Lost in Tokyo: An Idiot Abroad

LiT1 LiT2 LiT3

I’ve mentioned this in some of my blog posts, but I’ve come to believe very strongly that most of our regrets in life aren’t what we did and wish we hadn’t, but what we didn’t do and wish we had.

The best anime about adults tend to dwell on the fact that we build up regrets as we get older, and we’re always carrying them around with us – like a feather-light backpack that grows and grows with the weight of regrets accumulated, becoming a heavier and heavier burden to carry.

– Enzo, Uchuu Kyoudai blog post, Episode #2

Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you did not even know where they were going to be.”  In the spirit of all of the above, I’m going to be moving to Tokyo as of October of this year.   Take my word for it: this was not a decision I took lightly.  It flies in the face of financial safety, and prudence, and probably logic.  It constitutes not just a huge change in my life, but a huge gamble as well.  But every time I really stopped to consider it, one thought kept repeating itself over in my mind: the longer I waited, the harder this dream was going to be to pursue.

I’ve been astonished by how supportive my friends and family have been, because I frankly expected them to tell me I was nuts for doing this – maybe they think I am (I certainly do sometimes) but they were kind enough to encourage me to follow my bliss.  As to what I’m going to be doing in Japan, it amounts to two things for starters – teaching English and learning Japanese.  Once I’ve done enough of the latter, my hope is that I’ll be able to start a career in my area of professional expertise (one that will pay more than the meager salary of an English teacher) and allow me to stay in Japan permanently.  We’ll see – as it stands, I’ll be there for two years, living like the college student I no longer am.  But I’m still young enough to embrace that lifestyle in pursuit of doing something I’ve always dreamed of doing – and the time simply came for me to put up or shut up.

What will this mean for LiA?  A good question, and one I don’t feel totally confident in answering because I’m not really sure of anything except that it’s going to be very exciting, and very different.  In the short-term, my life is going to be in complete upheaval and there will be times when certain posts will be late, or much shorter than usual.  Once I’m settled, it’s going to be a question of how much time I have left after teaching, learning and fulfilling whatever freelance writing jobs I get.  On the other hand, I’ll be at the epicenter of the anime universe – a short train ride from Akihabara or Nakano, immersed in the land of Comiket and Cospa and anime on live television and Hosoda Mamoru on the big screen and manga sections in bookstores bigger than most American bookstores in their entirety.  Most exciting for LiA, I’ll be able to offer first-hand observations as an idiot abroad, a gaijin perspective in Tokyo, in addition to my usual ramblings on anime and manga.  And at least I’ll always know exactly how to introduce myself.

My state of mind at the moment is far too complicated to categorize, but more than anything I’m overwhelmed by all there is to do.  I’m also nervous, and restless, and indescribably excited about getting on a plane for Tokyo on a one-way ticket at last.  I’m fully aware that living in a city – or country – is a totally different experience than visiting, and that Japan will confound and surprise me at every turn.  Bring it on, I say – for me every day in Japan is like being a kid again, because there’s so little I can take for granted – even shopping for toothpaste and figuring out the garbage collection is a new experience.  I wouldn’t miss any of it for the world.  Stay tuned for more updates interspersed with the usual blog content and get ready for an exciting ride.  Oh, and if you have a decent apartment in Tokyo to rent, cheap – drop me a line.



  1. c

    Wow, that's really exciting. Living in Tokyo, hopefully for long-term, huh? I've been there myself, and I must say that it just takes your breath away. The atmosphere is so different, and something about Japan… just wow. I look forward to your gaijin posts lol.

  2. d

    Dont!! Introduce yourself like that!!
    Jokes aside… i wonder whether in a years time, Enzo is gonna post "Even a Guardian needs a partner".

    Well, I'm happy for you. I am getting a university degree, just for the sake of having a better chance of becoming an English Teacher in Japan. You beat me to it… but at least now the LiA posts would be more to my timeline (I am one hour timezone difference)

    P.S. I dont particularly like Tokyo. Kyoto and the countryside is what I like about Japan. Then again, I've only been to shibuya, harajuku, Meiji Jinja, Asakura, Odaiba and Ikebukuro. So I might be misinformed.

    Enjoy the autumn leaves and have fun. And if you cant blog anime, at least blog your new life. 🙂

  3. You never know what might happen once I'm there. Spouse visa?

    I love Kyoto and the countryside too, but I also love Tokyo – and that is where the jobs are.

