Life in Japan

Sayonara Nippon! Why I’ve left Japan?!?

Huh? Wait! Jasmine has left Japan? When? Why? What? …
… is what you’re probably thinking right now.

I’m sorry if this comes as a shock to you. emoticon
Or maybe it doesn’t?

I’ve been living in Japan for seven years although I intended to only stay for one.
As you might know I’ve recently had a hard time deciding whether I should leave or stay.

It’s probably unnecessary to tell you how much I love Japan. It’s obvious if you look at my blog and all the travelling I’ve done. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have stayed for 7 years otherwise.

Why I've left Japan


Then why did I decide to leave Japan?

Hm. There are many reasons. And I’m not sure if I can explain them well enough.

I always wanted to decide on my own when it’s time to leave and not be forced to. I almost didn’t get my work visa and thought I had to leave Japan after just one year and that was quite horrible. It was important to me that I would decide when I go and not some unfortunate circumstances.

I was worried that if I’d stay “too long” I end up hating Japan and leave with those kind of feelings. Luckily that didn’t happen.
I still love Japan. I still consider living in Japan in the future once more.

But I am over 30 now.., have no family in Japan, felt kind of stuck and simply couldn’t decide whether I wanted to spend my future in Japan or in my home country Germany – or maybe somewhere completely else. I thought leaving Japan might help me getting out of my ‘comfort zone’ (= Japan) and that I’d be able to see things from a different perspective.

I had the feeling that if I continued my life in Japan with lots of enjoyable travelling, I’d wake up one morning and be 40.
40, single, without a family in a ‘foreign’ country where – although I consider it my home – I’ll be treated as the “eternal outsider“.
Or maybe I’d just turn into a crazy cat woman? Or a castle woman? I guess being single and over 30 in Japan already qualifies as being a “dried fish woman“. emoticons

I’m only half-serious. Please take this with a gra.. bucket of salt!


Eh? If you’re not in Japan anymore, what will happen to your blog?

Don’t worry. Nothing will change on my blog or social media.
I sometimes have the feeling that people actually don’t realize what it means when I say that I’ve travelled to all 47 prefectures and have been to many far more than once. emoticons
I have trillions of photos, travel advice, weird festivals and whatnot yet to share. It’s enough for years and years to come!
So much, actually, that I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to get it all online in this life. emoticon

And just because I’m not in Japan anymore, it doesn’t mean that I’ll lose all of my knowledge.
On the contrary, I finally might be able to get to know things from the “tourist point of view“. For example, thus far I couldn’t purchase the “Japan Railp Pass” because residents of Japan cannot obtain it.

I’ll also write about my “reversed culture shock” and maybe a guide for all of you who also need to move back home. Jeez, that was a LOT of work, I tell you!

So, nothing will change. The only thing that’s different is that I’m currently not in Japan.

Why I've left Japan


Will you ever come back to Japan?

That’s easy to answer: YES!!
I don’t know if I’ll live in Japan again or if I’ll just come back for even more travelling, but I cannot live without Japan, so the answer is: ABSOLUTELY YES!!
After almost a decade Japan has become my second home … maybe even my “first home”. There’s no way that I just close the “Japan chapter” forever.
I think anybody who has lived in Japan for a long period can understand what I’m trying to say. (^__^’)


Are you still in Japan? When did you leave? Woah!

No, I’m not in Japan anymore. I’ve already left.
I know, I know.
I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you guys right away. emoticon
But I hope you understand that I was insanely busy. Moving internationally is really no fun!

And I was hit by a super hyper giga “reversed culture shock“.
I didn’t want to whine about all the things while I still was in this “shock state”.
I’ll definitely share my feelings and encounters and tell you in detail about this creepy culture shock, so stay tuned.

I just needed some time for myself to say: Sayonara Nippon. emoticon emoticon

But I’m all good now and intend to just continue to share my previous Japan adventures with you.
I hope you understand and keep supporting “Zooming Japan”.

