Living in Japan and Russia, a comparison – Pearls and Passports


When I appear at my timehop app on my telephone, I see a recurring theme. Even though I had a beautiful boyfriend in Japan, lived in a two bedroom residence (Any person who has lived in Japan knows how uncommon it is to discover and afford a single!), lived an hour from Tokyo and spent absolutely free weekends travelling about this stunning country…

I was lonely.

Lonely at perform, lonely at household. I had a handful of mates but I couldn’t see them as usually as I could. I longed for connection with individuals which can be very tough to discover in disconnected Japan. Couple this with a extended distance partnership and several days brought dread rather than joy.

A single day I just realised that despite the fact that I loved several elements of Japan, it just wasn’t exactly where I was meant to be. It was stifling me and I required to be absolutely free. A pal from household when talked about living in Moscow, a spot I located exotic and intriguing. I located out I had been provided a job as a kindergarten teacher and snapped it up. Even although I was leaving an awful lot behind in Japan.

Settling in to perform

I arrived in Russia a week prior to I was due to begin perform. The climate was hot and sunny and I enjoyed walking about the seemingly empty city, gawping at the magnificent architecture and attempting to study Cyrillic.

Perform began and it was a baptism of fire. In Japan I taught the identical lessons day in, day out. I felt like a performing seal rather than a teacher. Even though it was quick to strategy, it lacked creativity. In Russia I was offered a short theme for every single week but anticipated to strategy a difficult curriculum for the kids teaching maths, English, phonics, science, fitness and physical capabilities. At 1st I was overwhelmed but I quickly grew to like the freedom I was offered and excelled in building inventive and interactive lessons that the kids loved.

Quickly I had several Facebook messages supplying me additional tutoring or English classes. As opposed to Japan individuals basically wanted to understand English and it created me really feel significant and in demand. I turned down the majority of tutoring and teaching jobs to concentrate on receiving larger paid customers. It was a single of the most effective choices that I created.

Studying Russian

Prior to arriving n Moscow, I attempted to understand the Cyrillic alphabet. Even though not fantastic, my capabilities enabled me to recognize words that have been comparable to English. I watched several YouTube videos, and made use of the duo-lingo app anytime I could. Right after I gained some self-assurance I began going to lessons, and abruptly located out that my level was low and I didn’t even know the alphabet appropriately.

This knocked my self-assurance. I now knew the fundamentals but the language seemed to get additional difficult the additional I learnt. I began practicing with a Ukranian Skype teacher but as my perform hours enhanced my motivation decreased.

Now I can study the alphabet, know crucial phrases and words. At the moment it is adequate for me. Subsequent year I will hopefully have additional absolutely free time and be in a position to practice additional.

Creating mates

The expat scene in Japan was weird. A lot of individuals have been just there to get with Japanese females or have been ‘Otaku’ and obsessed with the Japanese culture. I created some awesome mates but I couldn’t bond or empathise with the majority of expats. They just weren’t like me. Thee expat scene was genuinely snobby as well, several foreigners would snub other foreigners and attempt to speak only to Japanese individuals. Every person bragged about how substantially Japanese they knew or how several years they had lived in Japan like it was a competitors.

Japanese individuals can be very closed off to individuals. Do you know that I never ever when went into a Japanese persons household? Even though I had a handful of Japanese ‘friends’ I felt that several attempted to hold me at arms length and I never ever formed actual friendships with Japanese individuals that hadn’t travelled outdoors of Japan.

Moscow couldn’t be additional various. It has a diverse and friendly expat scene and there are so several events taking place all through the city exactly where you can meet new individuals. When I 1st arrived I met up with individuals I met on Facebook groups and at language events. I accepted each invitation and as a consequence I began to know additional and additional individuals.

Now I have a wonderful social life and am mates with British individuals, Australians, Russians and Americans. I have genuine friendships and we are all there for every single other. I have been inside several Russian properties and have been created welcome. I go to new and fascinating areas every single week and have a cosmopolitan way of life. I am really delighted.

Japanese countryside vs Russian super city

When I moved to Japan I was basically excited about living in the countryside. Right after a month or so I felt suffocated and trapped. I had no car or truck and my planet was very modest. Trains didn’t run till late so I was quite restricted about what I could do right after perform and at the weekends.

Now I reside in a single of the largest cities in the planet in an apartment on the 16th floor. Worlds away from my life in Japan. Moscow has no shortage of fascinating and fascinating points to do. I’ve carried out some thing new each weekend and have nonetheless not run out of points to do or areas to go. Even though city life can get overwhelming, I definitely like it.


A single of the most effective points about living in Japan was the diversity and beauty of the nation. Through my time in Japan I was fortunate adequate to travel to several areas such as Fukuoka, Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and even climb mount Fuji. Travel is hassle-free and protected despite the fact that it can be high priced.

Moscow is such a large city that it can take hours to travel from a single side to the other. Trains are typically slow and mainly because Russia is the largest nation in the planet, cities and towns are very spread out. Due to the fact I’ve lived right here I’ve travelled to St Petersburg, Sergiev Posad and a modest village in the South. It is a lot simpler to go back to England or go to other European nations. Subsequent month I’m renting a nation residence in Suzdal, a modest but stunning town about three/four hours from Moscow. I do not really feel the identical urge to go to as several areas in Russia as achievable mainly because I really feel theat I will reside right here for several years.


Life in Moscow can be tough. I perform extended hours but for fantastic cash. The city is overwhelming but there’s a vast option of points to do right here. Even though I miss Japanese meals and hospitality I’m very delighted in Moscow. I have a fantastic job with prospects, I’m inundated with private students and I have a fantastic social life.

I have a feeling that I will reside right here for fairly a handful of years, watch this space!




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