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Moving to Japan maybe?

Should I move to Japan?

  • Go to Japan

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Don't go to Japan

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

Thomas C

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Hi all,

My partner (soon to be wife) and I are planning to move to Japan around March/April next year. I've just turned 27 and I've been having hesitations about moving to Japan. I've heard successful (from NZ mates) stories and unsuccessful stories (Japanese friends) about their career in Japan. I've got a postgraduate degree in Design/archi and have been working in the field since my last year in uni to present. I cannot speak Japanese yet but I am rushing to learn the language within a year.

I'm currently working as a full time Architectural Interior Designer in NZ and I was wondering if it is worth moving to Japan and if I could possibly have a better working opportunity there? My partner is Japanese and misses her family. I have not lived in Japan before so I have no slightest idea what would happen there and how things work there but all I know is i'll never know unless I try. . But I was hoping someone could share me their experience working in Japan in the same field?

My partner said she wants to eventually move to japan in the future, so I'm also thinking if it's worth going there earlier and try start a career to settle down or maybe go there at a later date and then settle down. The thing is we also plan to have a family. At the moment we are undecided as to where to live. She doesn't mind living here too, although for me, I'm quite bored with NZ unless something very interesting happened to me. We've applied for the residency just in case. It's also impossible to get a house in NZ ($300,000 house are now $1.2M for just an average 4 bedroom house). Also the hard part is, our families are in 2 different places and both of us are very close to them also most of our friends are in Japan.

If it helps, my hobbies are guitars, cars, photography haha.

Would you move to Japan?
 
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Mike Cash

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Don't marry anyone from another place unless you are fully prepared to commit to the possibility of living the rest of your life living where they come from. Even if it means a change of career. One of you is going to have to sacrifice closeness of birth family and one set of grandparents is going to get screwed on access to the grandchildren. One of you is going to have to live in a foreign language environment and very different culture from the one they grew up in.

I have no idea what the career opportunities in your field are in Japan. I do know that the are professional licensing exams for architects. There are varying educational requirements for the various types of licenses. It is possible that your degrees will be recognized, but it is also possible they may not. This is something you need to research carefully.

As I'm sure you know far better than I do, architects have to be knowledgeable about all the various laws and regulations regarding all aspects of their trade. While I'm sure there must be some general international standards, you're going to have to learn all the ones that pertain specifically to Japan. Not only to do your daily work here, but in order to pass the licensing exams.

For many white collar professions with opportunities in Japan the employer will specify they want someone who has passed either level N2 or N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It has been done in a year before, but I wouldn't count on it. If it does turn out that you have to take Japanese licensing exams, given in Japanese, even if by some miracle you did reach N1 in a year it is questionable whether you would have the reading ability and speed to complete the licensing exams in the time allowed.

I'll admit I'm ignorant of these things and it may turn out all you have to do is show up and go right to work. I don't know. You and your intended are going to have to research this carefully.
 

Thomas C

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Hi Mike,

Thank you for your reply, It is very helpful. As for my reply I am commited to my partner and ok wherever she wants to live. I guess it is also for me to be aware of what I should expect in Japan if we decided to go there. Like I said before, she is okay to live here or there but misses the family so we are both thinking whether to live there or not. I'm okay to move away from my family even though I am very close to them. Happy to do what my partner wants. I am also fully aware that they have different laws in japan and licensing exams etc for architecture. There is also the interior designing where you do not need licensing. It is simply understanding the building codes that the council/government has given. But during my discussion with my partner, I really could not say anything because I have no experience working or living in Japan so I wasn't able to share an idea. What I would really like to know is someone's experience (I know they vary), as a foreigner, who has/had a similar situation with a similar field working and finding work in japan as an Architect even as an interior designer or any design job maybe? What advice or precautions?

As for N1, its far up there! haha so that is also a problem. haha

Thank you.

Cheers
 
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mdchachi

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I don't think there is anybody in that field here. Have you found any information on the job market in Japan for foreign designers in general? Do foreign firms have much of a presence there?

Besides all the issues with living in a foreign land, I think your satisfaction will in large part depend on your ability to find work at a decent company in your field.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Even if you don't need licensing, you need to talk to clients. Unless you plan on only working with English speaking clients I would think you're going to need pretty high level Japanese.
 

Glenski

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Couples such as yourselves have 3 options (all temporary or permanent) about where to live:

your home country (where she would have to learn to adjust)
her home country (where you would have to learn to adjust)
a different country (where both of you would have to learn to adjust)

If you have never been to Japan, and she wants to return, at least do her the courtesy of coming for a visit. Be sure you do more than sightseeing. Learn at least a trace of what it's like here, even if you don't know a single word of the language.

Oh, and regardless, learn her language. If you have kids, she's the one responsible for teaching them, even if you have a Japanese language school nearby. You don't want to have kids that speak a language you never understand, do you?

she is okay to live here or there but misses the family so we are both thinking whether to live there or not. I'm okay to move away from my family even though I am very close to them. Happy to do what my partner wants.
DON'T move just to please her. Since you have not been here, I will assume you met her in NZ, perhaps on her student exchange. She had a reason for choosing NZ, ostensibly for learning better English as well as something either education-related or future work-related. (Most Japanese do not study abroad because it's too expensive and because they don't want to miss job hunting opportunities back home. Those that do study abroad have goals in mind. What were hers?) Odds are, she didn't plan to move to NZ to get hitched and remain. If you don't know her goals back then, ask now.

Also, families will play a role. You're close to yours. She is probably close to hers. One of you will have to choose, unless you live in a totally different country (option 3 above). Is she the oldest? That will be a strong force in her family relationship. How old and healthy are her parents? More force. How about yours? It's definitely a time for the big talk, including kids.

As for your job prospects, have your NZ friends held jobs in the same line of work, or were they transient English teachers here? Compare apples and apples. Also, what are your opportunities in NZ? I have no idea, but I can tell you that if you don't speak or read or write any Japanese, your opportunities here in Japan just dwindle in comparison. That also means if you work for a foreign company here. Most non-teaching jobs in Japan require employees to be highly fluent (although not necessarily perfect) in Japanese. Duh.
 
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