STEFAN – Work in Hokkaido – from Iceland

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Meet Stefan, a multifaceted actor, director, and podcaster from Iceland, currently residing in Sapporo, Japan. Passionate about Japanese culture, he enjoys exploring the country’s cuisine, nature, and traditional baths. Stefan dreams of creating a Viking film and excelling in podcasting while cherishing Japan’s opportunities. Join his journey!

Interview – Work in Japan

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Iceland

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

I am an actor, director, and a podcaster. I have taken part in 3 theatre performances in Tokyo as well as directed a short film. Then I record my own podcast show from home where I talk about living in Japan. It’s in Icelandic.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

Because it’s so different and so far away from Iceland. I love the food and the nature. I am also an avid sento and onsen fan and try to get into the sauna at least once a week.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

My wife is from Sapporo and we currently live there but we actually spent 1 year in Tokyo before. Sapporo is the best of both worlds – city and nature, and great food!

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

Clock Curry in Maruyama and Suage Soup Curry. In Tokyo I would have to recommend the Bakery Takupan in Toritsu daigaku which might be the best bakery in Japan.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

The aforementioned sento and onsen trips are my favorite. But in terms of traveling I would say the Seto Inland Sea as well as Yakushima are very impressive places.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEING IN JAPAN?

Not being able to fully integrate with society. It can be quite lonely, especially in big cities like Tokyo. Also, there are too many rules that make little sense whereas in some areas there is a lack of rules. For example, bicycle helmets are super rare but they save lives.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JAPAN AND YOUR COUNTRY?

The phrase: “Computer says no” is not common in Iceland but I feel it’s quite common in Japan. Icelanders have a way of bending rules to accommodate your needs but it’s all a bit stricter in Japan. Also, Icelanders don’t smoke.

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

Japan is my second home so living here has definitely offered me a lot of opportunities and experiences. I also feel more confident now than before as I know that if I can live a successful life as a foreigner in Japan, anything is possible.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

To make a viking film about the first settlers of Iceland. And to make the best podcast in Iceland. And to build a cabin in the countryside. And to debut on some of the big stages in Iceland.

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

Just do it! Everybody wants to go to Japan but relatively few people do. It’s not difficult and Japan is probably the best country in the world to visit.

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

By talking to Japanese people and watching Japanese TV dramas. I also spent a year with a Japanese host family and have a Japanese wife.


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