Moving to Japan Heavily Tattooed And No Degree. How Bad Will It Be?

For many, the allure of starting a new life in Japan is hard to resist. However, for those who are heavily tattooed and without a university degree, the path to success in Japan can be fraught with challenges.

In this article, we’ll explore the story of one man who, despite the odds, managed to build a life for himself in Japan.

The Stigma of Tattoos in Japan

In Japan, tattoos have long been associated with the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. As a result, many Japanese people view tattoos as a sign of criminality or delinquency.

This perception can make it difficult for heavily tattooed individuals to find employment, housing, and even acceptance in Japanese society.

One user shared their experience: “I am Japanese and I have always been interested in body art, but am unable to part with my onsen privileges.”

The Importance of a University Degree

In addition to the stigma surrounding tattoos, Japan places a high value on education. Many jobs, particularly in professional fields, require a university degree. Without one, job prospects can be limited.

As one user pointed out, “Basic Japanese, extensive tattoos, and a small town in Kyushu? Good luck, you are going to need it.”

The Challenges of Living in Rural Japan

The man in question, who shared his story on Reddit, moved to a small town in Kyushu with his Japanese wife. Living in rural Japan can present its own set of challenges, particularly for foreigners who may struggle with the language and cultural differences.

The man was ultimately successful in building a life for himself in Japan, despite the challenges posed by his extensive tattoos and lack of a university degree.

Here’s how he managed to find success:

  1. Initial struggles: Upon moving to a small town in Kyushu with his Japanese wife, the man struggled to find employment due to his tattoos and limited Japanese language skills.
  2. Teaching English: He worked at an English school in Fukuoka for two months, earning 4.5 million yen (approximately $29,000 USD). However, the school later asked for the money back, revealing it to be a scam.
  3. Landing a programming job: Through his teaching job, he met people in the IT industry and eventually secured a programming position at a small company. The company hired him to appear “global,” despite his lack of Japanese language skills.
  4. Improving language skills: After working at the programming job for a year and a half, he quit and enrolled in a full-time language school for three months to improve his Japanese.
  5. Networking and persistence: Armed with better language skills, he focused on networking and persistently pursued his dream job. He attended events, brought gifts, and made a memorable impression on the CEO of his target company, who eventually invited him to interview.
  6. Success and integration: Five years after moving to Japan, the man has built a life for himself. He has a family, a house by the beach, a good job with above-average compensation, and has become an active part of his local community.

Life in Japan for the man now seems to be fulfilling and enjoyable. He has integrated into his local community, participating in groups and events and even receiving tips from locals about police presence to avoid speeding tickets.

He has a stable job that provides above-average compensation, allowing him to support his family and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

However, it’s important to note that his success didn’t come without challenges. He had to overcome cultural barriers, adapt to new ways of doing things, and persistently work towards his goals.

His story serves as an inspiration for others who may face similar challenges when moving to Japan, demonstrating that with determination, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the local culture, it is possible to build a fulfilling life in this unique country.

Embracing the Culture

One of the keys to success in Japan is a willingness to embrace the culture and adapt to new ways of doing things. This includes learning the language, respecting local customs, and being open to new experiences.

An user shared their experience living in Kyushu: “Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal down here. Maybe it depends more on the specific town, but everywhere I’ve been in Kyushu they really don’t care. Heck, some of my elementary school students have seen my ankle tattoos and they really are just nosy but don’t care after a while.”

Living in Japan With Tattoos

Moving to Japan with extensive tattoos and no university degree is not without its challenges. However, as the man’s story illustrates, success is possible with determination, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the local culture.

As one user put it, “Well… It’s going to be different. In a lot of ways that will translate to rough, but not completely. […] If you are enterprising, you can probably cobble together enough programming jobs to keep you in house and food. You may find trips to Osaka and Tokyo useful at times for networking, but the internet will be a primary link for you in my opinion. You’ll probably not be working for others, you are most likely going to be starting your own business. But on a spouse visa, you should be ok.”

For those considering a move to Japan under similar circumstances, it’s essential to be realistic about the challenges ahead and to have a solid plan in place. With the right mindset and support system, however, it is possible to build a fulfilling life in this fascinating country.

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