|As an ALT, you will have many opportunities to experience all facets of Japanese life. Whether you find yourself commuting to
school on a crowded train or celebrating the multitude of holidays at various festivals across the country, living abroad will open
your eyes to a fascinating array of new customs, traditions, and mores. The scope of such a transition may seem daunting at first,
but adjusting to life in Japan can be a surprisingly smooth process as long as you maintain an open mind. As is the case with any
other place on earth, daily life in Japan can be broken down into four major areas: transportation, communication, food, and
leisure. Though you will probably find many comforting parallels between your new life and the one you have left behind, there are
also more than enough contrasts to keep things interesting.
Upon your arrival in Japan, the first question you may ask yourself might be, "How am I going to get from place to place here?"
While the solution to your inevitable dilemma could appear problematic if you are used to driving everywhere, traveling in Japan is
incredibly easy. Whether you travel by car, train, bicycle, or bus, getting around in Japan is very convenient. There are definitely a
lot of cars on the streets, but Japan's extensive public transit network is arguably the best in the entire world. With trains racing to
every corner of Japan, most people get to and from work via the rail system. Whereas most commutes back home are, at best,
|mundane and, at worst, excruciating, morning train rides over here can be quite enjoyable. They
provide you with unique glimpses of the populace in a setting that is far removed form the typical
tourist attractions. Aside from being the most efficient way of getting you from point A to point B,
the train might also just be the best chance to observe people from all walks of Japanese life. In
any given car, there could be young adults decked out in cosplay (extravagant costumes), ladies
in elegant kimonos, sharply dressed businessmen reading the daily paper, groups of students in
their ubiquitous school uniforms, and maybe even an aspiring sumo wrestler on his way to a
From an outside perspective, the language barrier separating English and Japanese might appear
to be the most challenging aspect of daily life in Japan. In certain respects, this is true. Japanese
has three different sets of characters (kanji, hiragana, and katakana) and a sentence structure that
can be difficult for English speakers to grasp.