Asia, Travel

D-7 before Japan

One week before departure: we’re going to Japan for 2 months! We chose two cities where we’ll stay a month: Osaka and Tokyo.

We’ve been telling the news to a few people recently, and for a large majority the reaction is: “Why Japan ?”.
Followed very closely by “Why 2 months ?” and “But what are you going to do there all this time?”.

But so: why Japan ?

The show answer is: “why not?”. Frustrating but correct. After all, how can anyone NOT want to go to Japan ? One can find:

  • one of the best cuisines in the world
  • manga
  • hot spring/public baths
  • the bullet train, shinkansen
  • katanas
  • Mount Fuji
  • etc.

You have to be aware that all the countries I visited so far are all western, so yeah! the eastern part of the world is appealing! And we also have an acquaintance or two to visit in Japon (I know I should have mentioned that first). What better way to visit a country than being guided by locals?

La preuve que j’ai grandi avec la culture japonaise! (Spécial dédicace à Shiryû, j’espère qu’il se reconnaîtra dès qu’il saura lire)

And why 2 months?

Last year, while I was sipping a nice Dodo on my native island, came to me a thought about travelling, or rather, the way people travel.
What people call “travelling” nowadays, mostly means taking three weeks off a year in order to march through an almost military circuit, optimized for not-to-be-missed places. The remaining of the year being spent working for financing the so-called “vacation”.

In other words travel = tourism. Relatively recently in mankind’s history, travelling has increasingly become an industry, and now vacation circuits are sold just as any other consumer product. We go to a postcard place, we snap a picture and check! we did it, one less on the list, next.

Was this always this way? How did people travel before mass tourism?

A not so long time ago, people didn’t take a plane, they took the boat. They didn’t leave for weeks, they left for months, years, even. There is a fundamental difference between working in order to travel, and travelling in order to work. In order to study, to get and education. In order to meet new people..

Travelling without meeting the other, is not travelling, it is just being in another place. Alexandra David Neel

However this way of thinking implies a different cost, and saying we leave for 2 months instead of 3 weeks means re-defining all the rules, and not only budget-wise. Which allows me to answer the next question:

What are you going to during these 2 months ?

Lily already made the choice of self-employment several years ago, in a entirely seasonal field that imposes her to physically be present in France during summer. The rest of the year, she theoretically can work from anywhere in the world as long as she has an internet connection.

On my side, I am very lucky (it’s also a choice, I shall say) to have the skills for creating mobile applications. And I have tons of ideas, so I decided to take time off my “real job” and give my main idea a chance. I will reveal this idea in due time. Because of this “real job”, where I’m employed as a developer, we only leave for 2 months and not 6: I kept all my vacation days of 2018 to make this trip in Japan!

So that means you’re only going to work instead of visiting ?!

We’re going to do both, but mostly work.

This trip is experimental, in the sense that it’s the first time we both try to adjust our lifestyle, abroad, so that it doesn’t mean having so much extra cost compared to when we’re at home in France.

The idea is to work a “standard” week, 5 days of work followed by 2 days of rest. If we list all the factors that can make a difference abroad/at home:

  • Lodging. To ease the expenses in Japan, we had to turn to the house sharing option. I’ll get back to that point in detail in the post on our budet
  • Workplace. No office in Japan, obviously. The plan is to go to cafés like Starbucks, with power outlets, an internet connection and cozy enough table/chair, and consume at least as possible while working for as long as necessary.
  • Transportation. This will be a major spending difference because in France we only have little expenses on that department. As mentioned on points #1 and #2, if we find a nice working spot filling all the criteria, then we might come back regularly, walking there if possible!
  • Food. In France, if we want to save money we cook our meals oursvels and bring them to the office. Or for the lucky ones, go back home to eat them. Sharing house means it’s difficult to do just like home. Fortunately, reading a bit on Japan tells us that food is cheaper there so we count on that to not go over the budget. Plus, we are absolutely determined to taste Japanese food as much as possible 🍣
  • Going out. This is where we make the most of our time in a totally different country where everything is new! On nights and week-ends, no need to go far to find new stuff to explore/eat/experience!

Do you have a budget ?

I think the post “Notre budget pour le Japon” answers this question. Otherwise, we might have a big problem with the editorial line of this blog…

OK, but I still have a question🤔

Glad our project makes you curious!

We love to answer all sorts of questions, do not hesitate to ask them either on our Instagram page, or by email: See you soon!