23 June 2017

Ian Long - Expat in Nagoya, Japan

Ian Long - Expat in Nagoya, Japan

We’ve had the chance to talk to Ian Long, a British expat who has moved to Japan with her family. Mr. Long has been living there for almost 12 years. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Portsmouth in the U.K.


Q: What made you move out of UK?

A: I wanted to live in Japan. I was going towards something, not away from something.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Nagoya, Japan. Growing up, a lot of things I was interested in came from Japan. I became more interested in the language and culture and then decided to move here.


Q: How long have you been living in Japan?

A: Almost 12 years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: With my family, but my wife and children are Japanese, so it's no problem.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Not really. It's easy to keep in contact via Skype, catch up on news and views from your hometown using social media etc.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Polite and friendly. Different to the image most people have of them.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Japan? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: I generally avoid expats like the plague. I am generally so busy with work and family, I don't have time to socialize.


Q: How does the cost of living in Japan compare to your home?

A: I've lived here so long now, it's hard to say. But probably not a big difference.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 100 to 400 yen.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 800 to 1000 yen.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Haha, no idea.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Stopped drinking years ago, so no idea.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Japan?

A: Use Seven Bank. It's in English and online.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Easy. Because I prepared properly.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Japan is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Yes. Most doctors speak some English. Don't get travel insurance, get your company to enroll you in the government health insurance system.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the UK or Japan? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: See above. Research shakai hoken and kokumin hoken, and ask your company to enroll you in shakai hoken.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Japan? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I moved by myself with a suitcase. I was nervous and excited.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Learning kanji.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Japan?

A: I really love living here, I really think of any negatives. Summer is very hot and humid, though. That takes a while to get used to.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Depends on what you like, really. Most things are covered in-depth by various websites, so just search around. There are lots to do, though.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No. I bought a house here, and have permanent employment until I retire.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Japan?

A: https://abandonednihon.wordpress.com/