Why oh why?

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Bits - Leaving Japan
Tags: , , , ,

This is my second post since I created this blog 5 years ago. I already forgot that I have existing wordpress account. Lucky me, I have found this again by registering using the same email account. And now, I’ll do my best to update this every now and then. (fingers crossed >o<)

Looking back, 5 years is a long time. Many things have changed in terms of career, relationships, economy, experiences, and my thoughts and views on different things. And the most important thing, exchange rate – JPY to PHP. In 2010, it was around .47, i think and rose up to .53 then now it’s at .3620 (Based on Metrobank)

Anyway, 3 months from now, we’re leaving Japan after 9 years of stay here. And I will surely miss this place – its food, its beautiful places, its people, etc. Where are we going? We’re moving to land down under. Why? Here are our personal reasons:

1. Contractual job. In Osaka area (from our experience), unless your Japanese level is 1 or 2, it’s impossible to be a regular employee of a company or even a staffing company. As an ENGINEER visa holder, you cannot just get any job to help yourself while waiting to be employed on your related field. Though, HelloWork can give you unemployment assistance, it is still not enough to pay all your monthly dues and responsibility to your family back home.

2. Language. Even if we have stayed here for almost 10 years, we still cannot understand the documents especially those coming from city hall and the contracts we sign when we get a new job. We still cannot speak and construct sentences in the most polite and in business form. Why? Because there are too many kanji to learn, it’s exhausting! We only use Japanese at work, so we tend to forget it when at home.

3. Work-Life Balance. We were usually hired at the coding phase of the project. Which means, the specs and the design and even the test specs have already been decided (Because it is all in Japanese). You just have to implement it through the required programming language. And test it using their test documents. And since it is project-basis, you have to complete it within its time frame. Which means, you need to render overtime just to keep up with the schedule. And when the project is done, bye bye! Next interview please! And the cycle goes on and on and on… In short, we just want a regular job where we can go home at exactly 5 or 5:30 PM so there is still more time to spend with my family.

4. Strict visa even for parents.  I knew that after a few months of giving birth I  should go back to work again. And because we don’t have someone to ask to look after our baby when we are at work, we invited our parents (in-law) to come here in Japan as tourist. Initially, they were given 3 month-visa. After 45 days, it was extended for another 90days. Few days before it expires, my own parents came here as their replacement. Their visa was also extended. So we thought that this would be very helpful to us – each couple can stay up to 6 months max. But we were wrong! The immigration does not allow second-time extension even if it is your parents and you have a valid reason (unless you’re giving birth again!). Imagine the time and cost of inviting someone to come here every 3 months. And in case you invited your brother/sister/cousin who is still young, they don’t allow extension even for the first time. Their reason: at their age they could still work part-time anywhere and they cannot monitor it if they really do their sole purpose of stay here or not. At the back of our mind, you cannot blame them because there are a lot of cases of tourist coming here to work. I just hope the immigration could improve their rules in our case.

5. High Cost of University Tuition Fees. Well, according to the people I know, college tuition fees here could reach millions in yen, so some of them send their children abroad, while some just take vocational course.

6. No Christmas and New Year celebration. Because Japan is not dominated by Catholics, Christmas day is not a holiday. And there are no fireworks on new year’s day.

Again, these are some of our personal reasons of leaving. Some people  may agree or disagree, but we can’t do anything about it anymore because our visa to land down under is out. So it’s time to get moving…. forward!

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