  4. PS I'll definitely still be blogging anime. How could I be in Japan and not blog anime??

  5. d

    To me. Japan is way bigger than anime. Although, i do admit I get withdrawal symptoms if i dont watch anime. (take about 10 days and a whole lot of anime posters though)

  6. Anime is a tiny percent of what interests me about Japan – still, it seems silly to have an anime blog and not continue it because you're moving there…

  7. M

    That was also my reason for getting my degree!! But then some personal matters came in the way so i had to postpone it for a while.. Plus most ppl around me thinks I'm nuts and voice it clearly :S

    I think I'll first aim to visit japan then I'll decide for sure 😉 Maybe in some ways ppl around me are right that i'm nuts since i love so much a country that i haven't visited yet 😛 But i love eveything about it, the language, the culture, their cities and countrysides. I know they're not perfect (no country or culture is) but they seem close enough to perfectness for me 😛

    I wonder until what age could it be considered young enough to start a life and a career in a new country.. cuz i'm 26 and I still have a long way to go b4 i'm ready to let go of everything here and move on to follow that dream i've had for so long.

    But reading this post makes me so hopeful. I feel that i'm not insane since so many ppl feel the same way i do 😛

  8. You're plenty young enough, but if you're serious about doing it, my experience is that the longer you wait, the harder it will be to let go of the things you say you don't want to let go of now.

  9. M

    no its not things i can't let go… I don't have anything like that 😛 but more like responsibilities towards my family.. something happened and I can't leave them now.. But you are right part of me is not confidant enough.. But i know I'll make it 🙂

  10. e

    It's a gutsy move, but really, life it's too short not to take some risks for things you strongly believe in (I'm working on a somehow similar project myself… I still don't know if I'll be able to leave and how soon though. This Xmas or by March at best). Go for the dream and work your ass off. Best wishes Enzo. Truly.

    Are you reaching in junior high, primary school, or up/else? Going by one NA acquaintance of mine's experience it can be both tiring and very fun work, with younger kids especially 😀 .
    Well, it'll be always a pleasure to read of your gaijin chronicles. Ganbatte sensei XD

  11. Individual lessons and tutoring to start, once I see how I'm dealing with the workload, probably something more structures, probably still adults but I'll see what appeals to me.

  12. e

    A big and exciting move, but a prudent and methodical approach to it. Sounds like an effective mix – and a very Enzo one I dare say – . Indeed, I hope it goes well and even beyond your best expectations.

    And if you end up going the spouse visa route – saaa? -, well this Italian waifu-no-more (cyber-concubine? XD ) will root for your happiness. Now, where's my string orchestra moving bgm…

    Seriously, I'm very happy for you and I'm still sorta grinning like a…fairy?
    Good luck Dan.

  13. A

    So excited for you…and good for you to just do it. You will never forget the experience, and every moment will be like a new adventure. Absolutely understand how chaotic and stressful it can be when you're relocating. I will stick around and be patient.

    Hey, by the way, you will be there when Chihayafuru is aired….that's so great. Also, if only possible, share some photos please. Enjoy and have fun.


  14. Oh, I'll be sharing photos for damn sure!

  15. A

    Good luck. I think you are right when you say that we feel worse about our lost opportunities rather than about our failures after having tried. If you try and fail, you have to deal with the failure but not the regret, and dealing with failure is easier than dealing with regret, which gnaws at you forever, because there is no remedy for it. There is always a remedy for failure (try again or try something else) but no remedy for regret for lost opportunities. It is good to understand these things when you are still young enough to take advantage of them. I look forward to your future reports of your activities.

  16. i

    Awesome news Enzo! You have way more guts than me. I actually studied abroad for a year in Nagoya, Japan during college. It was an amazing experience, but i wasted too much time on girls (don't make my mistake). I used to speak and understand Japanese at a intermediate level. Enough to get around and carry on basic conversations (or watch a shounen series without subtitles) but since coming back, i haven't spoken Japanese at all. My speaking is pretty much shot but the good thing is that anime has kept my listening skills sharp.

    The absolute best thing about living in Japan is the instant comradery you feel with every other foreigner you meet. You make friends so easily and many share similar interests.

