close up photo of a japanese castle and cherry blossoms

2016 has been a big shift in my life. It was full of blessings, surprises, and adventure. I landed a job in Japan as a teacher. It has been my dream to live in this country and I love it here. In the same year, I left home to work abroad, and now I would like to share the things I learned living in this beautiful country. Here are 3 lessons to learn from living in Japan.

1. Learning a language offers you a lot of opportunities to explore a culture

STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN I can’t deny my first year here was tough and full of challenges. The language barrier was a big factor that’s why I started learning Japanese. I would devote myself to studying every after work and on the weekends too. I would watch youtube videos, watch dramas, and study books. Now, If anyone asks me if I speak Japanese I can triumphantly say I do. Though it’s still a long road for me to fluency.

Knowing to speak the language offers you chances to imbibe culture. You can make a lot of Japanese friends and have great conversations with them, experience, and explore their lifestyles. It would help you get deeper insights and understandings of Japanese people and their society.

Living abroad is incredibly difficult emotionally as well as practical but after quite some time, depending on a person, it’ll get nicer and easier. It depends on how good you are at adapting a new environment, a new culture language, and different people to interact with. So, just explore and learn

I would say Japan is not a foreign-friendly country when it comes to services and few people can speak English. So speaking their language would save you a lot of trouble. Processing things here like setting up your internet, buying a phone, or opening a bank account can be a pain without knowing any Japanese.

laptop and books and stationaries on the bed

2. Living alone does not equate to loneliness

I know it sounds scary to leave your family, your comfortable life, go out there and live alone in a foreign country. I knew a little about Japan when I came here, especially with the city I was assigned.

You can’t help yourself to cry and think about your life back home. I had believed that when you live alone, you would be lonely. Not until I came here I realized that they are two different things. Japanese people are very independent of each other. Most of the people I’ve met taught me to live independently.

I learned how to use my time productively. I focused on personal growth, I started reading books and catching up with friends. I would spend my time in cafes either studying, reading, or purely observing people because it’s what they generally do here. People go to cafes not just to chat with friends but mostly to study or work.


3. Excess Baggage

Back in the Philippines, I tend to buy unnecessary things like clothes, bags, and shoes. I wanted to collect as many bags as I can and didn’t want to repeatedly wear the same clothes.

I have accumulated junk in my life. Those things were unnecessary and have no relevance nor served any purpose other than to sit there and collect dust. I bought things just because they were on sale. It’s only when I moved to Japan that I realized I don’t need as such.

I could only take a few of my things so I had to get rid of or donate most of them. That moment struck me like lightning. I relied too much on objects and things. I let them define who I am and how I value myself.

While it’s true that good looks give us a boost of confidence, we should not be deeply attached to things and objects and let them define who we are. We put emphasis on things rather than life- adventures and experiences or learning. It’s when you travel you realize that you don’t need a huge amount of stuff in your life.

excess baggage

Now that I am living in Japan, I only buy things that give me happiness. I’m not perfect but I can say I’m on my way through being an under buyer. Having fewer things has made a huge difference in my life. I’ve never felt any happier than before.

It gave me much space and clarity. It helped me save money and made cleaning so much easier. I’m not saying I’m a minimalist but I do apply concepts of minimalism in my life. I try not the be an impulsive buyer. 

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One Request

I truly believe in giving value to my readers that’s why I always put so much effort into writing this blog post. I’d appreciate it so much if you share it on your social media accounts. Cheers to inspiration.

I also encourage you to dig deep into your excess baggage. Get rid of the unnecessary things in your life, whether they are clothes, people, extra loads, and tasks that exhaust you and do not give meaning to your life.



  1. My Kitchen

    March 4, 2021 at 8:01 PM

    I’m glad you learnt a lot of things by living in a foreign country. I would to visit Japan, it looks like a beautiful country with an interesting culture.
    Do some people speak English?I’m curious as to how you managed to work before knowing Japanese.

  2. Mandy

    March 4, 2021 at 6:00 PM

    Always great to see people growing and evolving. Self-Imporvement is so important!

  3. aisasami

    March 4, 2021 at 2:18 PM

    頑張ったね! 4周年おめでとうございます。

    I have been in Japan for 9 years. The thing that Japan taught me is to live simply. Like today, there was sakura blooming on a tree in my neighborhood. I took time to admire its beauty and also just enjoy the simple things like its beauty. The simple things bring us joy and that is what is important.

  4. Georgia

    March 4, 2021 at 10:02 AM

    This is a really insightful post about living abroad. I really wanted to move to south east Asia to teach English when I first qualified, but never managed to do it, and now I’m a mum. I’ll just have to live through people like you instead!

  5. Nkem

    March 4, 2021 at 7:33 AM

    This is a great indication that life is full of lessons! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anosa

    March 3, 2021 at 5:17 PM

    These are 3 very incredible lessons and I agree to live alone does not equate to loneliness plus learning a new language is always cool

  7. sumit walia

    March 3, 2021 at 6:28 AM

    very interesting insight on how you managed your initial days in Japan ., From learning a new language to maybe looking at ho=going into some form of minimalism, your post touched pon ur transformation. It was indeed an insightful post to read

  8. Rhe-Ann Ngayaan-Wandalen

    July 13, 2020 at 4:59 PM

    It was so brave of you girl to go teach and live in Japan by yourself. Keep embracing growth and changes. It shall pay off. God bless you there.

    1. Ali

      July 18, 2020 at 1:39 PM

      Thank you teacher! and yes, I chose courage over comfort. You too, I see your hard work from facebook your posts and I see that you are doing it very well.

  9. Jep

    July 11, 2020 at 10:23 AM

    It’s so nice and happy to know about your professional growth and becoming a productive person, despite all those challenges you have gone through. I salute you for keeping yourself strong and exerting much effort to all such things you are not into and that were requited with more and more blessings. You will trully inspire and motivate a lot people with these, especially to teachers like you ma’am. Stay humble and be safe. 🙂

    1. Ali

      July 18, 2020 at 1:35 PM

      Yes., I believe there is always a room for improvement 🙂 Thanks for the belief that I can inspire people. It means a lot to me

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