Moving to Japan Post-Pandemic: What to Do Now to Prepare for Your Move | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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Moving to Japan Post-Pandemic: What to Do Now to Prepare for Your Move

By Brie Schmidt Jun 18, 2021

How should you prepare for moving to Japan, especially when things aren’t going according to plan? This week, we answer this question! For more questions on moving to Japan, surviving daily life in Japan, and more, Guidable is here to help. Submit your own questions at the bottom of this post!

Question: What should I do before moving to Japan?

I was supposed to move to Japan months ago, but because of the pandemic, my company keeps delaying my arrival. I’m feeling restless! What should I do while I’m waiting to move to Japan, and at what point should I give up and just focus on life in my home country?


The wait to move to your dream country is tough, but the extra time you have now doesn’t have to go to waste!

moving to japan, time

Sometimes, impatience gets the best of us, and it may be tempting to give up on your plan of moving to Japan the longer you have to wait. But think back to when you first decided to move to Japan. What was your motivation then? What reasons drove you to make a plan and find a company to hire you and sponsor your visa? If those reasons haven’t changed, don’t give up!

When waiting for a big life change to occur, you might feel like you’re currently stuck in limbo, not making any progress. If you’re a recent university graduate or just starting your career, this can feel especially frustrating.

But what if you looked at the time you have now as being a valuable and necessary step of moving to Japan? After all, moving your life abroad doesn’t only start once your plane lands; it starts with the decisions and actions you take now to prepare for your move!

While waiting for the pandemic to slow down and for Japan to allow more new residents in, you have some valuable time on your hands. Not everyone has such time. I’ve known people who were put on a waiting list to become a teacher in Japan, unsure if they’d ever be allowed in, and then were suddenly asked to move within only a few short weeks. I’ve known others that came to Japan immediately after graduation, with little time available to prepare. Use the time you have now wisely. Here’s a checklist of five key things to focus on now, before moving to Japan:

moving to japan, learning about japan

1. Learn About Japanese Culture

Prepare yourself for culture shock by getting to know Japanese culture before you’re immersed in it. Guidable has articles on everything from work culture to dating norms to help you out! Also try diving into books on topics that interest you, such as Japanese anime or the history of geisha. For me, I read This Japanese Life by Eryk Salvaggio, which gave me an honest idea of what to expect before moving to Japan.

2. Study Japanese

This advice shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s so essential, it can’t be said enough. If you aren’t already fluent in Japanese, getting better at the language before moving will make your life in Japan much easier. Some move to Japan with the expectation that they will pick up Japanese easily from hearing it in their surroundings. However, for many people, this can be a difficult way to learn a language, and finding time to study might be a challenge after you start working in Japan.

3. Allow Yourself to Dream

Moving to Japan is a dream for many, and even if your move is delayed, it’s still a dream you’re working to reach. Even as you feel restless and impatient now, allow yourself to dream: plan where you want to visit in Japan, foods you want to try, and what you hope to do with the new friends you’ll make. Let yourself fantasize, and hold on to that excitement leading up to your move.

4. Keep Saving Money

While waiting to relocate, keep working to earn and save money now while you can. Moving across the world will likely cost you a lot of money, especially at first, when you’ll need to pay for housing, home appliances, clothes suitable for Japan’s climate, and a variety of other necessities. Whether by working a part-time job in your hometown or doing freelance work online, try to continue saving money in preparation for your move.

5. Enjoy the Moment

Appreciate this time you have available now, before your daily life changes drastically in Japan. Spend time with family, visit your favorite familiar places, and eat your favorite local foods (you’ll miss them once you’re in Japan!). Savor the extra time you have now.

Want more information on moving to Japan? Here are some tips for starting your life in Japan:

Starting a New Life in Japan: What to Remember