Have you ever dreamed of living and travelling in Japan? We don’t hear much about it, but Canadians between the ages of 18 and 30 can get a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) to stay and work for up to 12 months in the Land of the Rising Sun! That means you don’t have to burn all your money to admire Mount Fuji, walk in a bamboo forest or stuff your face with sushi in Tokyo! Since Japan is known for being a more expensive destination, you can finance your trip by working locally. To inspire you to go to Japan, Jérémie (Montrealer, UQAM Art Graduate, 25 years old, a hair over 6 feet) told us about his four-month WHV experience in Tokyo’s job market.
- Name of the WHV country: Japan
- Name: Jérémie
- Last Name: Landreville
- Age: 25 years old
- Hometown: Montréal, Qc
- Period of the WHV: January 2018 to May 2018
- Instagram handle: @jeremielandr
What Drove You to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Japan?
I had always dreamed of studying or working in Japan since the start of my studies. I had a strong interest in learning the culture and language of the archipelago.
How Did Your Family and Friends React to Your Decision to Work and Travel in Japan?
Everyone around me saw this experience as a great opportunity and encouraged me to try it.
Why Did You Choose Japan as a Destination for Your WHV?
Japan has always fascinated me with its history and culture and the tourist attractions offered to its visitors. The central role that design and artisanal crafts play in this culture has fascinated me as an art student since the beginning of CEGEP (French Canadian technical college).
Did You Save Some Money Before Leaving? How Much?
The minimum amount at that time for obtaining the WHV was $2,500 in addition to a return ticket. I quickly paid off my credit card debts and saved the necessary amount.
What Are the First Things You Did When You Arrived in Japan?
The first thing I did was go to the room I had rented on Craigslist, which I was sharing with two roommates. I had to prepare for the next days because I was meeting my future colleagues for the first time at the beginning of my internship.
What Steps Did You Take to Find a Job?
During a previous trip to Japan, I had the chance to participate in a digital creation workshop with Touchdesigner. I met the technical director of a Japanese studio there. When I arrived in Japan with my WHV, I met this local contact again. After seeing my portfolio, he offered me a four-month internship. This is how I was welcomed in a Japanese multimedia studio in Tokyo—the dream!
What Work Experience Did You Have During Your WHV?
Thanks to my internship at this Tokyo agency, I worked on many digital installation design projects all over the country. It was a paid internship, which allowed me to live in Tokyo, a city known for its high cost of living.
Would You Say That the Money Earned During Your WHV Was Enough to Cover Your Cost of Living?
With my savings and revenue from my internship, I was able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, but rents are nonetheless very expensive in Tokyo. The Sharehouses and Sakura houses are even more costly, so I barely survived financially, but an experience like that is priceless!
Where Did You Travel in Japan During Your Working Holiday Visa and What Was Your Favourite Place?
I was able to visit the city of Kyoto during my stay in Tokyo. I saw this visit as a real moment of relaxation in contrast to the hectic pace of the city of Tokyo.
Share an Anecdote or Travel Story From Your Experience in Japan:
An unforgettable moment for me was my first experience with nato, a kind of fermented bean and traditional dish that requires an iron gut. Being someone who can eat just about anything, I was surprised, to say the least, that this little dish nearly made me gag. To be tried, but not for the faint of heart!
What Was the Most Rewarding Part of Your Stay Abroad?
Definitely the discovery of the Japanese language and trying to learn it.
Did You Return Home With Savings or Debts?
I came back with a little debt because my savings for the trip just cut it.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Who Would Like to Get a Working Holiday Visa for Japan?
Learn as much Japanese as you can before leaving. Once there, you’ll quickly realize that an intermediate or expert level in Canada is actually more like a beginner level in Japan. Language is often a challenge for the more typical and local activities of the country.