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  • tell us the bad stuff about japan if there's  anything bad everything on this channel  

  • always seems so overly positive about the  country overly positive that's not true this  

  • all right there might be some element of truth  in that in many ways over the last nine years  

  • this channel has become one great big sales  pitch for living in japan uh you know look  

  • at the stunning scenery taste the mouth-watering  food look it's mount fuji and bullet trains and a  

  • guy in a bathtub the truth is the channel has  been so positive about japan because i've had  

  • an overwhelmingly good experience living here  and the videos kind of reflect that as a result  

  • i have been biased and i've never really talked  about the not so good stuff that comes with  

  • we're living here and honestly this country  certainly isn't perfect i mean nowhere is right  

  • except maybe norway and narnia so i've thought  long and hard about it and i've come up with 12  

  • reasons not to move to japan some reasons  are obvious others might come as a bit of  

  • a surprise now i'm aware this might feel like  i'm betraying some viewers who've seen japan  

  • through these videos over the years and dreamed of  living here someday like i'm crushing some dreams  

  • but honestly despite some of the bad things in  this video my aim isn't to dissuade you from  

  • moving here far from it i want to prepare you  for any situations and cultural hurdles you may  

  • face or encounter in everyday life and no it's  not going to be one of those clickbait videos  

  • like reasons not to live in japan number one the  food is so delicious you'll die from overeating  

  • no get out so let's dive in  and hopefully by the end of  

  • this video and the 12 reasons your dreams  of living in japan will firmly be intact

  • there you go good as new

  • do you like watching films in the evening without  

  • headphones or having a space  in your kitchen to cook food  

  • maybe you just enjoy sitting in your chair  without hearing your neighbors through the wall

  • get ready to say goodbye to all those things  and more as you move into your tiny apartment  

  • with walls made of paper that's actual noise from  the wall yes it's the obvious one accommodation  

  • is often small expensive and poorly soundproof  just yesterday i heard my neighbours through  

  • one of the walls have an argument for about an  hour and it was so clear that i could pretty  

  • much hear every word they were saying like  it sounded like she was angry at him because  

  • he wasn't subscribed to abroad in japan no  that was a cheap shot even by my standards  

  • sorry now i'm never really minded about living  in a small apartment as i have done the entire  

  • time i've been living here it's kind of fun  fitting your life into a small space it gives  

  • you a sort of minimalistic mindset where you  have to be very careful about the things you  

  • buy and what you fill your apartment with and  in my case i choose to fill the apartment with  

  • cheap hats from 100 yen store covered in weird  english in this case jumping pounding the rock  

  • it's my new favorite addition to my prestigious  hat collection brilliant spending a thousand  

  • dollars a month on a tiny studio apartment it's  just the reality of living in a city like tokyo  

  • and in your 20s or even in your 30s it probably  won't be too much of an issue the problem though  

  • for me has always been the lack of privacy uh  when i first moved to sendai i lived in what  

  • looked like a nice modern studio apartment it was  well lit the bathroom was nice and the bed smelled  

  • like daffodils but then i moved in and started  sleeping in the bed and i discovered i could  

  • hear my neighbor snoring through the cardboard  wall so clearly at night i used to genuinely  

  • wake up at night and think someone was in the  room it all felt a little bit like silent hill  

  • another time i ended up with a neighbour who  happened to be the worst neighbour in the history  

  • of japan with a daily experience that pushed me  to the brink of my sanity every morning at 7 00 am  

  • i'd be in bed fast asleep and my neighbor this guy  would leave for work and there'd be a bang in the  

  • door and you'd hear his footsteps trail off and  then just as he drifted off and fell back to sleep  

  • you'd hear the ominous sound of the footsteps  returning the door would unlock and then and this  

  • is completely true and i can't believe it happened  he would open and close the door 25 [ __ ] times  

  • every single morning i would count it one two  three [ __ ] in my desperation i bought these  

  • super mega noise cancelling wonder headphones  you could be in front of a [ __ ] fireworks  

  • factory going up in flames split these bad boys  on and hear nothing perfect just peace and quiet  

  • well not quite because every time he shut the  door the whole bloody building moved you could  

  • feel the paper wall moving you could feel the bed  rattle honestly by the end i felt like slamming  

