Project: move to Kyoto

It started as an itch. It started during the COVID lockdown. I felt empty. I couldn’t project into any future. I thought that I didn’t have anything that I really want to do. A project that would drive me forward thought this strange time.

After some thinking and looking back at some notes, I found a really compelling idea that resonated emotionally with me. I wanted to change my surroundings to something new and do something special. I have been studying Japanese for more than 10 years, my wife is Japanese and after living together for 10 years in Paris and getting two children, I thought that a change in perspective would be good for our family.

It was about trying something new. It as about showing the kids that it was not scary to change and try new stuff. It was also about them being more into their Japanese culture. It was about me finally managing to get a good level of Japanese.

So I started thinking about it. What would it take to make it work? What about the job situation? What about the budget? What about the school?

Looking at it from the school perspective, it was important to me that the kids stay, at least at the beginning, in a French School system. Luckily, there are two French international school in Japan: one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto. I loved Kyoto and it seemed cheaper to live than Tokyo, so it was quickly selected.

After looking deeper into it, making sure that this is something I really wanted to do and that I felt that it would also benefit my family, I mentioned to my wife that I was entertaining the idea of maybe one day move to Japan, you know, just for a while. After the initial shock, it took some time for everybody around me to digest the idea, but they were agreeing. The kids also seemed to entertain the idea.

With that in mind, I looked at everything in terms of work option, legal, visa, budget, etc.

For the Visa, having a spouse visa was the easiest solution. It was quite an adventure in itself that I’ll write about later.

For the work, I already had a colleague that was doing one year remotely in different countries in Europe. So I thought that I’d ask my employer what his thought were for me working remotely in Japan. At least I’d know if I needed to find a job or not… luckily he was OK with the plan.

Initially we set the date for summer 2022, so that the kids wouldn’t miss school and it would be easier, but for a few reasons, we are living in December. Even if it was frustrating to me to have to postpone the move to December, I am convinced now that it was all for the best.

I wanted to record a few things and come back to the beginning, so the reality is that I won’t write the blog in order but go back to fill up the blanks of the previous month.

What an adventure. I am looking forward to every step.

Paris, August 20222

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