Thank you! ^___^


  • That was a really brave decision. Most people leave Japan only when the circumstances force them to. Big respect to those who take their life in their own hands. All the best on your new life path :)

    • It really was. It might have been one of the toughest decisions in my life. ^__^;
      But like you said at least it was in my hands, so I feel good about it.

      Thank you so much. :luvit:

    • I’m not sure we’ve met the same people. I think there are basically three groups of foreigners that are here from post-industrial countries:

      1. ones that love Japan and everything Japan no matter what. Japan can do no wrong.
      2. ones that are here because of opportunity, but can fall into either group 1 or 2.
      3. ones that hate Japan and everything Japan no matter what. Japan can do no right.

      But even if you are in camp #3, you can’t just leave. It’s very very hard to leave a country you are invested in, whether it be time, business, education, or family. My partner and I are here because of #2. We enjoy many things about Japan, but really really hate others, namely the pollution and noise in the country side. But that is because of our backgrounds. I meet a lot of people that consider Japan super clean, and can look past the things that cause me to overheat.

      If you are camp #1, there is nothing Japan could ever do, no amount of harassment, or injustice that can get beyond your shuttered vision. About half of my acquaintances fall into that group.

      Interestingly, I’ve found that #3 and #1 also fall into left/right political groups well enough.

      That’s all to say that a LOT of people leave Japan. Some do because they want to. Others despite the fact that they love it.

      • Just wanted to throw in that I don’t see myself in any of these groups.
        I left Japan because I wanted to and despite the fact that I still love it a lot. ;)

  • Awwwww. I totally didn’t realize that. But I completely understand.

    Right now, I’m just taking it year-by-year. Everyone keeps asking whether I’m going to live in Japan forever or when we’re moving to America or how long I plan to live here… it’s so hard to know!
    I hope the reverse culture shock gets easier!

    • I guess we’re both good at “hiding” things. ;)
      I’m so sorry that I didn’t realize you had a burnout. emoticon
      I hope you’re feeling a bit better now. :3

      It’s a very common question. People back home want to know when you’re coming back and most Japanese people don’t expect you to stay forever. But I think the one who kept asking the most was me. ^__^;

  • Wow! That is big news Jasmine!! I’m happy that you have finally made the decision and wish you the best of luck on your next big adventure. I know what it is like to return home after many years in Japan. I did it after more than 10 years in Japan and ended up staying home in Australia for around 5 years. Japan finally pulled me back in (I guess my heart always remained here) and I’ve been back in Japan close to 2.5 years now. I hope you can return again one day even if it is just for a holiday and to say hello to friends.

    • Thank you, John.
      You’ve been through all the cra* I’m currently going through already. I guess, you’re my senpai. *g*
      It must have been tough to leave Japan after 10 years. I certainly know that things would have been completely different if I had left Japan after only 1 year, but 7 years … or let it be a decade, that’s a different story.

      You’re brave for moving back and forth. It must have been very exhauting, but also rewarding at the same time.

      Like I said I’ll definitely come back to Japan to travel, meet friends, say hello to some of my former students … I just don’t know yet if I’ll be just a tourist or a resdient again. :ehehe:

  • お疲れ様でした! It’s hard to come back, but if you felt it was the right time then it was. Wishing you well for whatever the future holds!

    • Thank you so much!
      I think we’ve talked about that once via e-mail as I wondered what it felt like for you after leaving Japan.
      I guess I was already making up my mind back then. ^^;

      Just like you I cannot live without Japan and will be back one way or another. :thumbup:

  • Oh, ich wusste nicht, dass du bereits nach Deutschland umgezogen bist. Viel Glueck fuer deine Zukunftsplaene und viel Erfolg beim Bewaeltigen des “reversed culture shock” ^^;

    • Das wusste fast niemand. Ich hab erstmal Zeit für mich selber gebraucht, weil es doch ein holpriger Übergang war und der Kulturschock viel heftiger als erwartet war. (^__^”)

      Vielen lieben Dank, Hanna! :D

  • Hi Jasmine

    Stay positive, healthy and happy.

