We moved to Tokyo!

September 6, 2015

by — Posted in Travel & Lifestyle


Ok so this is sort of old news, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to blog in months. I thought I better start with the most significant bit of news! A lot of people have contacted me, interested in moving to Japan. I’ll be writing a series of posts explaining visas, jobs, accommodation and other useful things – so subscribe if you’re interested!

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Rainbow bridge from across the bay in Odaiba.

So much has happened since my last post. After 6 months in NZ we were getting quite bored, frustrated at lack of job opportunities and annoyed at our lack of independence. We couldn’t afford to rent our own place in Auckland without spending a lot of valuable money. Besides all of that, we had a really great time back in NZ! We spent a lot of time at the beach and hanging out with our families which was really nice.

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Cheltenham Beach, Auckland. Where we spent most of our weekends


We’d both been dreaming of living in Japan for years, and after our holiday we were even more excited to get there. We spent our 7 months in NZ going over the pros and cons, trying to figure out if we had enough money to get there, and what jobs to get. We briefly thought about JET but the application process is just too long and we didn’t really want to be somewhere rural.


In March we made a sort-of spontaneous decision to just move to Tokyo and see what happens!


The process

We emailed a few people we knew living in Tokyo to figure out if jobs were easy to get. It looked like English teaching was a lot easier to find than we thought. I was pretty adamant about not teaching, but so many people were quite discouraging about finding design work (especially without speaking Japanese). I wasn’t that hopeful but then luckily I discovered Craigslist jobs and saw that there was plenty of part-time design work at least.


We applied for our 1 year Working Holiday Visa, booked a tiny furnished monthly apartment through Sakura House and started selling all our things again. I’d amassed quite a lot of expensive clothes while working at Superette the last 6 months, so selling those was really useful.

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Cape Kidnappers on a beautiful Hawkes Bay day


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beautiful Ocean Beach
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My beautiful, caring Amber. She’s quite old now (and blind) but she still looks like a kitten.



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All three cats at my dad’s house in Hawkes Bay


We said goodbye to our friends, families and cats, and headed to Tokyo in late April. When we landed we gave each other a look as if to say “we know no one, can’t speak the language, have no jobs organised and very little money – what are we doing?!’ But of course we stayed positive as excitement took over.

All our luggage
All our luggage


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The new running track design at Narita Airport


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Just a tiny, tiny part of Shinjuku station


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Shinjuku alleyway

We packed about 65kg of luggage each, and ended up dragging it up and down many flights of stairs, through millions of people in Shinjuku station and then on our journey to our new home. The whole trip took us 7 hours on a super hot 35 degree spring day. One of my bags broke and I got so nauseous I was almost in tears the whole day! Hopefully I’ll never be doing that again.


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Local ramen chain

We arrived at our tiny 14sqm studio apartment and just felt so relieved. That evening we explored our new neighbourhood (Asagaya),  and ate some ramen for dinner. We walked around enchanted by all the lights, sounds and smells of our new home.

Keep an eye out for the next few posts where I’ll be writing about getting the right visa and becoming a job-hunting pro.

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