Welcome to "Surviving in Japan!" 

Are you new to Japan? Or have you been living here a while?

Maybe you're fluent, already know some Japanese, or you have no idea what hiragana and katakana are.

Whether you're new, still learning Japanese, or even an experienced Japan resident, Surviving in Japan covers common problems expats and travelers face in Japan, but goes one step further to provide unique how-tos and uncommon resources you won't find anywhere else.

Yes, the internet has a lot of resources about life in Japan, and many of them are helpful. However, when I was preparing to move to Japan, these resources only helped a little. And a lot of them turned out to be wrong.

It was after I got here that I realized most of the things I needed to know how to do, a bank transfer, how to read food labels, or how to request a redelivery, weren't anywhere to be found online or in books.

So, through blood, sweat and tears (or maybe just bouts of anxiety), I taught myself how to do these things. And I'm compiling this knowledge - how to "survive in Japan" - in this blog, for you. Because I know how frustrating it can be not knowing. Not understanding. And spending a lot of time and effort just trying to make things work, somehow.

Please make yourselves at home! Feel free to browse around and check out the how-to guides. If you have a specific question or idea, head over to the contact link above.

Also, don't hesitate to leave a comment and share your own experiences. Ideally, this blog should be something shared by all of you, those who are also "surviving" in this rather unique country. My thoughts only offer one perspective - what are yours?

Who am I? 

I'm Ashley--former Japan expat and editor of this site. Former columnist for The Japan Times (two years). For more about what I do, feel free to check out and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest (Washington state, U.S.A.), I took a giant leap across the ocean after finishing my undergrad work. Taught with the JET program from 2008 to 2010. I'm always on the lookout for new and helpful resources in Japan--hopefully this site will hold something useful for you.

Have questions? Ideas? Just want to chat? Feel free to e-mail me: ashley@survivingnjapan.com.

If you like the writing, photos, or information you see here, feel free to contact me about freelance work. Or, if you want to do a blog guest post exchange - let's chat!


Time Out Tokyo
The Japan Times
Bad Communication Podcast
Tokyo Podcast


Disclaimer: I don't presume to know everything possible about Japan. This blog is to publicize my findings from both experience, research, and personal knowledge, along with the experiences and knowledge of others who may choose to share.

As of now, I am not fluent in Japanese, but well on my way and regularly studying it so that I can understand Japan and the culture better. I believe that learning the language of the culture you're living in is essential, and as such I am devoted to learning Japanese. Any Japanese I use here I check using a dictionary, my fluent husband or native speakers. All that said, the "without much Japanese" is my goal to make things easier for those who don't know any at all or just starting out, etc.

The primary reason I have this blog is so I can help others and share the things I wish I had known when coming to Japan. I will not promote things on this blog that I disagree with, would ruin my credibility, or mislead readers.

Regarding comments: I welcome discussion and opposing viewpoints. I will delete spammy or negative comments that are not constructive for any kind of conversation. I realize this may seem partially subjective, but I wish to keep a friendly atmosphere for all who visit, both new and returning. If you have more specific questions regarding any of this, please feel free to contact me.