    Lastly, don't stress too much about the language. Learn the basics quickly so you can get around then focus more on having fun and picking up the details as you go. Also, bring deodorant! 😛

  17. Um… I'm pretty sure they sell deodorant there? No good? I confess I never had to buy any while on trips.

    I'm hoping to pick up something besides the details…

  18. e

    @Enzo: re: deodorant. Different body chemistry, also different washing habits. Based on my friend's stories (she's a professional Italian translator and has been living in Tokyo for a few years already ) you might need to dig a bit for suitable shampoos as well. I don't know about shaving cream…

    Good luck with your nihongo 🙂

  19. I use an electric razor, but the point about body chemistry is an interesting one. None of my expat friends in Tokyo has warned me about that issue…

  20. e

    I'm just a messenger, but this specific bit stood out to me (I'm fascinated by everyday life details abroad and this was a first for me also. The holy deodorant quest XD). I guess there are many variables between genetics and personal taste too. Basically she was struggling to find products with a strong scent and that 'worked', especially in the summer.

  21. m

    I must agree with the deodorant thing. I'm in Japan now and that is one item I always ask for in packages from home.

    Id suggest you bring enough to last you a long while and you can check out the Japanese types while you still have your own. Then you can compare.

  22. Who would have thought that deodorant would the hot-button issue?

  23. i

    Enzo, in Nagoya i really struggled to find anything decent. I found Axe spray in many places but that wasn't going to work for me. Asians just sweat less so they don't need as strong a formula i guess.

  24. A

    So you're moving to Tokyo where it's about 30% more expensive to live than anywhere else in Nippon to teach English with little to no Japanese?

    Well, good luck with that buddy.

  25. Believe it or not, Tokyo is cheaper than San Francisco. And it's not even close.

    I can also tell you that more than one job I've discussed has specifically said they prefer a teacher who speaks little or no Japanese. It's a culture thing – Japanese people don't want Japanese people to teach them English, no matter how fluent they are, and they don't want their gaijin English teachers to speak much Japanese.

    I also do speak some Japanese, and will be studying formally in addition to relying on osmosis.

  26. A

    What kind of job were you working in San Fran? As you say English teaching is a meager salary and I imagine pay is limited by the amount of stuff you can do.

    Anyway, I commend your audacity. At the very least it will test you.

  27. In a pretty well-paying management job, though it's not especially fulfilling.

    English teaching just doesn't pay all that much, it's not so much a question of what you can do. If you're very experienced as a teacher, you can get into a supervisory role where other teachers report to you – that can start to be decent money.

  28. y

    Wow, good luck and have fun!!! I don't really have plans to move to japan, but I do want to go for travel, or perhaps go to learn japanese over there (might learn faster if I immerse myself in the environment).

    Anw, looking forward to posts about anime and your life there!! ^_^

  29. A

    Congratulations Enzo, you're living your dream.

  30. A

    Congratulations, Enzo! This is exciting news. 🙂

    I have a few friends from college who are teaching english in Japan at the moment, and they've all had stressful but fun experiences. If anything, the kids that they teach ADORE them (but you mentioned you'd be tutoring and working with adults sometimes) because they are so different and foreign. And what better way to get the language osmosis by surrounding yourself with it? You'll pick up Japanese and be great at it in no time.

    Wishing you the best of luck in all that you attempt to do!

  31. x

    You won't regret doing this Enzo. I'm really happy for you.
    Carpe Diem. Everyday while you are there.

    You may want to read this btw:

    That's all I can do as a pat on your back.

  32. l

    Congrats enzo for the big move.
    A very big decision for you and going with your dreams (as a pokemon trainer?) lol.
    I wish you luck and all the best and as the current twitter generation says #yolo.

  33. Gotta catch 'em all.

  34. M

    Pretty awesome. Best of luck to you, Enzo! Sounds like a dream come true.

    Oh, and watch out for the kancho games. =P

  35. K

    Wow awesome Enzo. Congrats on the move.

    And when will you be going exactly or are you already there? I'll be in Tokyo in Dec, sadly only for 3 1/2 days but if it works out I'd love to say hello (I'll be in the Kansai region a few days too)

  36. K

    Just read your post more carefully and saw October. 🙂

  37. Any time anyone's in Edo, drop me a line – depending on what's going on I'm of course happy to see a friendly face. Right now December feels like 10 years from now.

    Bring a jacket!

  38. L

    When I go to Japan next time, I'll drop a comment or something since I can't seem to find an email. But I've been there once (a month ago), absolutely loved it. I'm taking Japanese to maybe make my way there again, so I'll definitely want to hear from you when I get to that point.

