New to Japan

New to Japan

You probably fall into one of three categories: the observer, curious about Japan, its culture or the latest PlayStation; the visitor, about to explore the mysteries of the Orient or re-enact scenes from Lost in Translation; or the worker, earning a living in this vast, if faltering, economy and trying to make the most of your time here. This section is primarily for the latter categories and hopefully will help make the time spent in Japan more enjoyable and satisfying.

Visitors will find all they need to know about getting over the little hurdles of initial culture shock, whether it be eating with chopsticks, using squat toilets or using your yen. The language can be a barrier, too. So we've provided a crash course in survival Japanese and even a guide to the Japanese alphabets (yes, there's more than one!). Hotels, for the most part, are westernised but some remain traditional. When staying at these inns or visiting a Japanese home, a few basic rules of etiquette will protect your dignity and save you some embarrassment.

The prospect of working in Japan attracts thousands of people each year. To find that elusive, high-paying position, you need to know where to look and what you'll need to clinch the job. And, once you've got it, you'll be needing a place to live. This is perhaps the biggest headache for new arrivals but we can help steer you through the minefield of renting your own pad.

Some general info of use to the visitor or the long-term resident

Read our Feature Article entitled, Big in Japan No More? - Expat Employment in Times of Economic Uncertainty.

Some basics to help you get started with the Japanese language

If you're here for the medium or long term, you'll need to find employment