Japan, to visit, or to put it more bluntly, as a country where you don't have to work, can be the safest, most peaceful, relaxing country you could be lucky enough to find yourself in. The people really are THAT polite, cherry blossoms really are THAT beautiful, Mt. Fuji really is, well, Mt. Fuji.
However, to work in? Not so relaxing, not so peaceful, and definitely not easy.
The hours are long, the commute is draining, and the vacation time is short - like way too short. In most cases, a few days during Golden Week, likewise for Obon, same for New Years. Not to mention, everyone is off during this time which means prices are at a premium, long queues are inevitable and this results in needing a vacation after your vacation.
Overtime isn't really a choice. It's your duty. Duty to your company, duty to your fellow worn out co-worker, duty to your boss, and duty to your boss's boss. Of course, you can leave at 5 or 6 if you must..
"Leaving already are you? I have so much work left."
"Buchou is still here and you're leaving?" Guess I can stay for a little longer...who needs their evenings off anyway?
If you have spent long enough working here, then inevitably, you start to question when does work stop and life begin? Or does it? Or are you just fighting the fact that you don't want your work to be your life? Would it be easier if you just conceded and let your work become your life?
Surely there is more to life than work, work, and then more overtime non-paid work?
Working for yourself in Japan is truly a liberating experience. It sets you free. Free from the commute that drains you. Free from the prescribed vacation time. Free from the buchou who never seems to want to go home. Free from the long hours that mutate you into a work obsessed robot who finds it easier to just do the extra work without question.
It goes without saying that working for yourself is not easy. How could it be? All decisions are yours, the hours are still long and the pressure can be immense. Why take the risk? Independence, control and freedom from the unpredictable decision-making of others are invaluable benefits. Motivation will come effortlessly. You are doing this for you and you alone. The excitement of self-reliance will push you each and every day to to the point where you will never look back. Not to mention the tax-breaks!
I won't lie: opening a new business in Japan as a foreigner is definitely a challenge. But with the right support, it’s just a process to be done - like in any other country.