Why I decided to move to Japan

Hi friends! As some of you might know, I was accepted onto the JET Programme a few weeks ago and I’m waiting to hear where my placement will be. This is a huge life step but to a lot of people who know me IRL, it wasn’t that surprising! Me and my boyfriend will be moving from the UK to Japan in August 2019 and I thought I’d explain why we’re moving, how we got to this stage and give you an insight into how we are preparing.

Last year, we were fortunate enough to visit Japan twice and I fell in love with the country. We explored Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka and Okinawa and have only begun to scrape the surface of this cultural bubble pot! I’ve written a few guides for travelling in Japan:

  • Is Akihabara the coolest place in the world? In this post, I give you an insight into the wacky world of Tokyo’s electric town and my recommendations for must-sees and dos!
  • A weekend in Kyoto. This post is aimed at lucky travellers with a couple of days to spend in Kyoto, one of Japan’s oldest cities and the home of many of its most treasured cultural traditions.
  • Making the most of your time in Tokyo. It can be pretty overwhelming when you land in Narita or Haneda airport so I’ve popped a few suggestions in this post for your time in Tokyo.

After our second visit to Japan in 2018, my boyfriend and I knew we wanted to try living out there. It’s always been a goal to move abroad (even before we met!) and it seemed a perfect time to do it! Why Japan? We loved the people, the culture, the architecture, the food – it’s such a vastly interesting, foreign place and a world away from what we know. Once we got back to the UK last autumn, we immediately started researching ways we could achieve this dream and we quickly discovered something called the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. I’ll be uploading a separate post on the JET Programme and the application process very soon, so watch this space!

Skip forward a few months and after a lot of nervous waiting, I finally got confirmation that I’d been successful – we were moving to Japan! I got confirmation in the first week of March which has given us about 4 months to prepare. There was still quite a bit of paperwork to do for my place on the JET Programme so that was top priority. Once that was in, we relaxed a bit more and are now waiting to hear about where we’ll be going. The JET Programme asks if you have any preferences as to where you’re placed but doesn’t make any guarantees, so it really could be anywhere. This both excites and terrifies me, but I know in any case we will make the best of it!

We’re preparing in all the ways you might imagine – cramming in seeing as many family and friends as possible each weekend to make the most of our short time left here, starting to think about what we’re going to try and pack (and what gets dumped in my mom’s garage!) and reading up the advice of previous JETs to newcomers. I’ve joined incoming JET group chats and I check JET-related Reddit threads every now and then for any other information or preparation advice. Other than that, all we can do is wait for (1) placement confirmation, (2) my pre-departure orientation in London and (3) departure!

Will Japan become ‘home’ for the rest of our lives? I’m not sure. It’s a super duper place but I guess you can’t judge a country to live in based on a couple of holidays there. I’d love to think we’ve found our place in this big world but in 12 months I might be of the opposite opinion! In any case, we’re super excited about this opportunity to explore and grow as people and although it’s going to be crazy hard saying goodbye to friends and family, we’re both really looking forward to starting our new adventure, what we can contribute to Japan and what we can learn from our time there.

I know my blog content will inevitably shift to be more focussed on traveling around Japan and my life there, but I’m going to try and keep writing about the other things I love like food, beauty, skincare, makeup, other travel destinations and more, and I’ve even started planning content ahead of time! I’d be more than happy to answer any questions on why we’re moving, why we chose Japan and any general travel tips for Japan. Otherwise, じゃあまたね!

9 thoughts on “Why I decided to move to Japan

  1. Kaylriene says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to reading more about the process. I’ll be going for a second visit to Tokyo in October myself, so hopefully I can pick up some cool local spots to visit from your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma Harding says:

      Thanks so much Kaylriene! We’re feeling very fortunate to the opportunity to move out there. I’ll be posting some guidance on the application process for JET and also updates about working the programme once I’m out there. In addition I’ll be covering life in Japan, where to go and (of course) my usual non-Japanese content!

      October is an awesome time to visit Tokyo – the weather really cools down and there are far less tourists! Have an awesome time and if I can help at all or you have any questions, do give me a shout :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Winnie Chan says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and it’s really fun! I will also be moving to Japan to teach in August, but at an international school. I’ll be in Sendai; do you know your placement yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma Harding says:

      Hey! I am so sorry for the late reply – everything got a bit hectic in August! Thank you so much. :) So I’m placed in a public high school in Tokyo. An international school sounds really interesting! I’d love to know more about the sorts of students you have, the work you do, etc.


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