  39. I look forward to it! My email is in the "About Me" profile section, BTW,

  40. d

    Can also use that to track his Facebook account.

  41. S

    Enzo, I wish you the best and I hope you enjoy this new experience =) It was a tough decision, I'm sure, but I doubt you'll regret it ;P

    Good luck and stay in touch!

  42. C

    Best of luck Enzo!!!
    I admire you. You are taking a big step most of us are afraid to do.
    Keep us updated.

  43. d

    Sweet! And now I have an extra excuse to visit Japan!

  44. H

    Best of luck to you!

  45. Thanks, All. I suspect I'll need it, but my struggles will hopefully be vastly entertaining to all of you as I share them here.

  46. S

    Good for you Enzo
    You have to share your experiences with us, kay?
    I'm half japanese but I've only been to Japan once

  47. Share I will, thanks.

  48. I swear, in my heart, your really are going to get lost in TOKYO one day.

  49. My friend, I have been lost in Tokyo many times, and expect to be many more. The addresses are impossible and 95% of the streets aren't remotely straight.

  50. 分かる!分かるよ!
    I see that you already been lost there. 😀

  51. A

    Enzo you should go to anime-source.com and read this blog by xeno. He has been living there for over 2 yrs and teaches english.

  52. d

    Wow, that's incredible, Enzo! I'm so excited to hear about this amazing step your life is taking. Seriously, I am in awe (and a bit envious) of your sense of adventure! Just seeing the word "one way ticket" kind of freaked me out a little! ヘ(_ _ヘ) It's an gigantic step that a lot of people would be scared to do.

    I admire that you're trying to fulfill your dream now so you won't have any regrets later on. Your feelings on regret really touched me because it's true most of the things I regret the most are the things I wish I could have said or done instead of the things I actually do because I'm stuck wondering what could have happened. So I think it's incredible that you're trying to live out your life now. That kind of made me sound like an old woman, didn't it? ヘ(;´Д`ヘ) No matter. (´∇ノ`*)ノ

    And despite what people say about the teaching profession, I really think it's one of the noblest professions a person can take and definitely one of the most rewarding. Working with those younger than is just incredible. I think you'll enjoy it. My cousin went over there to teach English as well, and as far as I know, he liked it. And he met his future wife there as well! (●´∀`●) If that's a consolation . . . ?

    Anyway, I just wanted to say my congrats to you, Enzo. I'm excited to see the adventures you'll be having over there. (^_^) Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to go over there myself. Considering my career (or rather, the career corresponding to my current major) really allows for only two places to work professionally, one of which is Japan, it may happen. For now though, I'm wishing the best of luck to you though, Enzo. I'm sure you're going to have an amazing experience! ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ

  53. Thanks, dreamlings. I'm scared to do it, too, but I figured it wasn't going to get any less scary. I have absolutely no doubt that teaching is a noble profession – the time I've spent training has been the most fulfilling of my career. I just know that in Japan, teaching English is not an especially lucrative career track. Rewarding, yes – just not financially!

  54. d

    I really just want to hit myself now. It's clear that my later comment was too late. I'm sorry for making you read that. Before I get on the fast track to nowhere again, I'll just wish you best of luck again. ^^ Good luck in everything!

  55. d

    Ahh, a giant wall of text. (>_<) I'm sorry! Please feel free not to read all of it. Or any of it, if you don't want to! I'm really sorry! (╥_╥) All you need to know is congratulations on your newest adventure and I wish good luck, really!

  56. t

    I've been trying to find something to say but it all sounds too corny.So I'll keep it short.It's great seeing you channel your inner Mutta and go off on a crazy adventure!

    Watch out though a year from now I'll probably be stalking you asking for translations 😉

  57. Gimmee about two years on the translation thing.

  58. E

    That's amazing. I don't think I could ever rack up the courage to just pack up and move to country where I know neither language nor people, no matter how much I'd love to be in Japan. Whatever happens though, I wish you the best of luck. You're a good guy, I think you'll be able to manage. 😉

    As a side note, I suggest you limit yourself on the amount of shows you blog. You already blog an abnormal amount of shows for one person, but I think that if you going to be trying yourself in a completely new and foreign community, you'll need time to breathe. Besides, I'd hate to see the quality of your posts suffer because of time constraints. Remember: quality over quantity, my friend.

