A Journey to Japan Has Become a Historical Document

30 September 2010

This may sound familiar to you…where should I go next, what’s the next step in my career? Thinking of working abroad? First, research your destination from the point of view of expatriates already living there. There’s a wealth of information on the internet but you may like to start with www.careerbychoiceblog.com

Letter from Japan

Here’s what one couple wrote way back in 1981 (translated from Dutch), it was their first career move outside their home country. Have you been to Tokyo? How have things changed?

Letter written by Rosita (and husband Berry) to girlfriend Lia and her husband Henk in the Netherlands.
Date: Saturday, 16 May 1981

Dear Lia and Henk,

Finally we arrived in Tokyo. Great city! Very large, modern and old (temples, wooden houses) at the same time. The flight was exhausting, although we were flying Business Class for the first time in our life. Nothing to see on the way, because the flight was mainly above water.

We arrived on Thursday evening at 18.00 hrs. local time and went to bed at 20.00 hrs.! We were so tired! In the middle of the night we woke up because of the jet lag (change of time), were wide awake and hungry. Fortunately we found a “Welcome to Tokyo” fruit basket from the embassy colleagues in our hotel room. First we were amazed that they gave us a fruit basket instead of flowers, but now we understand!

The coming days are filled with invitations for lunches and dinners. Today we went to one of the largest shopping malls of the area: the Ginza. You have to see to believe how large it is.

Our hotel is also very large. In our room we have a fridge, colour t.v. and alarm clock. Every day clean bed sheets and a clean kimono, which can be used as bath robe. They have 24 hrs. room service, so if you are hungry in the middle of the night you just call them. We didn’t do that yet.

Lia, there are temples everywhere. If I take a look out of my hotel window, I see a temple in the middle of skyscrapers and next to the hotel is another temple. We have not found the time to do a lot of sight seeing. First of all; the city is too big to go around by taxi (too expensive too!) and second: we are going house hunting next week.

We like it here. The people are friendly, although you can’t understand them. When we went to the shopping mall (the Ginza) we asked people at the reception to write us two notes: one with the address of the hotel and one with the note that we want to visit the Ginza. Taxi drivers hardly speak foreign languages, including English. In spite of the language barrier we managed to do some shopping in the Ginza.

Hereby I send you our temporary hotel address:
Mr. and Mrs. Arnts
c/o Tokyo Prince Hotel, Room 859, 3-3-1 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105, Japan.

Hope to hear from you soon. Let us know when you have received this letter, so we know how long it takes to deliver mail from Japan to the Netherlands.

Rosita and Berry.

Remember Your Own Journey

The journey is just as important, make personal notes as you go along. These can take the form of jottings in a notebook, a new file on your computer or build your own memory board with cuttings and photos. This will all help to keep you focused on the job in hand. If you don’t mind spending money get a life coach to help.