Teaching Abroad in Tokyo: Lilah’s Journey Begins!

Hey future globetrotters! My name is Lilah and I am just beginning my first year of teaching abroad in Tokyo, Japan. I’ll be posting a blog here every month to share my experiences as a teacher in Japan. Follow along for the journey!

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About me

I am 21 years old from the United States. This is my second time living in Asia (I really enjoyed my semester studying in Korea and was jumping at the opportunity to return!) and my third time living abroad on my own. In my free time, I love to snowboard, go secondhand shopping, and spend time outside! I have always really loved Japanese culture and it has been a goal of mine to live here long-term since I was super young. I love matcha, sashimi, anime, and cherry blossoms. One thing I would really love to do while I am here this next year is to climb to the top of Mount Fuji! 

Background and Education

Last year, I graduated from university with a degree in International Relations with a focus on the region of East Asia and I knew I wanted to supplement my education with experience working abroad. Teaching seemed like the natural course of action to take and I’m super grateful for the chance to apply what I have learned in school as well as my previous experiences living in other countries to my current adventure! Truthfully, I never really imagined myself taking a position like this so early in my professional career, but I couldn’t be happier that I did! While I am still very new to my role, teaching has so far been an unexpectedly fulfilling experience, and I can’t wait to continue learning and growing both in work and as a person. 

Documenting My Travels

Throughout all of my travels, one of my favorite things to do has been documenting my experiences through taking photos and videos. I enjoy taking as much content as I can so that when I look back on my experiences, I can get lost in the feeling of what it was like to actually be there. It’s also really important to me to help other people gain the same opportunities – when I came across the Japan Ambassador position with Travel Bud, I knew I had to apply to try and combine these two interests into a single role. Getting to share my travels while also helping orient prospective teachers to Japan has been so fulfilling, and I am so excited to continue my work!

Cultural Adjustments

Since this is my second time visiting Japan, I was not super shocked initially by a lot of the cultural and language barrier aspects of living here as a foreigner. However, there are definitely some changes that take getting used to as a resident that you don’t experience as often as a tourist! One such example for me would be doing laundry: in the US, it is very uncommon for the average person to not have both a washing machine and a clothes dryer right in their home. In Japan (and in many other countries), a clothes dryer is a rarity, and each load of laundry must be hung outside over the balcony for nearly an entire day to completely dry! This has definitely taken my American self some getting used to, but I have found that it has forced me to do my chores with patience and care rather than the quickest way possible. 

Another major difference between Japan and Western countries is the respect for public spaces and the people who inhabit them. Japanese society is very conscious of keeping communal spaces clean, quiet, and ready to use for the next person, which is a breath of fresh air compared to most places in the States, where the general attitude is very individualistic and self-serving. I really admire and enjoy participating in this aspect of East Asian culture and I always use this as my example of a positive instance of culture shock!

I am looking forward to continuing to experience life in Japan and to share my adventures with you all along the way!

For more info about the Teach in Japan Program, click here.

About Frances Mignonne Weiner

Franci, our Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager, brings a unique blend of creativity to TravelBud. At 23, she holds a degree in Humanities from Stellenbosch University and is currently completing her postgraduate studies in Sustainable Development. Born and raised in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa—a beautiful coastal town nestled in the heart of the Garden Route—Franci is an ocean and mountain lover at heart. When she's not crafting captivating visuals for TravelBud, you can find Franci frolicking in the mountains, trail running, or swimming in the ocean.
Filed under  Teacher Diaries • Japan 

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