  59. A

    I love Tokyo and Japan. Seeing that you're making a big move to Tokyo, I just had to drop by and wish you all the best. I guess it helps that you've visited Tokyo before and would not find it too much of a culture shock but living there is as some say, another matter altogether as you'll be away from all that you're familiar with and immerse in a completely different environment, trying to find your bearings and assimilate. Some find the struggles too much to bear after a time but most of the people I know adapt to the life there and they're still there today. I'm sure you'll be among these crowd in due time. Anyway, good luck and ganbatte. Very much looking forward to your post from Japan. ^^

  60. S

    I have to ask since I am in Japan teaching as well. Are you going through a program, company, or eikaiwa? I just don't want you to have the hurdles facing living in Japan without being able to get the basic necessities. Getting the proper help can be hard especially when there is a lot of paperwork in kanji. Boy, do the Japanese love paperwork.

  61. I have assistance on that side of it, fortunately – a group in Tokyo that helps English-speakers through the process. Also a local friend in Tokyo who's helping me with apartment hunting and has promised to help me with the first trip to the bank, cell phone contract, etc.

  62. A

    tokyo is harsh place enzo. don't take it lightly

  63. A

    Interesting news…you reminded me of this guy who came to Japan to also teach and eventually started a life there, going through different "misadventures" good & bad:

    Seems you've thought long and hard about it and have weighted all possibilities. I guess all we can hope is things turn at for the best and may you find your path.

  64. S

    Best of luck GE! I'm sure you'll have a great time!

  65. H

    Enzo, you are doing the right thing. I made a very similar choice several years ago and it paid off immensely. The same holds true for my wife and an overwhelming amount of people that I have met along the years.
    It is not going to be easy and there will be times when you will struggle and wonder why you left a more secure life for something so uncertain, but do not give up. Most importantly, give yourself time: time to settle, to understand, to grow as a person and perhaps find better employment once your Japanese is good enough. Who dares wins!
    Next June I will be in Japan for a week or so and I will certainly be in Tokyo for at least a couple of days. So when that happens, let us meet and let me buy you dinner to thank you for the fantastic job you do as an anime blogger. Deal? 😉

  66. Works for me, Hatsu, thanks for the encouragement!

  67. S

    Wow, that's pretty awesome, Enzo! You have guts and your loyal readers will be cheering you on no matter where you are.
    Are you gonna change the name of this blog to Lost In Tokyo? 😉

  68. Thanks Seishun. Undecided, for the moment…

  69. E

    Good for you Enzo. Late posts are okay just like this cliched saying goes, "Better late than never." Since I'd be going there this December or March too but for studying purposes, we might see each other though we don't know each other personally. I've only been to Osaka and Kyoto for a week and I felt like I was an alien in the locals world, back then. Ganbatte!

  70. c

    Good luck Enzo! I was scared for a moment that you'll be announcing your 'indefinite leave/retirement' from anime blogosphere (like Omni, Divine and Impz whose blog entries I followed).
    It's going to be difficult, but since it's your dream, I know you'll survive and enjoy every bit of it. I think most of 'us' who love Japan start as being an anime/manga fan then you get to discover how rich their culture and history are and embrace almost everything about the country. My hats off to you for choosing to live your dream! I look forward to reading your posts about life in Japan.
    I'm not sure if you've heard about Danny Choo, but he also moved to Japan years ago. I also enjoy his posts about his life in Japan. Maybe you can pick out some tips from him. All the best!

  71. I've thought about writing Danny, though I don't know if he'd even notice a tiny flea like me exists.

    Ironically, for me it was sort of the opposite – I developed an interest in Japan before I developed an interest in anime and manga.

    Thanks for the good wishes!

  72. K

    Good to hear you're coming over to Japan. Maybe I ought to have taken a job teaching English rather than persist with studying, since it pays well.

    Maybe we might meet up someday.

  73. S

    I think its brilliant that you're following your dream. I'm sure it'll be hard but work out in the end since your blog makes me think you're a pretty dedicated/motivated guy. All the best! I'm planning to live in Tokyo for a year, a year from now (which seems far away) but maybe we'll run into each other xx Good Luck

  74. A

    I didn't read all the comments but I just want to say Good luck in your new adventure and come back once in a while, I will be waiting for good news!

  75. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes – it means a lot to me! Rest assured, I'm not going anywhere blogging-wise – you can't get rid of me that easily.

  76. J

    Whoa, what a piece of news Enzo. Of course, like many said above, I wish you all the best in this journey. It'll certainly be a drastic change from North America – any chances you'll post about 'First Impressions' of Tokyo 😛 ? Anyway, glad to know you're following your dreams. Good luck man!

