ANA – Work in Aichi Japan – from Spain

travelife japan

Meet Ana, an English teacher from Spain drawn to Japan by childhood memories and a fascination with its culture and Pokémon craze. From Ōgaki to Nagoya, she explores craft beer bars and quaint towns, grappling with language barriers and societal norms while cherishing introspection and dreaming of a shorter workweek.

Interview – Story in Japan

Q&A

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Spain.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

English Teacher.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

My parents traveled a lot because of work and I traveled to Japan a few times throughout my childhood. I was fascinated with the architecture, the atmosphere at shrines, the craziness of the neon-lit city streets, and…POKÉMON. The last time I came here as a kid was in 1998, right when the whole Pokémon craze was a thing in Japan. I remember going into a shopping mall and seeing Pokémon EVERYTHING. I became a hardcore gamer at a very young age so that memory of this crazy dystopian video gamey country always stuck with me and I had been wanting to come back since.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

At first, I lived in Ōgaki, Gifu. It is a cute little city with amazing landscapes, but after two years of having to bike everywhere no matter the weather conditions and living so isolated with the added stress of covid, I decided to move to Nagoya so I could meet people and have more things to do. Nagoya is a great place to live in, the craft beer bar scene is very lively and it is an affordable city to live in, I also get very stressed with crowds so I appreciate living in a city that doesn’t have much tourism.

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

My top 3 craft beer bars are Binge (close to Nagoya station) it’s a rooftop bar that has live DJs from time to time and a huge assortment of craft beer, Callejera (close to Kanayama station) the craft beer variety isn’t as big as Binge but the interior of the place is awesome and they serve pretty decent tacos and burritos, and last but not least there is Trunk (Kamimaezu station) it’s atmosphere is great and they also serve really good coffee.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

Traveling! Even the quaintest town has something interesting, it could be the local delicacies, a local urban legend, an old shrine dedicated to a strange kami, or old shops with unexpected treasures (I once got an unopened set of Evangelion laser discs from the ‘90s for 1000¥ at an old toy store shaped like a castle in the middle of nowhere in Gifu). If you have a friend with a car (or own a car yourself) do stop at random towns during your road trips! It’s definitely worth it!

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEING IN JAPAN?

Language barrier and my sexuality. As a lesbian it is very hard to date in Japan, it is still a very traditional country with old-fashioned family values, so a lot of people here live closeted lives.

DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS?

I feel that because of covid and the language barrier, I did spend a lot of time alone. It allowed me to become a lot more introspective and get to know myself a lot, allowing me to see myself, my life and my future a lot more clearly. This has made me decide that after 4 years living here my time here is up, and that I want to go back to my home country to spend time with the people I love.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

I don’t really have a personal dream, but I do really wish to live to see the day when we all have a four-day workweek! I’m sure that would make my life a whole lot happier!

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

Ramen is great but don’t sleep on Tsukemen, chicken neck and chicken cartilage are delicious, don’t play pachinko, strong zero is not your friend and get a Ukon drink from the conbini before hitting the bars 😉

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

Watching children’s anime such as Doraemon or Crayon Shin Chan in Japanese and learning from my students during their Japanese class at my school!


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