  • his head in the door 25 times every morning but  realizing it was probably some deeply ingrained  

  • psychological trauma instead i ran away for six  weeks and rode a bike across japan and journey  

  • across japan was born so if you've ever enjoyed  watching journey across japan it's all thanks  

  • to my noisy neighbor genuinely but i miss the  days of watching a film at 11 p.m and not having  

  • to worry about my neighbors i miss the days of  having friends come over and not having to worry  

  • that someone's laughing or talking too loudly and  that's before you've even got your apartment which  

  • is a process so incredibly unpleasant it'll make  you want to jump up and down pounding on the rock  

  • so the hundreds of foreigners i've met living in  japan over the years i've never met a single one  

  • who's looked me dead in the eye and said yeahlove looking for apartments in japan like it's not  

  • fun and that's down to a simple factor and that  is as a foreigner living in japan many apartments  

  • don't allow you to live there to rent it out  now i should preface this by saying if you come  

  • here with a job a lot of the time your company  will sort you out an apartment and certainly  

  • in my first three years i was very lucky that my  apartment was all ready to go however after that  

  • i moved to sendai and i was looking for apartments  i found one that i really liked and i put in a bid  

  • and they turned me down because i was a foreign  resident because i wasn't japanese and that's  

  • something that happened a few times and it's not  a nice feeling to be discriminated against just  

  • because you're not japanese the only way i could  get over feeling irritated and kind of angry about  

  • it was to try and be sympathetic and try and  look at it from the perspective of the landlord  

  • a good friend of mine who's a foreign resident  rented out one of his apartments a few years ago  

  • and the property management company actually  warned him not to allow foreigners to stay  

  • there there's a little box you can tick that  says no foreigners in your apartment and they  

  • presented him with some numbers and statistics  to sort of suggest that foreign residents are a  

  • flight risk that they would skip the country on  their last month and not pay the rent which does  

  • unfortunately happen causing a lot of stress and  problems for the landlord not only that but the  

  • odds of having a foreign resident are very low  in your apartment by virtue of the fact that 98  

  • of japan's population are ethnically japanese  whatever way you look at it it doesn't stop  

  • the whole process from being unpleasant likecan't put a positive spin on it it's just not fun  

  • except for the fact that when you do get  your apartment finally you do feel like  

  • you've completed the world's hardest video  game albeit a costly video game that you  

  • didn't enjoy playing and one that was riddled with  relentless discrimination certainly no pac-man no  

  • discrimination there although there is a guy there  being weirdly attacked by lots of yeah anyway

  • a few years ago there was a news story ofjapanese train that had done something truly  

  • unthinkable a railway company issued a public  apology after a train scheduled to leave at 9  

  • 44 am left the station at 9 4 am oh my god i can't  believe wait what yes that's right a train had  

  • left the station 20 seconds early it was supposed  to leave at 9 minutes 44 and 40 seconds but it  

  • left at 9 minutes 44 and 20 seconds oh my god  while western media had gobsmacked at the concept  

  • of a train apologizing for leaving more or less  on time it also makes sense in japan the country  

  • where things are formidably punctual things are on  time and things always run and work like clockwork  

  • as a consumer japan is pretty much perfect i mean  we've already seen that but of course all of this  

  • comes at a price there's a reason everything works  so well in japan and it comes at human cost it's  

  • built on the back of a workforce who sacrificed so  much for the greater good of society working for a  

  • japanese company can be brutal particularly medium  to large organization the hours are long the lack  

  • of control over your own life is minimal taking  holiday leave for a japanese worker is almost  

  • as difficult as getting an apartment as a foreign  resident like studies have shown that only half of  

  • workers in japan take their paid vacation they  get 20 days of annual leave and they only take  

  • 10 of them which seems unthinkable coming from  the uk where everyone is very much keen to go on  

  • their holiday and the reason for that is leaving  your workplace and going on holiday in japan  

  • it looks bad you will get ostracized for it by  your colleagues by your superiors maybe not to  

  • your face but certainly behind closed doors  you won't be seen as a team player if you're  

  • somebody who's not in the office much it's a very  strange thing like you don't actually have to be  

  • doing anything productive at the workplace in  japan you just have to be present being seen  

  • at work or present in the office is viewed upon  more favorably than being productive or doing  