  77. D

    Congratulations to you! So this is the HUUGE news you teased us about.
    It must have been a hard but thought out decision. I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Hope you can still continue blogging on 🙂


  78. I

    LiA readers rejoice, when we go to Tokyo for our anigrimmage we now have a place to crash.

    From a guy who just moved and has seen each of his weekly checks go down the drain so far in bills for new necessities like a bed, a table (I knew I should have paid more and found a sub let) I can tell first hand it will be tough.

    The first few weeks will be really tough and I hope you decide not to blog on weekdays as I'm sure even the infallible Enzo will have a rough landing trying to find nice places to eat, to buy groceries from and a nice place to drink.

    But as an anime fan I can think of no better place to move to than hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

    Good luck Enzo, take some time off to get your stuff in order. And trying arriving there on a Friday so you have the weekend to scout out everything you need. I came on a Saturday and then Monday I'm at work. No time to check out anything. So I struggled on that front for a bit.

  79. I've already got a couple nice places to drink, don't worry – research trips. The rest of it is trivial compared to that.

  80. N

    I wish you the best luck in Japan. Believe in yourself and your feelings that’s the most important thing. Life is too short to have regrets.

  81. N

    I wish you the best luck in Japan. Believe in yourself and your feelings that’s the most important thing. Life is too short to have regrets.

  82. P

    Congrulations, Enzo. ^^ And, of course, best of luck! I'm currently studying English philogy and German language, so this kinda gives me some hope for the future. 😀

  83. N

    If it's not too personal a question, how old are you, Enzo?

  84. l

    Not surprised that you gave in to temptation to go work in Japan. All the best. You'll be in Tokyo in October? At the start, I presume?

    I'll be in Tokyo in the 2nd week of October 2012 to attend an internal conference held by the global head office of the company I work for. Thereafter, taking a few days of personal time after the conference to discover Tokyo.

  85. R

    AHHHH! Good luck Enzou! I hope that everything goes smoothly and you have more fun than troubles (although a little bit of hardship makes everything else seem so much better ;P).

    Anyways, I'm rooting for you and I hope you enjoy Japan. It's definitely much harder to settle down there without prior connections, but I think it's probably more likely that you think. If all else fails, there are plenty of communal jobs open from bigger companies that require someone fluent in English and Japanese (my friend works with marketing between America and Japan for licensing of games and such).

  86. A

    I was meaning to write something earlier, but it seems I was a bit late and what I wanted to say had mostly been said by others. Still, I do wish you all the best and hope things work out well with you.

    I will say this, this development puts that conversation we had on your birthday in an entirely different light 😛

    Did you check if there are going to be any legal issues with this blog though? I would imagine there might be some trouble posting images of episodes …

    I'm glad to hear that your family and friends are supporting you with this, and for whats it's worth I don't think this is an insane decision to make. Rather, it is a very brave one to make.

    As someone who used to travel and lived in a lot of different countries (father's job, family etc.) and even though I never went to Japan, I want to impart some ''wisdom'' that I'm sure you already know but want to share regardless:

    -Don't trust people easily. This is something I'm sure you already are aware of as an adult and as someone who must be more than familiar with the darker side of the Land of the Rising Sun, but even then, don't be fooled by the niceness. Humans are humans, no matter how different the culture.

    -Familiarize yourself with the city and learn of the problem areas first so you could avoid them. Nothing ever good comes from being close to these shady places.

    -Try and not to say outside well into the night. Yes, you are an adult and everything, but even then, moving and living into a new country and into a city such as Tokyo means that you are more in danger while you are a newcomer. It's best to stay at your home during the late hours for the first few months.

    -Always know the number of the all taxi companies in the city. Yes, taxis are expansive and a hassle most of the time, but when you get lost, it's just better to call someone pick you up rather than freeze/burn your arse trying to find the way back home. (Personal experience)

    Things you undoubtedly already know, but always best to mention them. In any case, best of luck and congrats Enzo 🙂

  87. Thanks, A. I must say, those are all sensible precautions – although Japan in general (even Tokyo) is so absurdly safe that they don't apply with the same urgency there in most cases. Apart from some shady bars in Roppongi that prey on gaijin, it's a pretty safe place to be.

    I didn't think about the image thing. I'll look into it.

