So You Want to Move to Japan (and become a Japanese citizen), eh?
Alright, boys and girls. I attended the panel after mine last night on “Surviving the First 6 months in Japan”. It was great fun. Emphasis on fun. There were some people who wanted to know the ins and outs of actually moving to Japan and pretty much relocating there for life. I have to interject with a few things at this point because I did not want to interrupt the wonderfully energetic panelist too much.
The panelist didn’t know that you could renounce your citizenship to become a Japanese citizen. Please see this information about Renouncing Former Nationalities. The rest of the blog has some valid information as well.
I also encourage anyone serious about moving to Japan to head over to JapanSoc and SEARCH for keywords like: citizenship, and immigration.
I would suggest visiting TokyoCooney’s vlog on FYI Tokyo, for the real skinny about moving to and living in Japan.
You might also want to read this article on recent Immigration Procedures.
REALISTICALLY: It’s not going to happen. I really don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but the chances of you living your life as you imagine it as a Japanese citizen is nearly zero. Yes, there are exceptions, and those who have done this, but these are few and far between. Even if you qualify for the technical aspects a decade or so after arriving in Japan, you may find living there actually difficult. Talk to some expats and get a real sense of things before you embark on the technical. And seriously visit there a few times, as long as a visitor’s VISA will allow (3 months at a time for Canadians).
Renting an Apartment
This came up at the panel last night too. The only time you should consider renting an apartment in Tokyo is if you will be staying for more than a year. Otherwise, try Gaijin houses, hotels, hostels etc.
Definitely check out Sakura.
If you still think renting is the way you want to go, finding a place will be difficult. You will need to pay a deposit plus a non-refundable key money plus an agent fee plus utilities plus have a guarantor. Sakura breaks it down nicely here.
I just wanted to add this information before I forgot. I enjoyed the Surviving in Japan panel, and the questions asked spurred me on to writing this quick (hopefully) informative post.