Hi! I’m Delilah and I’m a Tokyo-based content creation specialist and blogger at the luxury travel and expat blog www.fleurdelilah.com. My husband and I live in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s biggest nightlife and entertainment districts. On my blog, I share our luxury travel and expat life adventures. You can find inspiring photos, luxury reviews, and insider tips and advice on expat life. And email subscribers get freebies! You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
How long have you lived in Tokyo as an expat?
Originally from New York, I moved to Japan for university and have lived here ever since. 2018 marks my seven-year anniversary living here!
How many countries have you lived in as an expat?
Japan is the only country I’ve lived in as an expat. I have done a summer semester in Rome, though!
What made you decide to move to Japan as an expat?
I’ve been interested in Japanese culture from a young age. It started with ninjas and anime (not too original, huh?) and expanded to pop culture and music as I got older. When I reached highschool and began thinking about my future, I saw university as an opportunity to travel.
What were your biggest fears of moving?
What if I hate it? *laughs* My dad was really supportive and just reminded me if I hate it I can always transfer back. But that clearly wasn’t necessary!
How do you keep in contact with friends and family and do you get to see them often?
One of the best things about being an expat is that you make friends from all over the world! I keep in touch with my friends and family using VoiP, chat groups on messaging apps, social media—the usual stuff.
Did you encounter any immigration or visa issues ?
I don’t know how it is in other countries, but Japan is pretty strict with immigration policy and visas. Immigration is always a headache.
How do you make you living as an expat in Japan?
I’m a freelance content creator. I worked in-house previously, but the wages in Japan have been stagnant in the past years and I’m fortunate to have a partner who supports my freelance career.
As an expat in Japan, do you speak the language? Any Tips?
I speak conversational Japanese, although it is far from perfect. Unlike some other countries, Japan is a very difficult place to live in if you don’t speak the language. You need Japanese to get by everyday and to connect with the culture.
As an expat, I think it’s so important to learn at least a bit of the local language. Take classes, pick up textbooks, download apps—find a method that works for you! I totally use karaoke to practice reading kanji. I recently got the Wii U Joysound Karaoke game and am OBSESSED.
How do rate the cost of living in Japan as an expat?
The cost of living in Japan is quite high but is similar to other world class cities like New York or Paris. But one thing that is ridiculously expensive is cheese—a block of 250g of cheese costs upwards of JPY 2,000! Oh, and the JPY10,000 melons? Yea, that’s a thing. I don’t buy melons.
What is the tax system there like?
Japan has a progressive tax system—so the more you earn, the more you pay. And it’s pretty hefty, with the highest tax bracket paying somewhere around 40 to 50 percent. On the positive side, many companies will do your taxes for you if you work for them full time!
What have been some of the pros and cons about living in Japan as an expat?
I love living in Japan. The healthcare, the food, the toilets! Life is great here. But some of the intangible aspects of life can be difficult to adapt to, like work culture and gender roles.
Do you have any tips for people that might want to visit or move to Japan?
Research! You’re going to have a huge culture shock visiting Japan and an even bigger one if you move here. Here are a 11 things to know about life in Japan.
Can you give any insights into the local culture/customs where you live as an expat. How important is it for people to be aware of these when living or visiting here?
The Japanese people treasure their local culture and customs. Don’t be a Logan Paul.
Do you travel around from this destination where you are living as an expat? What are some places you have visited from here / any countries close by that you recommend / what are the travel costs like to these places?
Japan is perfectly located for travel all around Asia and the Pacific. You can find really affordable flights on budget airlines to South Korea, Hong Kong, and even Malaysia! Many of the budget airlines fly out of Narita, so just make sure you book a flight late enough to take the train to the airport. I made that mistake once and had to take a taxi there. It was not cheap.
Traveling around Japan is another option. Although residents aren’t eligible for the JR Pass, we love going outside Tokyo. Recently, my husband has gotten me into skiing. And while there are great places to ski near Tokyo, I love going to Hokkaido to ski!
How is the nightlife where you live? Any recommendations?
Japan isn’t known for its nightlife, but we still have some great bars and clubs! I live near Kabukicho so that’s my current go-to nightlife area, but I’ve also lived by the entertainment districts in Shibuya and Roppongi. Regardless of which neighborhood you choose, a true night out in Tokyo is all-night karaoke!
How do you spend your time off or your weekends here?
My weekends are spent with my husband. Typically, we love to walk around town and eat out. Tokyo is great for foodies; with more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, you can find just about any kind of food you crave.
What is the climate like where you live?
Tokyo has four seasons, but our winters don’t see much snow and our summers are extremely humid.
Please share one QUOTE.
甘い物は別腹 (pronounced: amai mono wa betsu bara)
This Japanese phrase translates to:
“There’s always room for dessert!”
[amazon_link asins=’1786570351,B0763HVBD4,1979741646,1786572362,4805309660,0241256755′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’digitaltrav0b-20′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’154ce789-3436-11e8-8acb-a7b9f44ab0df’]
To feature in our Expats Series: Please Email Us: [email protected]