In The Beginning…

Tokyo TowerIt is around some time last year, that the option of working in Japan was available in my company. There was quite a number of instances where God’s fingerprint was in it so I floated this idea to my wife. Upon hearing it, she said:

“I think you miss Japan, miss travelling too much and not thinking right.”

And to be honest, she might be right. So I put that thought and try not to think too much about it. Then somewhere around April this year (2021), the inner prompting rise up again so I told my wife:

“I think God is really opening up door for us to work in Japan.”

At that point of time, she also confirmed that she also felt it. That’s when we decided we should seriously plan for the big move. It does not make sense for us to just be there for 1 or 2 years, so both of us felt 3 to 5 years will be a good period to experience life in Japan.

Once we settled on the plan, there are 3 important consideration that we started to think and look into.

1)  Our House in Singapore and Our House in Japan.

Christmas 2019
Christmas at our home in 2019.

This is probably one of the most important item that is in our consideration. We know the possibility of us coming back after our stint in Japan is going to be high, so our initial thought was that we want the house to be in good order, minimal damage and well taken care of while we are in Japan. So that means we need someone whom we can trust to take charge of the house. First option was to rent it to someone whom we know and have he/she to do the task, second option was to have my mother-in-law to stay in our house, occupy the master bedroom and rent out the other two rooms. However, considering the rental feel that we will incurred while we are in Japan, we concluded that we need to maximise the rental that we will generate through our house in Singapore.

With that in mind, it will not be realistic for us to expect the house to be in a good state. So with some advice from my wife’s uncle, we decided to rent out the whole house in the hope to gaining some good profit and from the profit, we will take some out to refurbish our house when we are back.

I also started looking at the different properties in Japan and realised that it will be more financially prudent to not look at any space that is comparable to our house in Singapore. That brings us to either getting a 1LDK or 2LDK apartment. For a lower rental cost, not staying within the central Tokyo is a must, but at the same time, it can’t be too outskirt of Tokyo as the travelling time could take too long.

So my selection now narrowed down to a distance of 30mins travelling time. As much as possible, we also want to stay in a good environment even though we want to keep our rental at a max of $2000 SGD per month. Based on the rental , choosing a 1LDK will offer us more option but staying in a bigger area will be more comfortable. But regardless 1LDK or 2LDK, landlords will not entertain any request more than a month away from the move in date. So the plan will then be renting a temporary place for 1 to 2 months while searching for a more permanent location.

2) Jobs, Career and Income.

D&D in 2019. Group photo with my colleagues.

This is an easy one for me as I already have my job placing planned by my company. However, the challenge comes from my wife’s company. At the point of writing, she hasn’t gotten any transfer opening in her company. As our proficiency of Japanese is only around N5, it is important that her job in Japan has to be English as the main language. At the same time, as a foreigner, it will be difficult for us to work in a company with local culture and as much as I love Japan, I dislike their local working culture. Assuming she could not find a job before our move, it will be based on my single income for an estimate of a year while she goes full time Japanese study till she gets the N2 certification. If it is single income, every cents counts then.

That brings us to taxation. Comparing with Singapore, Japan has alot more tax, and higher too. Singapore has a treaty with Japan on income tax arrangement. If I were to pay income tax in Singapore, then I will not need to pay in Japan. However, there is still the 6% prefecture tax and 4% town tax which is compulsory for anyone staying in Japan. On top of that, 10% of your salary will go to the compulsory health insurance, plus around 38,000 YEN for your pension. So the consideration for me will be to paid by Japan office or Singapore office. This affects my take home income and will be a key factor to decide if we are to depend on single income for a year.

3) God and the Church Community

Japan is not famous for Church Community. Even as we felt there is an open opportunity, we told God that ultimately, it has to be His call to bring us there. As much as we are excited for the opportunity to work and live there, we want the move there to be a meaningful journey. We asked God to give us His purpose there and around July, God spoke to both of us early August this year what He has for us. Without speaking to one another in advance, God told us separately that we will open up a fellowship for the Gaijin Christian Community. It was a very God moment and we knew as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He will provide.

As I end this first post of our journey, I pray that whoever is reading this will find this useful. If you have any advice, be it our move to Japan or even the information in this blog, please feel free to comment. I would really love to hear from you. So, till next post, in a weeks’ time! Jya!

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