Since I always get this question a lot from new people I meet, old friends that I haven’t seen for the longest time, Filipino friends that I made in Japan and decided to move back to the Philippines. I’ve been wanting to write this post since I’ve moved back in Manila in 2015 but I kept on stalling it since I felt like I wasn’t fully decided (about the pros and cons of living in Japan and moving back to The Philippines yet). And now, maybe 2 years is enough?
Here’s a summary: I grew up in Manila, moved to Japan from 2009-2015, moved back in Manila from 2015~
Being in Manila for most of my life, moving to Japan is a dream come true for me. Living there for 6 years made me realise a lot of things especially the not so good ones. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “you’re already there, why did you comeback?” kind of questions but I’m sure some of you are also curious. I won’t answer it yet but I’ll share some of my experiences while living in Japan (pros and cons) first.
Living in Japan
Japan is generally safe, I usually travel alone to far places and I didn’t experience any form of harassment (unlike in Manila where my butt sometimes gets touched by random people)
My family lives there
You can live a decent life even if you have a relatively low salary (you can still eat 3x a day, travel to near places hahaha bullet train is expensive)
You won’t get judge for living a “luxurious” life even if you’re not that rich (even “poor” people in Japan are capable of buying second hand luxury goods)
It’s easier for me to follow a sustainable lifestyle – I can buy affordable and good quality second hand clothing, shoes, accessories; everyone follows the “how to throw the garbage properly” rule
The government provide a working health insurance (which you have to pay at about¥22,000 per month)
I can bike around without fearing my life
Commuting is not a hassle
Food is good and HEALTHY!
Four Seasons (my fave is Spring of course, my birth season)
I can dress-up, I can actually dress whatever I want without getting judged
Japanese snacks ARE SO GOOD!
If you accidentally lose your things, expect them to be at the police station or left wherever you place them (except for umbrellas haha)
Transportation is expensive (this is not for you tourists people, residents in Japan are not allowed to use the JR Pass)
You are tempted to buy lots of cute stuff!!! And pay for expensive cute cafes!!! (Target market = me)
You have to have a lot of money in order to be happy (at least for me, I felt the need to travel a lot to keep me sane)
I have to work with just 5 vacation days per year (this stresses me out, I always feel envious of my friends in Manila who could travel around Asia on a normal work week)
(Some) Japanese people lacks affection (your friends there are just like your acquaintances here)
You always have to wear make-up and bra or else you’ll be considered as “rude”
Living in Manila (The Philippines)
Justin is here, my grandparents are here, my friends are here (and they all care for me)
Food is life (I love Filipino FOOD! I just hate that I gained so much weight here)
We have nice beaches and it’s like summer all year round
The people are super nice (especially in the provinces, I always feel at home)
I can live a simple life and still be happy
I can just easily take uber / grab / taxi / tricycle / jeep when it’s hot or I’m lazy (in Japan, no matter how hot/ hard it is, you just have to endure walking or biking)
Everything is relatively affordable
If I have enough guts, I can be whatever I want to be (which is harder in Japan since you need more money in order to live)
Commuting is hell (I hate the traffic so much it gives me anxiety attack sometimes)
Diet is hard
It’s also difficult to find safe places to exercise, jog or run
Some Filipinos are too judgemental and overbearing (it’s a challenge for me as a free spirit to be who I am without getting judgements from traditional-thinkers, especially when I pursued an unconventional path like blogging)
I can’t wear my winter clothes haha
There are much more to share but that’s it for now. To answer your question, I prefer living here in Manila even if living in Japan received more pros. Hope you understand that these are my personal experiences and biases. Haha! Share yours too.