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  • Where to live with my wife & daughter?

    Hi,
    I'm a Canadian, 33, thinking of teaching english in Japan at an elementary (or whatever it's called there) school in early 2006. I want to bring my wife and daughter (who will be 3 or 4 by then) as well of course. I'm wondering where the best place to live & work would be with them? Obviously I want safety. I also don't want the busyness of a large city, but I want there to be enough to do that they don't get bored while I'm at school teaching. I would love mountains nearby as well as the ocean. If there are outdoor nature-type activities would be helpful, but also good shopping nearby. Also if there were (proportionally) more Westerners in the city than typical across Japan that may be a good thing as well? Maybe I've created an unrealistic wish-list, I don't know. I would appreciate some honest, thorough responses.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Toyohashi

    Toyohashi, Aichi is near the mountains, near the beach and near Nagoya and Hamamatsu(about an hour to both by train)...the gaijin population is so-so with most being Brazilian factory workers....the food is cheaper than in Tokyo but as for shopping and something to do....well....go to Nagoya or Hamamatsu....Look it up on the net (Toyohashi,Aichi)
    Also the people are real friendly and there is a lot of festivals(everyone gets drunk really really drunk)
    good luck

    Comment


    • #3
      Kanazawa

      Well Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture is pretty nice. Both the mountains and the ocean are really close. The winter's aren't too terribly cold but it does snow alot, 2 feet in 1 day kinda thing. There are a few ski hills nearby, and I've heard of some camping areas but haven't been myself.

      Shopping is so-so, but unless you:re looking for the same stores you'd find back in Canada it isn't such a big deal. As for the foreigners, there are a few of us from all over.

      KG

      Comment


      • #4
        Sapporo. About 2 million people fairly spread out. Downtown is laid out in a grid pattern. Underground shopping mall that you could walk for hours. Toys R Us, Eddie Bauer, and other foreign shops. Mountains are half an hour outside the city. The ocean is about an hour away (although not many beaches in Japan are really that nice). You'll have to hunt for traditional architecture, but it's here.

        Six meters of snow every year. Winter is 5 months long (snow on the ground from November to April). Coldest temps in Sapporo are -15C (colder in the center of Hokkaido).

        Nice population of foreigners and Japanese.

        So, what do you bring to the bargaining table as far as credentials for teaching? Most elementary schools want experience in teaching Japanese, I think.

        Comment


        • #5
          By the way, how did you imagine schooling your child?

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi all,

            I will not try sound as if I am anywere as experienced as Glenski, the only thing I would add to His post and questions is.

            Where is your wife from? I mean is she Japanese?
            I don't mean to pry however I think this is an important question.
            I am moving to Nagoya in January with my wife (japanese) I have been to Japan and she is adding a more "down-to-earth" sence to the move.

            I know that Japan is not cheap, I don't believe you will be able to suppot a wife and child on a teachers compensation (250,000-260,000) roughly 2,500-3,000 Canadian

            Glenski or other more experienced people, please correct me if I mis-spoke.
            Gixx.

            Comment


            • #7
              Kobe

              Cdnteacher, it sounded like you described Kobe to me.

              I lived there 10 minutes walk to the sea (well, a good beach in Suma was a 20 min drive away), and 20 minutes walk to the mountains with a lot of well-laid out hiking tracks.

              Good international community, both in Kobe and in Osaka. Several good international schools, and even spouse networks.

              Pleasant ohnsen town 30 mins drive away (Arima) and good shopping both in Kobe (Sannomiya / Motomachi / Kobe Harbour) and in Osaka. Great food, even though seafood is not so famous (octopus is not bad in nearby Awaji) but of course Kobe beef is fantastic.

              As for the night life, one of my friends found 230 'good' bars in 2 months in Sannomiya alone. So there are quite a few.

              Easy access to Kyoto (temples), Nara (nice walks with lots of deer), Osaka (much stuff to do), Horoshima (with its oysters), Bizen and other ancient kilns with their pottery; many exhibitions and cultural events happening througout the year.

              All major consulates are in the nearby Osaka.

              Safety - never had a problem, even though people claim that inoshishi can be an issue if you live in a private home in the mountains.

              Net, I can recommend it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by anikikokushi
                Toyohashi, Aichi is near the mountains, near the beach and near Nagoya and Hamamatsu(about an hour to both by train)...the gaijin population is so-so with most being Brazilian factory workers....the food is cheaper than in Tokyo but as for shopping and something to do....well....go to Nagoya or Hamamatsu....Look it up on the net (Toyohashi,Aichi)
                Also the people are real friendly and there is a lot of festivals(everyone gets drunk really really drunk)
                good luck
                Thanks for the advice and recommendation! One problem though - well, I don't think this is really a problem, but - I don't drink or go to bars, so if you could revise your recommendations with that in mind that would be helpful. Thanks!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Glenski
                  Sapporo. About 2 million people fairly spread out. Downtown is laid out in a grid pattern. Underground shopping mall that you could walk for hours. Toys R Us, Eddie Bauer, and other foreign shops. Mountains are half an hour outside the city. The ocean is about an hour away (although not many beaches in Japan are really that nice). You'll have to hunt for traditional architecture, but it's here.

                  Six meters of snow every year. Winter is 5 months long (snow on the ground from November to April). Coldest temps in Sapporo are -15C (colder in the center of Hokkaido).

                  Nice population of foreigners and Japanese.

