I first came to Japan in 1987 as a student in my final year of high school. I visited my brother who was here on a working holiday visa. My brother is still living here today. I moved here for good in 2000. I am now a permanent resident and work with my brother and my Australian husband. We have a 9-year-old son who attends a local school.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
As a small business owner operating a homestay business, we have faced some ups and downs over the years. We need to roll with the market and global forces out of our control and adapt. So with the current situation of COVID-19, we are offering family staycations, self-isolation retreats or remote working in our houses, as well as deep discounts for locals.
I have built a few businesses from scratch that have allowed me to support my family, build a house and create a hospitality business we are proud of.
We are showing our son the benefits of hard work and the courage that is needed to overcome life's trials and how to adapt to change with resilience.
We love our life here and our young son is thriving in such a safe and modern society. We feel that we are embedded into our local community — not as foreign guests, but as members of society and local small business owners. We are always trying to contribute to the collective success of our neighborhood by supporting other local businesses, the owners of which have become our friends.
Tokyo isn't one big city but thousands of villages. Get involved in your communities, support your local mom-and-pop businesses by eating and shopping locally. You will make friends and feel welcome even if you don't have a common language.
Find your favourite hole-in-the-wall restaurant or watering hole in the back streets of your neighborhood. The safety aspect and welcoming nature of Japanese people will enrich your life.
There are clubs for every interest you can imagine so join in with like minded people who share your passions. It is a good chance to learn a new skill or hobby that has nothing to do with work. This is what makes life so rich here.
Make plans to travel inside Japan to find secret places and really create memories for yourself that will live with you long after you have moved on.