Touchdown in Japan – Kyle’s Tips

Meet Kyle! Today Kyle talks about his (second) first impression as he and his wife land in Osaka and settle down! Kyle holds a JLPT N1 certificate – it is the highest level Japanese certificate available. He spent three years in Japan as an English teacher and completed his Japanese studies in Canada. Let’s take a look and see what he has for us today!

Hey guys. Kyle here. My wife and I just arrived in Japan a few days ago and there are a few things that are noticeably different from Vancouver, Canada. I mean… obviously.

Here are some things that have struck us as different so maybe you can relate. Some first impressions below.

First of all, the trains here are so long! I mean, in Vancouver the trains are two or four cars long at max. But in Japan, at least where I am in Osaka, the trains are usually at least eight cars long and run more frequently. So even though there are more people around, the trains aren’t usually overly full.

Another big difference that I’ve noticed, it’s crazy humid here (すごい蒸し暑い!/ sugoi mushiatsui). When I left Vancouver, it was around 14 or 15°. But upon arriving in Osaka, it was around 25° and really really humid. Luckily, we are just at the tail end of the humid season so I will be spared until next year.

As I walked around in Osaka city, I was once again struck by the fact that almost everyone is dressed so stylishly. I’m used to how it is in Vancouver and other places in Canada where it’s normal to dress super casually, unless you’re going to a fancy restaurant or somewhere like that. Personally I’ve never put too much thought into fashion, but still I’ve never really stood out too much. But here, I suddenly feel very self-conscious. I feel like I definitely need to go shopping. The pressure’s on but I’m looking forward to the new fashion challenge.


Another thing that I’ve noticed is that there are almost no tattoos, skateboards, piercings, or purple hair (with the exception of Osaka Obachan). This is a pretty stark contrast from Vancouver where at least one person in each train car or bus has tattoos and a skateboard in hand. 

The last thing that I will add today is that there are ads everywhere! Huge billboards on the side of the highway. Various ads playing in different sections of the supermarket. And an overwhelming saturation of flashy, colourful ads on the trains (these are good for reading practice by the way, though) – and even ON the trains! Also, as you can see in the photo at the top, billboards often cover the entire face of the buildings in the busy districts.

In the coming weeks as I get settled into my new home and life I will have many more first impressions that I will share. If you’re heading to Japan or planning to move to Japan in the future, it should help you get an overall impression of what to expect when you arrive. If you’re interested in moving to Japan, head over to and scroll down to Work or Study for more information! It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

But until then…..

乞うご期待 (kougo kitai)     //    Stay tuned!

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