  • anything actually good even i got a taste of this  as an english teacher i could go home at 4 30 p.m  

  • every day but if i stayed until 6 p.m and just sat  at my desk working on something or studying some  

  • japanese or just playing with my pencil colleagues  would sort of come over and just commend me for my  

  • excellent hard work now you might be thinking well  if i do overtime at least i get paid for it but  

  • typically in japan you don't get paid for overtime  work uh so not only are you being unproductive not  

  • only are you spending lots of time unnecessarily  at work but you're not getting paid for it either  

  • sadly studies have shown that job satisfaction is  far lower in japan than it is in the uk and the us  

  • and while i have seen more foreign workers have  their dreams crushed of living and working in  

  • japan by this point perhaps more than any other on  this list you know this is a proper dream crushing  

  • point the good news is i do know a lot of foreign  people living and working in japan in jobs they  

  • enjoy typically for smaller more entrepreneurial  forward-thinking companies or foreign companies  

  • that have a base in japan so there is still hope  but the country does have an overwork problem  

  • and hopefully at some point they'll they'll  realize that and start confronting it  

  • one of the hardest things about moving here in  my first year and something that i really wasn't  

  • prepared for was losing my independence you know  won a new car or a phone contract want to set up  

  • a bank account hell maybe after a long day at work  you just want to use your microwave well good luck  

  • with that because when you first move here you're  going to need someone to do it all for you you're  

  • going to need a lot of help you might be thinking  well don't move to japan then if you don't know  

  • any japanese and you'd have the same problems in  any country it doesn't speak your native language  

  • but honestly as time progressed it  often became less of a language issue  

  • and more of a cultural issue the paperwork is  endless and daunting you use outdated technology  

  • every day fax machines personal seals aka stamps  not actual seals that'll be far more exciting and  

  • of course to fill out all the paperwork you need  advanced knowledge of japanese kanji characters  

  • you are gonna need someone to help you there's  no doubt about that you are gonna need to rely on  

  • other people a lot more than you would back home  and feel like a burden to others and if you're  

  • someone like me who's fiercely independent then  it's really not that fun so imagine you're having  

  • a bad day you've just been rejected from getting  another apartment and someone's told you that  

  • your youtube channel should be called a boring  in japan i'm not boring i'm not boring at all  

  • and you go to an intersection you get across  the street with a few dozen cars waiting and  

  • while you stand there waiting for the lights  to change you suddenly notice that everyone  

  • is staring at you like you're an anomaly like  you shouldn't be there you start to become  

  • quite anxious and self-aware people are watching  your every move you feel like something terrible  

  • is about to happen and then it doesn't and  you carry on walking to mcdonald's now this  

  • sounds a bit like a horror movie or sounds a bit  like the matrix to be fair but the good news is  

  • it's mostly in your head unless the matrix  is real but as i said earlier 98 of japan's  

  • population are ethnically japanese and it is  one of the most homogenous societies on earth  

  • and inevitably you will stand out if you don't  look japanese now you'll notice people don't sit  

  • next to you on the train or the bus even if it's  crowded which makes you really feel like you're  

  • standing out feels like you're different from  everyone you'll notice people at the supermarket  

  • stare at you and children scream and recoil in  terror at your face you know especially if like me  

  • you've lived somewhere that isn't tokyo you live  out in the rural areas where seeing a non-japanese  

  • person is incredibly rare i mean hell if i see  a white person i'm shocked and disturbed as well  

  • but i noticed in my first and second year here it  did get to me a fair bit i did get quite anxious  

  • about it and i got self-conscious in a way that  i didn't really want to care to admit it may be  

  • stressed it may be uncomfortable but in the endrealized that most of the problem just it was up  

  • here in my own head for sure people stared at me  but nothing bad ever really came from it nothing  

  • bad actually ever happened but if you're someone  with anxiety issues and you end up particularly  

  • in the japanese countryside i do think it could be  an issue and all i can say is the best way to get  

  • around it is by rationalizing the situation and  realizing that even you get surprised if you see  

  • someone who's not japanese out there you know  you will stand out but it's not necessarily a  

  • bad thing however this is a topic we'll kind  of cover again later on in the video because  

  • in the long term it can become a bigger issue  after many years of kind of feeling like that  