  88. G

    Good luck and best wishes Enzo. Much envy and admiration.


  89. T

    I know that I would personally rather try and regret, rather than regret never trying at all (sounds like a cliche anime line, lol). Well, no matter how all this turns out, at least you know you'll have some fun along the way. This entire situation just makes me think of Mutta from Uchuu Kyoudai. :3

    Anyways, I should be in Tokyo mid-December to mid-January; if time allows, we should definitely meet up sometime, maybe for some anime-watching, maybe a drink, I don't know. Whatever works I guess 🙂

    Also, I have an idea that perhaps you'd be interested in. You might be getting an email from me in the next few days or so.

  90. I

    Nice banner btw, just noticed. Damn funny.

    Change LiA to LiT, perhaps?

  91. d

    I just got back from Tokyo after living there for seven years. I recommend picking up James Heisig "Remembering the Kanji" if you are serious about learning Japanese. Genki English is a good starter book too. I learned Japanese by remembering 2000 kanji in 6 months, learning the grammar from Genki English and JLPT studying books and picking up all of the Suzumiya Haruhi light novels.

    As far as reading and listening goes, I try to watch each anime and read each chapter three times. For anime, once without subtitles, once with and one more time without. For reading, one time without a dictionary, the second time taking care to understand each word and every sentence and once more without a dictionary. Using this method, you can become "fluent" according to Japanese government standards in 2-3 years.


  92. I have the Heisig book – it's something of a bible for students of Japanese. And just as controversial, as some people seem to hate it every bit as much as others love it.

  93. A

    I feel a little late posting this, but want to do so anyways–great news, and I commend you for being willing to take risks! Since I take it that you're single, this is the time to do something like this in your life. You have the right attitude to do something like this, and I expect you'll get as much out of it as you want.

  94. B

    Half of me thinks you're insane for wanting to do this and the other half is pretty jelly, not gonna lie. Although if I was going to Japan I'd want to go to a rural area, I think cities are pretty much cities everywhere you go and I'm not a fan of city living.

    Actually though about doing this myself, oh, maybe 8-10 years ago, but then I found out you had to have a college degree and I never finished college. Oh well.

  95. It can be done via a student visa, if you really want to do it.

    Have you been to Japan? I'm not sure I believe the "cities are cities" thing, but I definitely don't think cities in Japan and analogous to cities in the US or Europe. Some things are common, of course, but the breadth of the cultural gap between Japan and the West can only be appreciated by being in Japan.

  96. B

    Yeah I get that there are cultural difference but cities all have a similar "vibe". Lots of buildings, not a lot of nature, too many people. I've lived in the suburbs most of my life (and the suburbs of Southern California to boot) so I'm used to things being sprawled out over a wider area and having close access to nature (what little we have here being that it's practically a desert). Having so many people crammed into such a small space with so many tall buildings around on top of it makes me feel claustrophobic. Cultural differences aside every city I've been to is similar in that respect and it's not something I could get used to easily even if I was inclined to. Besides, the Japanese countryside is beautiful, it'd be a waste to go there and not live near it ;). I'm sure the cities there are great in their own way but for me cities are something I can visit for a week and get my fill of, not places I'd want to live.

  97. B

    That said though you are right when you posted above that the cities are where the jobs are, if you are moving to a foreign country you almost HAVE to go to a city because you are very unlikely to get hired anywhere else.

  98. M

    Wow!! You know that's kind of my plan too 😡 for the future though, BUT I want to wish you all the best! I know you'll be busy, but stick around on the internet, we'd love to hear from you.
    And I'm sure everyone will love you with that jikoshoukai xD good luck enzo! take care 😀

  99. I

    I just read this.. as I was drowned in work [it's payroll week… so yeah :(…] and I'm very happy for you, Enzo. Congratulations and best of luck living in Tokyo.

    Y'know, it amazes me how I used to read your "About Me" where you said "An avid fan of anime and manga. I live in Northern California, but wish I lived in Japan." Wish came true!

  100. Hey – I wasn't kidding!

  101. J

    I'm a (somewhat) new reader to your blog and I must say that I usually come here to read your reviews of animes that I myself am interested in. (I loved the season where you gushed about Chihayafuru because that was my fave too!)

    Anyway, that said, I'm really excited for you in your plan to move to Japan to be an English teacher. If my circumstances had been a little different I might have ended up there myself. I was an English teacher back when I was in my home country (Malaysia) before I moved to the US. I am always compelled to tip my hat off to another (future) English teacher.

