koyasan temple girl backpack japan travel

Why I Left Japan

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been living in Japan for the last 2 years of my life. A country full of character, weirdness, and charm. And, if you’ve been following me on social media (mostly my Instagram ), then you’ll also know that I’ve just left, and am now back living in the UK. But why, if I loved the place so much, did I decide to up and leave? Well, read on to find out…

The “look up a few inches” problem

One of the big things that I struggled to get used to in Japan was the fact that equality is still a bit of a dirty word. In general, women are still seen as less qualified than men, and they often stop work all together as soon as they get married. Also, being quite a busty girl, the amount of unwanted stares and attention that I received was very unnerving. Not to generalise too much here, but many women in Japan are rather petite, whereas I’m pretty much the exact opposite. This led to lots of uncomfortable conversations where Japanese men would be, very blatantly, staring a few inches below my actual face.

The “….maybe” problem

Japanese people hate to create conflict, which is absolutely lovely most of the time, as it means its easy to get along with everyone, and manners are top notch. But, there is a downside to this, and trust me, its a biggie. In Japanese companies, it’s very rare for them to roll out new systems or methods – simply because changing them is so difficult. Any new ideas are often met with a head tilt and a “…maybe…” – which, for those of you not familiar with overly polite language, basically means “no”.

fushimi inari girl running japan kyoto sightseeing top spots tourist

Me, running off on my next adventure.

The “I’m running out of time” problem

The biggest reason for me leaving Japan though, has nothing to do with the country or the people within the country. It’s simply because it’s time for me to move on. My original plan was to only stay in Japan for 1 year, I doubled that. This happened simply because of how amazing my time was there, how friendly the people were, and how much there was still left to see, eat, and experience. I love adventure, and I’m ready for my next one, wherever that may be. Unfortunately, I found ti impossible to save money while living in Japan – there’s always something new to do! Every month I’d find a festival or a trip to go on, so every yen I had went into exploring this fabulous country! But, sadly, you do need money to travel, and that’s what I want to do now. So, I’m back home, working my butt off to save as much as possible, and getting ready to jet off to the next home away from home!

I don’t regret a single thing about moving to Japan, and if I could do it all over again, it would be exactly the same. No country is perfect, but Japan does come pretty damn close. I can’t wait to go back and visit one day, and see if I remember any of my god-awful Japanese skills when I do! Where would you most like to live in the world? What’s the best place you’ve ever lived…or the worst? Let’s discuss!

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Why I Left Japan


14 thoughts on “Why I Left Japan

  1. Gina Bear says:

    I completely agree with you on the equality rule. Japan is still very sexist and I hate the way men treat women in corporate positions. When they get pregnant, they are just pushed out! I think the Japanese should be celebrating pregnancies because of the dwindling birthrate and they should treat pregnant women better. I hated the teeth sucking don’t ever ask again look too! Hahaha.

  2. anne says:

    I would love to spend some time in Japan as well, but totally get that it isn’t a place to stay forever. Especially with the differences between “western” culture and theirs!

  3. diytravelhq says:

    I can definitely relate to this – there’s so many places in the world & so little time… I lived in China for a year & a half teaching English & loved it, I’ve always thought about doing it in Japan too, it sounds like a complex country that you need to spend awhile in to understand

  4. Soraya @ Hello Raya says:

    Wow! This post reminds me of when I was working back home and we primarily dealt with Japanese businesses. I did struggle at times, especially with the ‘maybe’ problem. Sometimes we literally could not organise a certain activity for the Japanese group, but they insisted they wanted the same itinerary as last year. I’d suggest something new and the Japanese company could not wrap their mind around the fact that there was going to be change to the itinerary this year. After 2 years, it was time to say goodbye to the role, because it really became quite stressful. But overall, I have met so many beautiful Japanese – they were so lovely, and so kind.

  5. Ria (@lifeinbigtent) says:

    So interesting – this week is exactly 2 years like I’m living in Indonesia (originally I’m from Lithuania). Like you – my plan was just to stay 1 year, like I got scholarship in Indonesia but life is life – passed second year and quick 🙂 But I still want to stay 🙂 How long let’s see. And your mentioned reasons are very similar with Indonesia, I think here it’s even more of them. But everybody choose what they want, if you think you needed to move on – then it’s the right thing to do 🙂

  6. shewentwear says:

    2 years is a pretty long time, especially with the inequality. I probably would’ve jetted off a lot sooner than 2 years. But overall, you seemed to really appreciate your time there. Where do you think your next adventure will be?

  7. Tania Mukherjee says:

    Wow! I always felt Japan is so fascinating with all its animal cafes, sakura, culture and everything! However it breaks my heart to know that such a rich and ‘developed’ country still does not treat women as equals.

  8. thetravelpockets says:

    I’m half Japanese and grew up in Japan, so I know how you feel about the inequality. It’s one thing I really dislike about my home country and am hoping some day it will improve. I know what you mean about saving money! I go home every year to visit family and I always spend so much on random stuff 🙂

  9. ivannar89 says:

    I’m ashamed to say I know very little about Japan. Thank you for enlightening me. I love your header titles by the way.

  10. A Pair of Passports (@apairofpassport) says:

    I love how honest this post is! I feel like there are so many posts about excitement over a place, and nobody addresses the negatives – and you’ve done so without actually being negative towards Japan! We are hoping to get to Japan next year and honestly cannot wait! It seems like such a lovely place.

  11. Nerdventurists says:

    Your reasons were quite similar to my own. Loved Japan so so much, but there were a few things that made me decide to leave after a year. But hey, now i’m in Korea and maybe I’ll try Japan again after… who knows, haha. Rather bummed I didn’t get a chance to meet you before you left this side of the world though!

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