Tag Archives: Japan

Another Reason Why I Love Japan

There are so many wonderful things about Japan, but after what happened today, my admiration for the land of the rising sun has been cemented forever.

Last night, Edu and I were around Shinjuku Station following a nomikai (drinking party), when we decided to grab a late night dinner at McDonald’s. As the last train had already come and gone, this meant that we would need to take a cab back home. Anyway, this morning, as I was heading out for work, I realized that my wallet was missing. I didn’t know the name of the cab company we took, and I honestly couldn’t recall whether or not I even had my wallet with me when we exited the taxi. After desperately rummaging through the apartment, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I must have dropped it somewhere between the McDonald’s in Shinjuku and my apartment in Shibuya ward. 

One good thing that came out of this was that I learned the word for wallet in Japanese: 財布 (saifu).

One good thing that came out of this was that I learned the word for wallet in Japanese: 財布 (saifu).

After going to the koban (local police station) to file a missing articles report, I walked back home, retracing my steps from the previous night.

To my surprise, I noticed that one of the delivery lockers in the mail room had my apartment number on it, indicating that there was a package or something inside for me.

And there it was — my missing wallet, perfectly intact, with all of my cash still inside.

Someone must have found it, and then taken the time to deliver it back to my apartment.

In no other country (at least, none that I’ve lived in) would this ever happen. At best, back home, someone would return your wallet, but expect some sort of reward for doing so. Whoever had found my wallet didn’t even leave any contact information for me to thank them.

That’s it. It’s decided. I am staying here forever. I am raising my children here, and they will be decent human beings because Japan is the best country on earth. 

I ♥ Japan.

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Blurry Photos from Tokyo Game Show 2013

Tokyo Game Show 2013

This year, I had the chance to attend Tokyo Game Show for the first time. It’s a four-day game convention, quite similar to E3although smaller in scale. The first two days are industry-only Business Days, while the last two days are open to the public. I originally wasn’t planning to go, as Business Day passes normally cost ¥5000 a piece, but Miyazaki-san came through in the nick of time with four pre-paid tickets, which meant that Edu, Bob, Kairi and I were able to indulge in a field trip to TGS this past Friday. The great thing about attending on Business Day was the lack of crowds! I hate line-ups that last more than an hour, so if I’m lucky, I’ll try out maybe one game at E3, but at TGS I was able to spend a considerable amount of time playing the RYSE multiplayer demo, the Knack demo (which actually had quite a long line), and check out a few on-stage demos as well. I won’t review any of these, because hey, why read reviews when you can look at blurry pictures I took with my phone instead!

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Sayonara Santa Monica, Hello Tokyo

It didn’t really hit me that we were moving to Tokyo until we actually stepped off the plane at Narita Airport.

I’d spent my last few days in Santa Monica dealing with the logistics of our move, frantically selling our furniture on Craigslist, attempting to pack our entire lives into however many boxes could fit into 150 cubic feet, and then throwing away the rest. I’d slept maybe eight hours in three days. There was simply no time to get excited or scared or even emotionally acknowledge our move.

Even during the 11-hour flight from LAX to NRT, during which you’d think that I’d have ample opportunity to pause and reflect on the situation, I managed to keep myself distracted with movies and sleep. It really wasn’t until we stepped through the jet bridge, luggage in tow, the hot, humid air enveloping my body in instant sweat, that it finally hit me:

HOLY FUCK. We’re moving to Japan. No — scratch that — we’re in Japan. To live here.

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No Pets or Gangsters Allowed, and Other Highlights from our Rental Contract

We’re less than a month away from our move to Japan, and while there are a tonne of things still left on our to-do list, there’s at least one more thing that we can check off: we will have a place to stay in Tokyo. With the help of an agency in Tokyo, we’ve managed to find an apartment in Shibuya, a short 10-minute-walk away from work.

Renting an apartment in Tokyo is a bit harder on the wallet than it is in Santa Monica, as moving in typically requires a security deposit of 2-4 months’ worth of rent, which includes the key money deposit (typically 1-2 months’ rent). Additionally, unlike the security deposit which is normally returned to the renter at the end of the lease, the key money is instead paid to the landlord as a sort of “thank you” for letting you stay in their property.

However, despite our fears that we’d end up paying a fortune in rent to live in a box (Tokyo is consistently named one of the world’s most expensive cities), we ended up finding a place that is double the size of our apartment in Santa Monica, for the same monthly rent that we currently pay.

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Getting a Japanese Work Visa

So, with all of this scuttling around between Brazil and Los Angeles and Vancouver and back, you’re probably wondering whether Tokyo is still on the table. Rest assured, it still very much is.

We’ve pushed our move to mid-July, which, at a month away, still does not seem like enough time to settle our affairs here. I’ve looked up advice online, and while there’s plenty of information out there about how to move to Japan, there’s practically nothing that tells you about how to move out of the U.S. That is, selling your car, what to do with your 401k, and a slew of other things that I’m probably not thinking of.

Thankfully, we’ve been able to take care of at least one necessity — we’ve just picked up our work visas from the Japanese consulate.

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Things just got a little more real.

And in an interesting turn of events, after a few months of beginner language lessons (I still can’t speak a lick of Japanese), and years of dreaming and talking about it, Edu and I have both just received great offers to work at an amazing studio in Tokyo. It looks like we will be moving to Japan this year.



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