My Goal: Japan

Princess Doug?

Hi all,

I’ve wanted to announce this sooner, but I was unable until now. I’ve been working at same Big Ol’ IT Company (BOITC) for almost 7 years now as a computer engineer. It’s demanding and busy, but it’s been a good job and I am happy to stay there for several years more.

But you see, for the last 5 years or so, I’ve been trying to find a way to live and work in Japan. Moving to a foreign country is difficult. Afterall, you need a visa of some kind, and you need a job that can support yourself (duh).

Many foreigners try to find teaching jobs in Japan, but a teaching job does not pay very much, and it’s hard to support a family on that salary. Also, the job can be unreliable, as your visa status isn’t always guaranteed. Because I am supporting my wife and daughter, I have to be more cautious.

So, my plan has been to try and transfer within my company to Japan. We have a lot of offices there in different parts of Japan, but it’s hard to transfer because the types of jobs don’t fit my skills. About once or twice a year, I try to apply to some position, but I always fail. In my first attempt, I was asked to do a self-introduction in Japanese (自己紹介). I didn’t know Japanese much, so I was really humiliated.1 This was a big motivation at the time to study for the JLPT and pass the N2. I didn’t want to be humiliated again.

In a more recent attempt, I thought I would succeed but I was still rejected because my programming skills are weak.

So, each year I try, and each year I fail. Sometimes I really want to give up, but I keep trying anyway.

Anyhow, recently I found a similar job to what I do now, but in a different department which has a big presence in Japan. I’ll still be working in Seattle, but after gaining some experience here, and working hard, I can try to transfer to Japan in a year or two. I already talked to the new manager about it, and we agreed to the plan. Plus, one other good thing about transferring is that my oncall shifts will be a lot shorter, so I will have more free time again even if I can’t transfer to Japan. 🙂

I couldn’t announce this until after I told my team though. I wanted to post about it sooner but some coworkers read this blog (hi!) so i had to wait. Since I am transferring, I’ve been very busy lately finishing projects here, so personal projects, language study and such, have all been neglected.

Now, this does not guarantee that I can live in Japan. Things might change. But, I really feel that I am much closer to my goal now. I have hope again.

Also, I am glad to have a plan to legitimately emigrate to Japan. I have heard some foreigners try clever things like getting tourist visas and such until they can get a job, but I think this is a bad idea. I just don’t respect people who abuse the system.

Anyhow, why am I so focused on living in Japan? It’s complicated, but there are many reasons. One reason is that I really like Japan of course. I like the quality of life, the food, the service, and transportation system, plus in the Tokyo area, there’s plenty of things to do and see. Plus, for a Buddhist like me, I think there’s many more resources available, and someday I want to become a priest. There’s just too few resources in Seattle, and I don’t feel comfortable in the culture there.

More importantly, I feel my wife and daughter would be happier, safer and have better education opportunities there. There is a trade-off of course, but we’ve been doing our research and talking with other foreigners who live in Japan, and we’re prepared.

So, here’s hoping I finally get the chance. I don’t expect any updates soon, but I’ll let people know.

P.S. I was trying to find an “inspiring” picture about Japan, but I couldn’t find one. So, here’s a picture of me at Hakone, taken in 2005. Enjoy!

1 I have done self-introductions since then in Japanese, and can do them better than before. Practice and study paid off.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

10 thoughts on “My Goal: Japan”

    1. Hi Cocomino,

      You can definitely find a job in the US. I know a lot of Japanese co-workers in my company, as well as co-workers from India, China and so on.

      Big companies need talent, and they can help with visas as such. 🙂


  1. I see. Thanks for sharing. I’m not sure that the country is the US. 🙂
    Maybe I can support your challenge of finding a job a little in Jaapan.
    (Certainly, teaching English isn’t good for you because there are many competitors all over the world. Now, online lessons via Philipine is increasing in Japan. )


  2. Congratulations! Maybe you’ll get some work-related trips to Japan and make some business contacts within your company (it always helps to have face to face time with co-workers). Then your new contacts can help get you where you want to be.


  3. Hi guys,

    Cocomino: The US is just one example. There are many companies/countries in the West that would welcome Japanese employees. Just saying. 😉 Thanks for the tip on teaching English.

    Yogahz: Yeah, that’s why I wanted to move to this particularly team, actually. 🙂


  4. Good luck! Your perseverance to move with your company should pay off. Once there, keeping your fingers in a couple communities with business contacts (eg: expat communities, university alumni groups, computer user groups, etc…) which will give you more opportunities if needed.


  5. Hi Dan, good to hear from you. Yeah, I hope you’re right. I don’t want to wait until too late to move. It’s hard on my daughter to move countries, so the sooner we can accomplish it, the better. Plus, I am in my 30’s and the older I get, the harder it will be to become proficient at Japanese. 🙂


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