fund. The management fee for the first building is ¥13810 per month, and the maintenance fund is ¥17050 per month. Parking space usually costs extra, so if you have a car that will be an additional monthly expense. You will be free to renovate your own individual unit. Some companies specialize in buying cheap units, renovating them, then flipping them. The first unit looks cleaned, but not renovated. The bathtub has to go, the tatami needs to be replaced. I don't know about the rest of the place. The second building has no pictures of the interior...assume it needs renovation (but it looks like an OK building). Third building looks OK-ish.

The buildings predate the internet era, so you'll want to check to see what they have in high-speed access. Are they outfitted with satellite or fiber-optic cable, for instance.

Banks may not want to fund a mortgage for an old building. The building may not be appraised at the same value as the asking price, again leading to the banks being reluctant to make a loan. Another factor possibly affecting price is whether or not there was a suicide or some other unfortunate event in the building. And it goes without saying that noise, smells, crime, etc... also affect price.

I think 4/5 of the residents have to approve any re-building of the structure itself, and 30 years isn't so old that the residents are motivated to do this yet. And of course, as residents age, they become more reluctant to take on major expenses, which leads (eventually) to the problem of buildings becoming distressed, but the residents being stubborn and refusing to cooperate with any plan to rebuild. But early 1990's buildings shouldn't be in bad shape yet, excluding of course those that sustained damage in the 1995 earthquake.

The biggest factors are the age of the buildings, and the locations.
 

hellohello2

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If you buy, you should buy a building which is built after 2000 (or fulfills the 2000 building codes).
Also I think mansions right now are pretty overpriced, and there's always a management fee associated with it so I'm not sure if they are worth it especially if they are not in a prime location.
 

Michael2

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Have you looked at houses too? They can be a lot cheaper than mansions sometimes. A friend of mine got one near Haneda for about 30million. And I presume you'd have much more say in owning the "land".
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I agree that while you may have input, it's really your wife's call. Having said that, there are so many nice places to live in Japan. If I were to move back, I'd probably go somewhere in Kansai, I think. Mino-shi is pretty nice, and not too urban. I'd stay in walking distance of Kitasenri-eki. Kobe is nice, too, but my only experience with Kobe is as a visitor.

If I wanted to live somewhere cheaper, I'd just go out to the countryside. There are towns that will give you property if you move there, and other such deals are out there, as well. I remember that land was pretty cheap in Shizuoka prefecture about 10 years ago or so.

I could actually make a case for a lot of places in Japan. There's so much character everywhere you go. But Kansai has jobs, it's fairly centrally located, and it's where I got my start in Japan, so my vote is for Kansai. HANSHIN TIGERS FOREVER!!!!!
 

Petaris

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I agree that while you may have input, it's really your wife's call. Having said that, there are so many nice places to live in Japan. If I were to move back, I'd probably go somewhere in Kansai, I think. Mino-shi is pretty nice, and not too urban. I'd stay in walking distance of Kitasenri-eki. Kobe is nice, too, but my only experience with Kobe is as a visitor.

If I wanted to live somewhere cheaper, I'd just go out to the countryside. There are towns that will give you property if you move there, and other such deals are out there, as well. I remember that land was pretty cheap in Shizuoka prefecture about 10 years ago or so.

I could actually make a case for a lot of places in Japan. There's so much character everywhere you go. But Kansai has jobs, it's fairly centrally located, and it's where I got my start in Japan, so my vote is for Kansai. HANSHIN TIGERS FOREVER!!!!!

My preference would be somewhere at least partially rural with a shortish train ride to the city. I like nature and I like to get away from the noise and people (I'm not a crowd lover). I would probably go Kansai as well, though if it was just me I might look at Hokkaido as I don't mind the cold or snow and I have heard a lot of good things about the food.
 

MarLion

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If you want to play it safe and still be accessible if ever you get employment, stay around Tokyo. Commuting is not really a problem, but the rental might cost a lot
 
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