ZIM – Work in Okayama Japan – from United Kingdom

travelife japan

Meet Zim, founder of @youngcrouchtravels, a UK native teaching English in Okayama, Japan. Fascinated by Japanese culture since childhood, Zim explores local sports, festivals, and nightlife. Overcoming language barriers, Zim aims to bridge cultural divides, leaving a positive impact on Japanese youth. Embrace Japan’s surprises and stereotypes, advises Zim.

Interview – Story in Japan

Q&A

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

United Kingdom

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

Travel, vlog and teach English.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

My name is Zimuzo, founder of @youngcrouchtravels I’ve been interested in Japan since childhood due to my love for Nintendo games, anime, and Samurai/ninja stories. My passion for Japanese culture only increased as I grew older.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

I intended to move to the Greater Tokyo region, but it was my company that placed me in Okayama City, which I’m proud to represent because I would probably not have visited Okayama if I had not moved here. It’s a relatively small town, but surprisingly diverse due to it having an international university campus by the city center, and many international bars/pubs. It is on the Shinkansen network, and the train services between different towns within the prefecture are very good, however, in Okayama-shi you would need to take a bus or bicycle to get to where you need to go.

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

There are 4 main sports teams representing the city: Fagiano Okayama (football ⚽️), Okayama Seagulls (volleyball 🏐) Okayama Tryhoops (basketball 🏀) and Okayama Rivets (table tennis 🏓) Visit the ZIP arena or the Citylight Stadium if you’re interested in sports and seeing them play.

In August, there is a street festival that consists of many local dancers dancing to a traditional song for Okayama called “Uraja” and doing the specific dance steps called “Soudori”. The local residents are invited to dance along at the end.

Okayama Castle is truly iconic and there’s a beautiful botanical garden too. It’s known for peach 🍑 and grapes 🍇 due to the history of the city.

Bamboo Bar is a cool spot with old-school, soulful music playing in the background. It has quite a mixed group of customers and a nice selection of cocktails. Aussie Bar is nice and is more of an international spot. Rude Boy is a reggae-inspired spot filled Japanese locals who live and breathe Jamaicansculture. Cheap drinks, and good vibes. Coppacabana is a Brazilian bar with good food and a balcony to eat at. We tend to buy drinks from a store and drink by the canal. There is a huge shopping center called AEON mall, right next to the station, which also has a cinema.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

I enjoyed traveling around the country and interacting with the locals + getting to learn about their perspectives on life. I recreated photos from iconic locations/notable anime scenes that were based on real places. That was a fun objective to achieve. I also set an objective to see as many Japanese castles as possible and to collect as many train station stamps in my train station passport book as possible. Finally, interacting with the kids that I taught was very satisfying.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEING IN JAPAN?

Language barrier: Not being able to delve deeper into the culture + difficulty in establishing a romantic love interest with a Japanese partner.

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

I’ve built connections for life and I’ve developed skills that I’ve never used or had before. So the answer to this question has not been written yet… time will tell.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

To have a significant impact on bridging the gap between various cultures around the world. I want to leave a positive effect on the Japanese children that I taught so that they would have a greater knowledge and better perception of Nigerian + British culture as they grow up. I would love to be a reference for them in the future if they ever make the big move of leaving the country because they are able to speak English.

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

Buckle up and embrace the journey! There are some preconceptions you may have had of Japan that you realise are simply not true if you stay here for a couple of years. But you may be even more surprised that many of the stereotypes you have come across online or from anime ARE TRUE! 😆 hint: the super-expressive, cartoon-like reactions are in fact realistic!

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

I use Duolingo as well as having a tutor at the International Centre of my town. Learning the writing system symbols each day is important. I started with Hiragana, and then I moved to Kanji. Try to interact with locals at the conbini stores or with people that you work with and pick up on the Japanese phrases that they use. YouTube videos and podcasts on streaming services are very helpful too.


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