May 24, 2016

Top Five Reasons to NOT Live in Tokyo

Originally Published by helloalissa Here

All Photos by helloalissa



Want to live in Tokyo?

A lot of people LOVE Tokyo! Great nightlife, tons of people and things to do, your friends and family back home have actually heard of it…

There is really nothing wrong with living in Tokyo. I want to be up front about why I have always personally been against it, but you need to decide for yourself.

Here are my Top Five Reasons to NOT Live in Tokyo


Number Five

Earthquakes are common in Japan, specifically on the eastern side of Honshu Island, where Tokyo is. If you don’t mind the occasional earthquake (like once a week) this isn’t a big deal. I didn't think I was scared of earthquakes until I moved to Japan, but there have only been probably 3-5 scary-to-me earthquakes in the one and a half years I've lived in Japan. (I moved to Kyushu expecting NO earthquakes, but obviously that wasn't what happened.) 


Number Four

Tokyo is the biggest urban area in Japan and the most expensive place to live in the smallest spaces. Current prices in New York and San Francisco are probably close, but your salary usually won’t be higher because you accepted a job in a more expensive place.

Number Three

Noisy. I don’t mind crowded noisy cities that much, but trying to sleep when there’s a train station next door and a club downstairs isn’t something I want to try. No thanks. There are definitely more quiet areas in Tokyo proper. I find those are the parts of Tokyo I enjoy the most, and everything else is still close by.


My number two reason for not living in Tokyo

Random strangers talking to you in English, (looking for a free English lesson or just being rude). I don’t really get this happening to me like Grace does, but then again I don’t live in Tokyo. I rarely even get random strangers talking to me in Japanese.


Number One reason to Not live in Tokyo

How are you going to learn Japanese in the city with the most foreigners?

Learning the language will help you to understand the culture and feel so much more comfortable living in Japan. I know people who have lived in remote areas of Japan for one year and become very conversational. If you are required to use Japanese every day because no one speaks English (including your students who may have no motivation to learn if they will live in a small town forever), you will learn so much faster. I also know people who have worked in Tokyo for over ten years and still can’t speak Japanese. I think that’s so disappointing. There are so many foreigners in Tokyo that you will easily be able to find someone to hang out with and speak in English. This is my number one reason to NOT live in Tokyo.

My goal for living in Japan was improving in Japanese. I told my company to put me in a small but convenient city. Most people want to work in Tokyo, so that was not a problem for them. My first year living in Japan, I was less than one hour away from Tokyo by rapid train, but still working in an area full of rice fields. I wrote an e-zine based on sent emails and photos about that experience of working as an ALT if you want to learn more.

Tokyo is a great city to visit, there are a lot of job opportunities there, and of course you can live where you choose to. If you live in Tokyo, you can have a great social life and never run out of things to do. (PS: Tokyo Disneyland is not in Tokyo.) There is so much more awesome in Japan, so I encourage you to explore (and deal with everyone back home having no idea where you live).


4 Comments

  • Yuju

    on May 24

    Reallity of living in Japan. I agree with you many of my foreigner friends said same things. Love this post.

  • KevinC

    on May 24

    Noise is a big problem for me, I can hear people talking/singing from the apartment next to mine. The apartment's wall in Japan is paper thin, maybe without any insulation.

  • helloalissa

    on May 25

    @Yuju Thank you! I want people to experience the real culture of Japan. Tokyo is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • helloalissa

    on May 25

    @KevinC This is anywhere in Japan, but usually people try to be quiet when they live in apartments (unlike in the states). Sometimes you get a noisy neighbor unfortunately. There is no insulation unless you get a nice condo, which is also unfortunate for staying warm/cool at home. I never understood why they don't bother to insulate in Japan when it's normal in much more temperate climates in other countries.