    There will be days in which you'd want to tear your hair out from the frustrations of being a teacher but there will be many days in which you feel like the most blessed person to have the opportunity to touch and change lives of young people through what you're teaching. Being a teacher is a great blessing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed it when I was a teacher. 🙂 Your students will captivate, fascinate and even frustrate you and in turn you-them. I sure hope that you'll blog about that part of your experience in Japan apart from anime. 🙂

    GOOD LUCK!!! Ganbatte kudasai!

    PS: Coming from another "idiot abroad", the culture thing can be a huge thing to overcome. I (as an Asian in a Western country) is taking it one step and one mistake at a time. XD

  102. Thanks Jules – I love teaching, and I look forward to a grand adventure.

  103. a

    I'll join in (a bit late) on the Ganbatte kudasai!

    I'm a permanent expat myself and have been doing that 'abroad thing' since I was two years old.

    Of course it'll be challenging and it's not for everyone, but it sounds like you really want to do this, so it's the right choice. You'll have your highs and lows, but as long as you know that that is perfectly normal and that we all experience this (and I'm saying this after 9 countries on 3 continents), you'll get through it.

    I can't give you any specific advice on living in Japan (though it's one of the countries high on my list to move next, once I finish my current stint in London), if you, for whatever reason, end up staying in teaching, you might, long term, want to consider getting a teaching degree & getting into the international school system. The good ones will offer better pay and more benefits than TEFL jobs.

  104. A

    Enzo, I'm pretty sure your going to have a great time there. At the same time, it might be hard and difficult to adopt the new environment nevertheless I believe that your a type of guy who can overcome this.

    This reminds me, I've lived in Fujimidai Tokyo for about a year back in 2010 and for the first six months I had an depression as I couldn't adopt the new lifestyle. However, at the same time, I enjoyed the new lifestyle such as eating ramen while standing side-by-side next to strangers. It was exciting and hell to me at that time but when I think back now, I think it was a very valuable experience for me.

    Either way, I hope everything works out well for you and as always, enjoy your life to the fullest.

  105. C

    Congratulations! Hope everything goes smoothly for you in Tokyo!
    Actually, I studied abroad in Tokyo 1 or 2 years ago, and I loved it there. Since I did homestay, I'm not sure about rent prices, but if it's restaurants or food, I have a few favorites! Let me know if you're looking for some good places to eat!!
    Now I am living and working in Ishigaki, Okinawa (my plan is to stay here for 2 years), so if you ever travel down here (one of the southern most islands of Japan), maybe I can be your guide. =P

  106. Thanks – I have my faves from my visits to Tokyo, but living there will obviously take me to different neighborhoods than I usually hang when I'm visiting. As for Okinawa, I'd like to make it down there – money will be tightish so longer trips will be few and far between, but we'll see!

  107. r

    Wahhh! Good luck and Congrats for making a very big decision in your life!

    I envy you! T_T
    Japan is actually my dream country <3

    I'll target on working there as well next year… and hopefully I'll be lucky enough… I'm a nurse btw 😛

    Anyways, have a fun journey! <3

  108. S

    Nice! I spent two years as a teacher on Shikoku and it was a blast. You will enjoy! Hope you can continue the occasional blog post over at RC and also post some sweet pics to make the rest of us jealous! Make sure you get your broadband set right away because hey…Chihayafuru 2 right?!

  109. I'm blogging Little Busters next season at RC (and here of course) and will continue with Chihayafuru.

    Another thank you to everyone who's expressed their good wishes since the last one! I'm overwhelmed by all the positive energy, and it means a lot to me.

  110. A

    Totally amazing move, Enzo. I sincerely wish you all the best as you take on this new adventure. It's my hope that some day you'll look back on this decision with a very nostalgic smile, in gratitude to your younger self, having become (as that theme song says) someone your younger self would be proud of, now. Wishing you both courage and serenity ~ Riley

  111. G

    Phew, you are not retiring, that's really the most important piece of news to me. But Enzo, you are friggin moving to Tokyo o.m.g. That's awesome!!! Get ready for the cultural shock, have fun and live the time of your life. It's a wild but courageous decision, best of luck to ya~! You know you got your readers for emotional support if you ever hit rough bumps. =)

  112. B

    I'm guessing a lot has changed in the last three years. Maybe it's time for a retrospective post. Not to put more on your plate or anything. Haha

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