Many moving to Japan may think that the very nature of the country will change them.
And in part, they are right. After all, adapting oneself to the different environments one will encounter in life is not only a skill but a necessity.
But we in the West tend to see Japan portrayed as this super technological hub in which robots are everywhere. Far from the truth. For example, you won’t find a single person using Robophone, and if you ask Japanese about it, none or very few will know what you are talking about.
Yes, in modern houses in Japan many things are automatized, and yet, paradoxically, paying with cash is still the norm, and few places accept credit cards.
So, if daily life in Japan is not the super technological place you see on TV and the way of life is also not so different from the West, then how will Japan change you?
After 2.5 years living in Japan, I came to the following conclusion:
Apart from the language, there’s nothing so unusual in Japan that will change you. After all, they have copied many Western ways and, as a foreigner, you can build yourself a type of bubble in which you don’t have to comply to “Japanese ways” (the hierarchy, the submissiveness, etc.)
And you can build yourself this bubble in Japan or any other foreign country, for that matter.
I think Japan per se will not change you, but how different is your home country from the country you are moving in, that is, the degree of differentness, and how you respond to this difference.
If a Chinese or South Korean move to Japan, Japan won’t change her much. But if a European or an American does it, yes, he will probably change more than the Chinese or the South Korean, but not as much as we might think in the West as a result of how Japan is shown to us.
For that matter, I think Mongolia would change anyone from the West much more.
So if you want to experience the necessity of having to change as a result of your environment, unless you are living in a Buddhist temple, please don’t move to Japan.