Hi. I normally write in Japanese, but I thought it my be interesting if I write in English for a change.

Also, what you may read in this article might offend some people, especially Japanese people, but I have no intention to be disrespectful to anyone or anything. I just tried to spell out the reality, that isn't often spoken enough.
Here we go.



 I don't really like Japan. To be entirely honest, I think it's bad in many ways, more than someone that's never lived here could imagine.
 Many foreigners dream about coming to Japan these days, and in light of the Olympics being held and anime and manga becoming cool abroad, I think more people might start to think they want to live in this country.

You shouldn't. Japan is not a foreigner friendly country.


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Why foreigners should not live in Japan
 They always say, "Oh, the Japanese are so kind" and "It's so peaceful everywhere" and "Such nice people and cool culture, everything's so awesome in Japan" . But the reality is, Japanese people hate foreigners.
People don't say it, and people won't treat foreigners with disrespect or anything, but they would try and keep a distance from you.It's sort of like, they won't look at you as another equal individual or human being. You'll always be a foriegner, or "Gaijin" as we say it.


 Japan has always been an island country from as long as anyone can remember, and from the start of time, it has been a monocultural, monoethnic, monolinguistic group of people. So in this day an age of globalization and the internet, Japanese society still hasn't quite understood the idea of there being many different types of individuals.

 Any sort of character or individuality is a crime in Japan. You may not believe it, and I certainly don't want to believe it, but the reality is reality. You can't stand out. You can't be creative. Heck, that's what they teach you in school. Or maybe, Japan is what it is because of what they teach you in school. As a result, you have to be the same as everyone else.

 But if you're a foriegner, you CAN'T be the same. You can't have no character. You can't hide that you're a foreigner. So there would be these stares and looks. They would never say or do anything to you, but you wouldn't be able to overcome the difference.

 You may have thought, well that's just your view, and not all Japanese people are like that. Or maybe, you are the disrespectful idiot and everyone else is just nice. So let me give you some examples. These are some of the darker realities that tend to stay hidden.




Visa
 It's really really hard to get a VISA in Japan. I hear it's easy to stay short term in Japan quite easily, either that being with a working holiday visa, or like a short term business stay visa, or something like that, but to get anything like a green card or permanent residency is god damn difficult. You would need a stable job, social credibility, a reliable guarantor, minimum 10 years stay in Japan, etc. Japan as country, in its system, doesn't want foreigners living in Japan. They would rather want you to visit Japan and spend money, or stay short term and provide labor, but they wouldn't want to include you as a legitimate member of society.

I feel it's really selfish to think in such a way. Just wanting money or labor and not recognizing or respecting some as a part of their society.



Immigration Bureau
 The immigration bureau is pretty much hell for a lot of foreigners in Japan. A woman from Sri Lanka liarerally died in a confinement facility this March. The situation and reason for the death is unknown and the bureau (not a third party institution) is currently under investigation. The family of the woman is asking for access to footage of the security cameras inside the facility, and it has even become an issue in the Japanese parliament. The whole situation is so messy and much is unknown.
The confinement facility is where you're sent temporarily if you're caught illegally staying in Japan or you're getting deported or something like that. It is said these facilities are very toxic and everything is very secretive.
If you intend to live in Japan, you have to face the Bureau at some point, and it wouldn't be easy. There would be heaps of documents and papers that you must go through and fill in, and not everything could be found in English. You might have to look up some information in Japanese. 



Asian Immigrants
 There has been many Asians coming in from south east Asia recently, but the pressure against them has been strong. A lot of these Asians come as international student visas (because of the whole visa is hard to get situation), but instead they just work minimum wage all day in convenience stores, Izakayas (Japanese style bars), and other unpleasant workplaces (places where there is a dire need of workers but where not many Japanese want to).
 You might think, what about studying and university? Well, there are too many universities at the moment and because Japan is at a state of population decline (the birth rate is unbelievably dropping), there are a lot of universities that want students. These universities would easily accept Asians that want to come to Japan without any sort of test/check, and they wouldn't even bother if they come to school or not. They can just get their money and do nothing.
 Now, foreign students are allowed to work part time for a maximum 28 hrs/week, but above that is illegal. But because of the fundamental lack of Japanese workers and these "students" wanting to earn money for their families back home, it has caused many cases of illegal employment. In a lot of cases, foreigners are illegally employed way below the minimum wage (even at 300 to 400 yen per hour), and are forced harsh manual labor. The workers can't ask the government for help because they'll get send back home, and they're basically enslaved by these terrible employers.
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 Why I explained all of this is because I see the selfishness of the Japanese people in the whole issue. "We want workers but we wouldn't dare to give permanent residency to these non-Japanese people. Oh no, they're foreigners from developing countries so they must commit crime and must be filthy."

 People wouldn't dare to say it, and I'm not saying everyone thinks this way, but take my word, a lot more Japanese think this way than you might think. I hate this kind of thinking by the way, and I would fully go against people who think like this.



Just Society in General
 And putting aside the whole discrimination issue, Japan isn't built for English speakers at all. If you don't speak at least some level of Japanese, you can't get around town. I'm serious. The train/subway situation alone is a big mess, and when it comes to banks, post offices and ward offices, it's a nightmare for English users. Japanese is simply a tough language for new people. It has Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and especially Kanji is impossible to learn. I can say with confidence that nobody can learn all of the Kanji that is used in Japan in under a year. It is said that the amount of daily-used Kanji is over 2000 characters. You can theoretically only learn Hiragana and survive in Japan, but everywhere from legal documents to street signs is filled with Kanji so to fully live a life in Japan, you need to put in the hours.
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 From the outside, I can see why Japan looks so peaceful and interesting, and don't get me wrong, there are a million good things about Japan. But sadly, it's really not the place you want to live in this day an age. It's an aging country with a declining economy, and the dignity or respect that the Japanese once had is starting to disappear. People do not have the capacity anymore to invite an outsider with open arms.

  Personally, I wish it was different. I love meeting new people, especially people who have a totally different story to share, and I hope that Japan could become a country filled with these diverse individuals.

 Unfortunately, that day may never come. Japan is a tough country to change, and it's a slow country to evolve. Enjoy Japan as a foreigner, and don't try to become Japanese. You might go through some tough experiences.


 If you want to live in Japan, if it's your dream, do it. I wouldn't want you not doing it and regretting when you're old. And I also thank you for liking this small country in the far east.
 I have been pretty harsh on Japan in this article, but do understand that is is one aspect, one side of Japan. Remember it as sort of a watch-out, be careful message. There are a lot of good people and positives as well. If you do come to Japan, best of luck, and I hope you enjoy it.



by Hikaru