  • now the tokyo olympics has had a bumpy ride  this last year and just as things couldn't  

  • get worse the head of japan's tokyo olympic  committee yoshido morty was forced to resign  

  • after making some rather bold remarks responding  to the idea that more women should be featured in  

  • board meetings he came out with the remark if  we increase the number of female board members  

  • we have to make sure their speaking time is  restricted as women have difficulty finishing  

  • which is annoying oh god now there was just  one problem with this comment it's not 1936  

  • anymore and the backlash was swift with unicor  koike tokyo's first female mayor refusing to go  

  • to meetings with him in protest 150 000 signatures  asking for his removal and the world's media  

  • rounding on him before he bowed out and everyone  lived happily ever after until a month later  

  • when it happened again this time the creative  director of the tokyo olympic opening ceremony  

  • hiroshi sasaki had jokingly suggested that one  of japan's top comedians naomi watanabe should  

  • be dressed up in the opening ceremony as a pig oh  to quote hiroshi sazaki nami watanabe could appear  

  • as an olympic olympic what the [ __ ] is that  unsurprisingly he got the chop too and no we're  

  • not talking pork chops unfortunately though these  sort of stories are quite a regular occurrence in  

  • the media japan is ranked 120th currently when it  comes to gender equality and if you look at photos  

  • of japanese politicians or ceos and leaders it's  almost like a where's wally or a where's waldo  

  • for american viewers to try and find someone that  isn't a 200 year old man in the workplace here as  

  • a woman you're much more likely to get paid less  you're going to be looked over for promotions and  

  • kind of feel a bit like a subordinate for example  at work parties women are kind of expected to pour  

  • drinks and almost take on a bit of a hostess role  kind of enkai's work parties at the same time i do  

  • know quite a few successful business women both  foreign and japanese i've done a really great  

  • job in japan and tokyo's current mayor koike is of  course female right now it's looking more likely  

  • that japan will one day have an empress while it's  technically forbidden for women to be emperors  

  • there is a debate raging with 80 of the japanese  population open to the idea as having a female  

  • empress so change is a foot but if you come to  japan as a woman it could be a bit more difficult  

  • and it will throw up a few more obstacles along  the way certainly more than it would back home  

  • i think there's always been this perception if  you come to japan as a foreigner you instantly  

  • get some kind of foreigner rock star status but  the sad reality is you're dave smith in london  

  • and you'll still be the same unremarkable dave  smith when you're in tokyo first off most japanese  

  • people aren't actually interested in datingforeigner most people here already under enough  

  • stress in their 20s or 30s when it comes to their  work life and their families the idea of marrying  

  • someone who'll whisk their son or daughter away  to a foreign land doesn't always go down well  

  • with japanese parents either they're expecting  their children to look after them in later years  

  • now i've only ever dated two japanese people and  neither really worked out it got serious very  

  • quickly and i remember scary words like marriage  came up a lot sooner a lot faster than they would  

  • in the uk just because there is that pressure here  to try and get married before you turn 28 years  

  • old romance as a whole is pretty different  to the west where we have a strong emphasis  

  • on public displays of affection on kissing  on hugging on holding hands japan is very  

  • much the opposite to that where all of those  things are kind of seen as awkward the idea of  

  • marriage is also very different the emphasis is  on creating a strong stable family environment  

  • with a good outward appearance to family and  friends it's more about ticking off boxes than  

  • is about having a connection with personalities  and whatnot when i look at a lot of japanese  

  • friends relationships and marriages it often  comes across as more like a business partnership  

  • than one based on love and affection which  isn't necessarily a bad thing however on top  

  • of that infidelity is a lot higher than you might  think there are inconclusive studies that kind of  

  • talk about this but one factor is cheating is  viewed rather differently for example there's  

  • a whole industry here that caters for late night  activities we're talking hostess bars love hotels  

  • so planned and many people wouldn't view going to  those places as cheating here but they certainly  

  • would back home and no a soap land isn't a  place that sells luxury exquisite japanese soap  

  • go look it up on google i don't want to  get this video demonetised but i've spent  

  • many a long night drinking with friends  who were dating a japanese person here  

  • who are baffled about the cultural differences  in between and stressed from the pressures  

  • of having to marry quickly and have kids a lot  quicker than they'd want at the same time though