Hello, my name is LaShawn, and I moved to Japan just after the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. I initially only planned to stay here for one or two years, but found myself settling into the country, and now I call it home. I don’t plan on leaving, so I set up this blog as a means to share my experiences living here in hopes that it’ll help others.
During my junior year of university, I studied abroad in Tokyo for a short summer semester. I studied Japanese for a year prior to going, and thought that I could speak it pretty well. Boy was I wrong! My university only allowed me to take courses that would fulfill my political science degree, so I was unable to further my Japanese language skills while I was an exchange student. I still had fun during my 12 weeks here, but wasn’t able to get the most out of it, and was longing for more after I returned home.
I graduated from university with a B.A. in Political Science in 2010. This was just as the economy was entering a recession and jobs were becoming scarcer and more competitive to find. I worked briefly at a major bank, but wasn’t satisfied with how my life was going. The people I worked with were great, but dealing with the clients was stressful, and I didn’t enjoy having to bend over backwards for them even when they were in the wrong.
I had to choose between going back to university to obtain a master’s degree, or try to move up at the financial institution I was in. Going back to university meant accumulating more student loan debt, which was already a burden for me and putting a strain on my finances. The other option was to stay where I was and try to move up within the financial institution at least until the economy started to recover.
But no one had any idea when that would be.
So, I started looking into alternative jobs abroad, and the prospect of returning to Japan always stayed in the back of my mind.
I had a friend that opened an English school in China, and asked me if I wanted to join as a teacher. It seemed like an exciting chance to travel and get to experience a new part of the world, so of course I jumped on it. After arriving there, I quickly realized that life in China wasn’t for me, so I did a skype interview for a teaching job in the countryside of Japan. After the interview, I was hired right away. When I asked how soon they wanted me to start, they said, “Next week!” So, without much deliberation, I booked a plane ticket to Japan, and hopped on a plane within a few days.
I began training right away for a teaching position at public schools in Tochigi prefecture. I taught there for a year, and overall it was a pretty good experience. I didn’t have a car or Japanese driver’s license though, so getting around was a bit hard.
I moved to Kanagawa prefecture during my second year, and it’s where I stayed as I worked at an eikaiwa until 2019. It wasn’t until recently that I made the transition to a university teacher and moved to Tokyo. Although I no longer live in Yokohama, it’s where I’ve spent the most time in Japan, and where I lived when I created this blog.
So, welcome to The Yokohama Life!