While the media both in Japan and overseas reported on a perceived exodus of foreigners in the immediate aftermath of the March 11, 2011, disasters in Tohoku, the reality is that very few actually left for good.

As was highlighted in our July 3 column ("The curious case of the eroding eikaiwa salary"), the number of foreign residents in Japan in 2011 dropped by only 2.6 percent compared to the previous year.

Mitch (not his real name) was one of the vast majority of foreign residents that stayed through the earthquake, tsunami and the bewildering weeks and months that followed the Fukushima nuclear accident.