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Teaching in Japan
A question we often receive is "Which is better for ESL teaching in Japan, a big city or a rural town?"
For most people who imagine living and working in Japan, they usually think of the major metropolitan centres of Tokyo or Osaka as primary destinations. If you mention names such as Fukuoka, Gifu or Aomori to someone who has never been to Japan, you will likely be met with looks of confusion.
The truth is, both big cities and small towns in Japan have their points of appeal. It comes down to a matter of preference in the end, but here are some positives and negatives of both.
Urban Japan - Positives:
Convenience - 24 hour access to restaurants and shops, often including better access to western goods.
Transportation - Many people who live in large Japanese cities do not even own a car because of access to excellent public transit.
Community - If you plan on continuing a hobby or sport, or want to meet up with other people from your home country more easily, then cities have more choices.
Urban Japan - Negatives:
Difficult to learn Japanese - With so many other foreigners and western chain restaurants around, some people find it more challenging to get exposure to Japanese language when living in a bigger city.
Rural Japan - Positives:
VIP Treatment - Believe it or not, foreigners are still a rarity in rural areas of Japan. As a result, locals will often roll out the red carpet for 'visiting' foreigners. This is especially true for teachers, since this is a highly regarded profession in Japan.
Exposure to language & culture - If your goal is to learn Japanese language and culture, you will literally be immersed when living in a smaller town or village. This often accelerates the learning process when compared to city dwellers.
Rural Japan - Negatives:
Isolation - Although internet and other technology have certainly reduced feelings of isolation, it is nonetheless a real issue when living in a small town. Taking up a hobby or joining a local club can be a great way to beat the blues.
Limited access to western goods - If you have a special diet, or just a strong preference for certain kinds of food, it can be difficult to locate certain goods when you're living in the country side. Luckily, Costco has several locations across Japan, and you can get delivery services from FlyingPig.In the end, nothing in Japan is really too far away. With high speed trains connecting the entire country, everything is available within a few hours. It truly is the land of convenience!
Urban or rural - what's your choice?