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As seen in the Transitions Abroad Webzine March 2009 Issue
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Living in Japan: Key Resources, Links, and Articles

Moon Living Abroad in Japan, Third Edition, by Ruthy Kanagy

Paperback, Avalon Travel

Reviewed by Living Abroad Contributing Editor Volker Poelzl

Living Abroad in Japan

A few years ago Avalon Publishing introduced a new series of books exploring the subject of living abroad. The series is rapidly growing with a few new titles being published each year. Living Abroad in Japan was part of the first installment of books intended to help expatriates move overseas and adapt to life in a foreign country. The new third edition of Living Abroad in Japan has a slightly different format, including an introduction in full color, but the essential material and style remain unchanged.

Moving to another country is a complex process, and expatriates need to quickly learn about many issues and have vital information readily available. Living Abroad in Japan does just that. The material is presented in an easily readable format and covers all the important aspects of daily life in Japan. In addition to providing in-depth information about the practical aspects of moving to Japan, the book also introduces readers to Japanese customs and etiquette, social values, religion, and the arts.

Author Ruthy Kanagy grew up in Japan and the United States, and her thorough knowledge and love of Japan, its culture, and people, becomes apparent throughout the book. As she writes in the introduction: “It is easy to fall in love with the sheer beauty of Japan – rugged mountains and coast, subtle changes of seasons, carefully practices ancient arts, intriguing cuisine, and of course, the people.” In the introduction readers learn about Japanese history, government, economy, and culture. This chapter also covers an important part of preparing for a move abroad: a fact-finding trip. Ruthy Kangy suggests that “the more reading and research you do and the more contacts you make in advance, the more you will gain from the trip.”

The section about daily life covers important practical aspects of moving to and living in Japan, such as language and education, health, visas, employment, finance, communications, internet access, transportation, taxes, the media, and housing. Here, you will also find plenty of useful information about the important but easily overlooked details of living in a foreign country. How do you get your utilities turned on? How do you open a bank account?  How do you look for work or find an English teaching job?

The section about prime living locations introduces readers to the various islands and the best locations for expatriates, depending upon their interests, lifestyle, and career choices. This chapter is especially useful if you are in the planning stages of your move to Japan and are not yet committed to a specific destination. Ruthy Kanagy covers various cities and regions in Japan based on your lifestyle as well as on what you are planning to do in Japan. The Resources section includes useful contact information for banks, government offices and embassies, media, international schools in Japan, employment agencies, transportation, etc. There is also a glossary, phrasebook, and a list of suggested reading and films.

Living Abroad in Japan is a practical and informative guide and is an indispensable companion for anyone planning on moving to Japan. For more information and to read the introduction of the book, visit the publisher’s Living Abroad in Japan web page.

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