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Remember Me? Hello from Tokyo!
Old 06-04-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
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Remember Me? Hello from Tokyo!

I haven't been posting in a while, but I've lurked some lately. There are lots of new posters since I've been around, so hello to you all!

It's been almost a year now since we moved to Tokyo for DH's job. It took a little while to get adjusted (you know, like find restaurants we like, etc), but we are enjoying life here. We've met SO many people and are doing lots of things like exploring all the little neighborhoods around the big city as well as doing some travel in Japan and other Asian countries (like Vietnam and Thailand - where we met MJ as well at the Kaderlis, jjac, and Kramer- that was so much fun!)

We brought our dog and we live near a park where lots of folks walk dogs, so I'm practicing my Japanese daily! We are taking language lessons and can get around and ask for things we want, it is a struggle - we aren't planning on becoming fluent, but every little bit helps.

I haven't joined "the American club" and I have resisted the expat mentality, so far it has paid off in that I have met people in different ways and have based friendships on common interests rather than just clinging to people from "home." I am lucky though, Tokyo has so many English speaking Japanese people, and many of them have traveled to the US, so it is easier to make friends.

What prompted me to post is the fact that since we've been out and about we have met so many interesting people. Many retired early and are traveling, some are working contract jobs here, others are teaching English to support their travels, etc. It has just been so interesting to discover the lives that people have made for themselves. I know we all sometimes feel like we are strange for retiring early, or planning it, but once you start digging there are really more non-conformist than you thought!

We still don't have "the date" set for DH's retirement. He just turned 40 this year. We were thinking 2009, but he recently got asked to extend here in Japan (new boss) with more travel to Australia and also was contacted about a different position in Europe. So, as long as he is ok with work we'll probably keep going. Our self-imposed absolute cut off date is his 43rd birthday, so maybe we'll just go where life takes us until then. Who knows!?!
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Old 06-04-2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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Shiny,

Great to hear from you! It sounds like everything is coming up roses and you are having a very good experience.

The good old USA will still be here for you when you want to return. At least I hope it will.

Ha
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:12 PM   #3
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Yes indeed I remember you!

It's great to hear from you and I'm so happy you and DH are doing so well.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:37 PM   #4
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shiny! hi! so cool you met all the expat thailanders. japanese food is such a treat for me here. i guess you eat it like every day. i'm picturing a benihana's on every street corner.

sounds like you are having a wonderful time. good for you. great you're making friends there. do you have any homesickness at all or do you think you could travel pretty much like this for a long time?
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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Hi Shiny,

What is the medical cost for you over there? I heard Japan have a very good health care system.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:26 PM   #6
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Hi guys, thanks for the welcome back! Its been so long I have forgotten how to quote! (did it change?)

Yes, we are happy - meeting lots of people, etc. but we do have our problems...

Like in Nov I paid big money to get my hair cut and highlighted and it was so hideous - HUGE lemon yellow highlights (in my light brown hair) I needed to cover it up, but the color I needed is not for sale here ( since most everyone has black hair). I finally got some dye from the US, but then I didn't get my hair cut again until a couple of weeks ago! Much better that time though.

Plus, feeling a little bit out of touch with folks (like my sister and brother) since the time is so off for calling.

Yes, we do eat lots of Japanese food! But, I have not seen a Benihana style restaurant. There are LOTS of noodle places and of course sushi places and traditional Japanese restaurants serve lots of tempura, nabu/oden (hot soups with veggies, tofu, meats) rice and miso soup.

I'm a bit hooked on udon noodles with a big piece of tofu on top (kitsune no udon) I eat it whenever I get a chance, even breakfast.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:33 PM   #7
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Gosh I'm rusty! I hit reply instead of preview.

About medical care. I've only been to the doctor once so far for a REALLY sore throat after I got back from Vietnam. I wanted to make sure I didn't have bird flu.

My doctor was half Japanese half American so he spoke English very well. I didn't feel that the visit was any more thorough than in the US and it wasn't very cheap. Then again, this clinic caters to foreigners, so it might be different than the typical place.

One strange thing is that the doctor's office charged for writing a prescription, then the pharmacy charged a dispensing fee in addition to the charge for the prescription. That was a lot of charges!

But, I've made an appointment for a full physical (regular and GYN) for the end of this month and was told that it would be 27,000 yen (just under 270 dollars) That seemed cheap, plus I thought it was interesting that they quoted the price ahead of time.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:07 AM   #8
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Hello, shiny!

It's great to hear from you, and more so because you seem quite happy and adjusted with living in Tokyo.

Best wishes for continued positive experiences, better haircuts, great encounters and friendships, and many more delicious udon meals!

flipstress
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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Hi again, shiny!

I didn't mean my best wishes to be a thread-stopper. It's just great to hear from you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny View Post
What prompted me to post is the fact that since we've been out and about we have met so many interesting people. Many retired early and are traveling, some are working contract jobs here, others are teaching English to support their travels, etc. It has just been so interesting to discover the lives that people have made for themselves. I know we all sometimes feel like we are strange for retiring early, or planning it, but once you start digging there are really more non-conformist than you thought!
Yes, it is always great to meet interesting people who have been "creative" with their lives and how they want to live it. It must involve quite a sense of adventure and courage.

How do the Japanese view early retirement? Have you met any who have that as a goal? I gather they are a very-hardworking people, so I am just curious.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipstress View Post
Hi again, shiny!

I didn't mean my best wishes to be a thread-stopper.

How do the Japanese view early retirement? Have you met any who have that as a goal? I gather they are a very-hardworking people, so I am just curious.
Hey Flip, I don't think YOU were a threadstopper - people just have more interesting things to discuss

I've met a few Japanese people who have told me that they were interested in early retirement or semi-retirement. It seems they are mostly married to Americans (so it may be that they already lead "different" lifestyles than the typical Japanese.)

One Japanese lady married an American 2 years before he quit work at the age of 42 to travel the world. Her family was horrified I'm sure. Another had actually been living in Seattle when she and her new husband moved back to a family house here and he is working part time now - they say they are simplifying their lives (they are not in Tokyo). Another couple, the wife is still working for a couple of years, but he just sold his store and she is planning to retire soon (52), they have a couple of rental properties.

There are several wealthy couples I have met in my building who have sold businesses and now the husband "consults" or something. He must still feel some pressure to "be busy." One lady I met runs a tiny guest house on a small island to support herself and her art.

Those are all the Japanese people I can think of right this minute - many others I have met have been other nationalities.

As to the Japanese being hard working... it is true that they work long hours and spend many evenings out with co-workers rather than family. That is just part of the culture, but (at least in DH's office and people he deals with) they aren't really getting anymore done than in other countries. It is important to them to just to be there long hours, that is a whole study in social behaviors to understand why.

I'm editing to add this link http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...-er-25933.html
I went back and re-read it. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us to come on this adventure!
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