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Source: Gaijin Pot

As a young adult, my dream was not unlike many others longing to live in Japan: move to a big city like Tokyo, work and live there, speak Japanese. For those who have the grit, drive and talent, this path may very well be attainable. However, my goals changed quite a bit.

As I grew older, I realized that I was not too fond of the hustle and bustle of big cities. Moreover, the competition for work sounded stifling and soul-crushing. Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and even the colder cities of Hokkaido can have a superabundance of skilled foreign workers—typically with impressive Japanese skills. Thus, I considered my chances in the rat race slim.

However, I was able to land a job at an eikaiwa (English conversation school) in a semi-suburban neighborhood in the Hokkaido city of Sapporo. Admittedly, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted from my life here. Still, it opened the door to something better and—thankfully—my career in Japan didn’t end there.

An unexpected offer

Photo: iStock: Chunyip Wong
Even chilly Sapporo can feel too busy.

By chance, and after nearly five years of working at an English school, I received an offer via LinkedIn from a doctor to work for him at a private clinic in Shinhidaka, almost two hours south of my home at the time. I had never met him before, nor had I applied for the job previously. Hence, the offer was surprising.

He said my bilingual English and Japanese skills, customer service experience and physical proximity to his clinic made me a prime candidate for a position at his clinic. It was a great offer. However, proximity was a huge factor because this clinic is in a relatively …continue reading