If you want advice about work and commuting in Tokyo, you’ve got loads to choose from. What if you work in a different area of Japan?
I can't speak for those in the countryside, or anyone braving the heat of Okinawa or the cold of Hokkaido. What I can do is tell you a bit about Osaka.
Japan's second-largest city has a reputation for being both more laid back and straight-talking. So your Kansai-based mates aren't gonna mince their words, but they're probably also super chill.
I've done some work in both Tokyo and Osaka. I imagine I'll find more differences between them once I've worked here longer, but until then here are 3.
Osaka’s subway system involves some form of time travel
How can I leave 5+ minutes later than I did the day before, wait around for trains, and still arrive 3 minutes sooner?
Commuting in London always felt like it took forever. Staring out of windows, trying not to make eye contact with anyone for 45 agonising minutes. My journey to work in Osaka gives me minutes of my day back. Trying to work out the best time to leave the house is a nightmare.
On the other hand, when it's time to go home I absolutely love this commute. Don't let anyone tell you a job in Japan can't give you a decent work-life balance.
You won't be pushed onto a train – but you might be pushed off it
You'd be forgiven for having this image of Japanese trains as always packed to the gills. Don't get me wrong, Osaka is busy at times and rush hour's no walk in the park.
What I can say is that I've never been squished, crushed, smooshed or squashed on a train during my time in Kansai. Tokyo and Yokohama were a different story. Make of that what you will.
Don't get too comfortable in that relatively roomy carriage, though. If you're standing in front of someone who wants to get off, get ready to move. And probably not of your own volition.
The office is more likely to be an office
Morning! Oh, sorry, I think I accidentally walked into your stationery cupboard. Really sorry about that. If you could just redirect me to your proper office and my desk, that'd be great.
Wait, this is your entire office space?
Tokyo rents are high, and space can be scarce. I've visited offices that would inspire claustrophobia. People working in converted apartments because they were the cheapest option.
In Osaka, it's a completely different story. The office I work in now has enough open floor space that I could cartwheel through it.
When you're at work, what works for you?
I'd love to hear from people who work in other parts of Japan.
Is there anything that makes working there unusual? Live next door to your boss? Office cat? Never-ending supply of snacks from the HR lady?