    Ladies over 30 and single is a new norm, and not a “Dead Dried Fish” :)


    • I really hope that this weird “image” of the “dried fish woman” will slowly die. I feel sorry for Japanese ladies who are over 30 and single. ;)

      And thank you so much! :music2:

  • Wow, what an announcement. Actually, I’ve heard/seen basically the same story from many people. Leaving on your own terms should be good for you in the long run. I wish you all the best !!

    • Well, the sad(?) truth is that most people end up leaving Japan.
      And it’s not like I’ve made up my mind to never move back to Japan. I’m just trying out something new here, but I fear I left my heart in Japan. emoticon
      But still I feel good about my decision as I know that for now it was the right thing to do.

      I’ve seen a lot of people leave because they were either forced to or because they gradually started to hate Japan. Very sad. :/

  • Aaah yes, good old reversed culture shock -__- I hope it didn’t hit you too hard! Best of luck with getting used to life in Germany again! Think about all those really long days in summer you will be able to enjoy :D

    • Oh, actually it hit me much hardter than I expected – which is ONE reason why I didn’t write about me leaving Japan immediately. I needed some time to process and get over the major shock first. I’ll definitely write about it in the near future. ^__^;

      That’s actually something I’m already enjoying! 8:30 p.m. and not dark yet. Woohooo!~ emoticon

      Thank you so much! ^__^

  • Ist es zu verrückt zu fragen, ob du dich mal auf nen Kaffee treffen würdest um so Face To Face zu reden? Möchte mich nach meinem Master auch gerne in Japan als Englischlehrerin bewerben :)

    • Verrückt finde ich das gar nicht. ^__^
      Kannst mir gerne mal eine Mail schreiben, dann sehen wir ja, ob wir einigermaßen in der Nähe voneinander wohnen. :D

  • I understand why you left, if I could take your place I would move in a heartbeat. I too love Japan, but things as there are (money) it will be sometime (if ever) before I will be able to move to Japan. Anyway take it one day at a time. Also I just turned 63 years. Good luck to you.

    • I bet. Back in the days I also wanted to live in Japan, but wasn’t sure if it would ever work out. I’m so happy it did.

      Hopefully you’ll get the chance to and Happy (belated) Birthday! emoticon

  • Otsukare-sama! I enjoyed your blog! I am Japanese and went to college for 2 years in US when I was 20. When I returned back to Japan, I had reverse culture shock as well!. Again I left Japan 27 years ago, since then my mind is getting (I don’t say exactly foreigner) but non-Japanese….
    I really enjoyed reading what was happening in Japan and your beautiful picture!
    Arigatou and I will continue to read your blog! When you visit US (I am in Ohio), please visit!
    Good luck to your new adventure!

    • I know exactly what you mean.
      My mind also somewhat turned Japanese and I think that’s part of why the reversed culture shock has been so bad. ^__^

      I’m happy to hear that. Please look forward to a lot more yet to come! :D

      I definitely will. Thank you! emoticon

  • Hello Jasmine,

    I’m happy for you and your decision. It’s a good thing to make oneself this choice. I wish you great success for your new projects and if you want to continue you castle hunting, there is many beautiful castles in Europe (and more especially in France :-)).

    Good luck !

    • Hey Julien!
      Thank you so much.
      Oh, don’t tempt me! I’ve already set my eyes on a few, but my passion will always belong to Japanese castles.
      If I happen to come to France, you’ll have to tell me about the best castles there. :D

      • Japanese castles are a great discover, you have right. They are unique.

        If you are in Europe in the beginning of July, our documentary will be screened during the big events Japan expo at Paris (july 2th), for the first time :-)

  • Ahhh….you already left!! Good luck on your new adventure. Your blog is very interesting and i hope you can write more trip reports. I am going there for the 4th year straight for vacation and i was going to ask if you wanted to meet up!!

    • WAAHH!! Too bad! :(
      I would have loved to meet up! Maybe there’ll be another chance, who knows? ^___^

      I will definitely write tons and tons of travel reports, there’s still so much I want to share. :D

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