                  So, what do you bring to the bargaining table as far as credentials for teaching? Most elementary schools want experience in teaching Japanese, I think.
                  Thanks Glenski for your information! I have heard quite a lot of good things of Sapporo. The underground shopping info was helpful for sure. However 5 months of snow seems like a lot, and six meters!!?? Wow that's a lot.
                  Re: credentials - going to school now and will be getting my "Masters of Science in Education" degree. I don't speak a word of Japanese yet. Don't quote me, but I don't think companies who hire foreign teachers to teach english in japan require you to speak Japanese. They just want you to teach english well. Also, I could come to Japan right now to teach, I have a university degree, but I also want to be able to teach back in Canada once I leave Japan.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glenski
                    By the way, how did you imagine schooling your child?
                    Well, she will be 3 almost 4, so she won't be in school yet. But my wife (who is Canadian, by the way) and I have considered home schooling her believe it or not. Plus if we're in Japan for only a year, I'm not too worried about her schooling options.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gaijin de Moscu
                      Cdnteacher, it sounded like you described Kobe to me.

                      I lived there 10 minutes walk to the sea (well, a good beach in Suma was a 20 min drive away), and 20 minutes walk to the mountains with a lot of well-laid out hiking tracks.

                      Good international community, both in Kobe and in Osaka. Several good international schools, and even spouse networks.

                      Pleasant ohnsen town 30 mins drive away (Arima) and good shopping both in Kobe (Sannomiya / Motomachi / Kobe Harbour) and in Osaka. Great food, even though seafood is not so famous (octopus is not bad in nearby Awaji) but of course Kobe beef is fantastic.

                      As for the night life, one of my friends found 230 'good' bars in 2 months in Sannomiya alone. So there are quite a few.

                      Easy access to Kyoto (temples), Nara (nice walks with lots of deer), Osaka (much stuff to do), Horoshima (with its oysters), Bizen and other ancient kilns with their pottery; many exhibitions and cultural events happening througout the year.

                      All major consulates are in the nearby Osaka.

                      Safety - never had a problem, even though people claim that inoshishi can be an issue if you live in a private home in the mountains.

                      Net, I can recommend it.
                      Wow thanks Gaijin de Moscu! Lots of great info. Again, re: bars, that's not a concern of mine. I don't go. Kobe sounds great. I will have to research that city more. Is it pretty humid in the summer though? Proximity to the mountains, hiking and beach sounds appealing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Koko ha Doko?

                        Originally posted by cdnteacher
                        Again, re: bars, that's not a concern of mine. I don't go..
                        I think I said that same thing once, eh, oh so long ago, eh?. Before I got here, eh?. Anyways, we'll be there every night waiting for ya, eh? Get a cold one on ya, eh?

                        Kobe is pretty steamy in the summer. Sapporo is a nicer climate for Us, eh, but a little off the beaten track, and perhaps harder to find work in (Glenski????). On the other hand, Sapporo is socially more open than a lot of the mainland. The weight of history doesn't seem to weigh on their brains like the pile of **** some of the mainlanders have hanging off their brows. Esp. Kyoto people. Mind you, with you both being Canadian (white?), Kyoto would be fine. They are much nicer to foreigners than to other Japanese unfortunate enough not to be from the rotting centre of a dead civilisation. Nice city to live in, though. Flat, small, nice trees, good Forbidden City (and that is really F'in Cool). The people are a bit like Torontonians, but w/o the charm, but most of the time they ignore us and each other, so, all in all, a pretty nice place to live. Summer in Kyoto, however, is the cruelest form of self-inflicted punishment I have ever been stupid enough to engage in. Ramble Ramble Ramble
                        Or, Never Mind.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cdnteacher
                          Wow thanks Gaijin de Moscu! Lots of great info. Again, re: bars, that's not a concern of mine. I don't go. Kobe sounds great. I will have to research that city more. Is it pretty humid in the summer though? Proximity to the mountains, hiking and beach sounds appealing.
                          Sure, my pleasure. I loved the place, as you can probably see.

                          Summer is a killer. I lived between my airconned apartment and my airconned office. Could not go out. Once I had a misfortune to desire to enjoy a lunch of sushi on a bench overlooking the sea. I thougt it was a dignified way to spend my lunch hour. I almost did not make it back to office. I melted.

                          But then, I am Russian - I guess what we have in common with Canada is the weather

                          Other then that, I found Kobe a fantastic place to live. You are also quite protected from tsunami, landslides and taifoons by the harbour (but beware - the men-made islands are VERY windy).

                          One thing which bothers me are the earthquakes that my g/f reports regularly.

                          An off-topic... a month back we were having a video chat with her, and suddently I saw her apartment begin rocking and jumping... lasted for eternity, it seemed to me, and she looked really scared, holding onto the desk. I felt completely helpless in my safe apartment in Switzerland, watching her struck with a 5-degree earthquake live on my laptop screen. There were several afterchocks, too.

                          But... they can strike anywhere.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by akahebi
                            Yeah. That and beautiful women.

                            Wait... Canadian chicks don't look like men. Nevermind.


                            All women look like men after 50.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gaijin de Moscu
                              Summer is a killer. I lived between my airconned apartment and my airconned office. Could not go out. Once I had a misfortune to desire to enjoy a lunch of sushi on a bench overlooking the sea. I thougt it was a dignified way to spend my lunch hour. I almost did not make it back to office. I melted.

                              But then, I am Russian - I guess what we have in common with Canada is the weather
                              Well, depends where in Russia and where in Canada you are comparing of course. I think the majority of Russia is more northern than Canada but I'm not positive.

                              I can't believe it gets that hot in summer! I mean, it doesn't seem that much further south than where I live. But I will have to take your word for it.

                              I've been wondering - what type of schools generally pay teachers the most? And are there many openings there? (ie. public/private/international). And the apartments that they provide for teachers, what are they like?

                              Comment

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