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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

How to Adjust to Life in Japan

Adjusting to life in Japan is not an easy thing to do for most non-Asian foreigners. This is because Japan has a culture that has different social expectations for its residents and different protocols. To enjoy your time in Japan more you need to become a part of the Japanese culture instead of just an observer of it.

Learn the Language. Do your best to familiarize your self with the Japanese language before you go.

Take college courses to learn how to speak and read Japanese. This will help you to navigate your way through your Japanese adventure. You can also purchase CDs or computer programs to quickly learn some key phrases.

Utilize free online Japanese language workshops and web sites. These sites offer you free lessons on Japanese grammar, math and etiquette. You can even print out the lessons and dictionary pages to use as a quick reference.

Immerse yourself in the Japanese language. You can do this by buying language courses on DVD, watching movies in the Japanese language and by surrounding yourself with people who speak Japanese.

Develop Japanese Shopping Strategies

Understand the differences between renting an apartment in the U.S. and renting an apartment in Japan. You should expect longer rental terms and more upfront fees when renting an apartment in Japan.

Save money by shopping at a "hyaku-en" shop or a Shop 99. These stores offer you low cost staples that can help you to survive on a limited budget.

Become a minimalist. Space in Japan is limited and your budget will be also. Use your money to experience Japan instead of to buying material possessions.

Get to Know the Japanese Culture

Read up on the culture of Japan. There are a lot of great books that can help to introduce the rich culture of Japan to you. Some options that you may want to consider include: "The Art and Culture of Japan" by Nelly Delay, "Culture and Customs of Japan" by Noriko Kamachi and "Introduction to Japanese Culture" by Daniel Sosnoski.

Explore Japanese cultural sites. Japan is full of beautiful architecture, temples and cultural sites. Take advantage of these national treasures and learn more about the culture of the country you are visiting.

Meet the Japanese people and make new friends. One of the best ways to integrate yourself into the Japanese culture is to make Japanese friends. They can help you to understand the Japanese language, to understand Japanese customs and to understand Japanese traditions. They can also help you to navigate your way through the Japanese public transportation system.

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