Considering moving to Japan

I’m Ali and I own/manage a Ruby on Rails development consultancy called Happy Bear Software. I’m currently in the UK and because the world has gone completely bonkers here, I’m considering moving to Japan in the near future.

For context, I originally went to Japan in 2006 on the JET programme, did a year in Iwate prefecture, then a year at Berlitz in Tokyo, got married, and then moved back to London, mostly because I didn’t really like the idea of being an English teacher for ever. In London I became a Ruby developer, started contracting, and that eventually grew into the agency I own/run now.

I don’t have any specific questions, just wanted to say hello. I’m not sure whether I will continue running the agency after I move to Japan (though we’re 100% remote, so in theory it should be doable). Another option I suppose would be to just start fresh as a Ruby Developer/Development manager sort of role. At the moment I’m keeping an open mind.

Any thoughts, comments, queries, suggestions etc appreciated!

I’m not sure if Japan is any less crazy than the rest of the world. Things like the reinterpretation of the constitution to allow military to fight overseas, lack of compassion towards refugees (only 11 people were given asylum in 2014!), and the erosion the free press all lead me to worry about the future of Japan. Part of the problem is the apathy of people towards politics here, but that also makes the situation easier to ignore. Don’t get me wrong, I love living here, but I’d be careful to avoid thinking the grass is greener here, as I think life in Japan comes with its own set of challenges.

If you have a consultancy that you think you could run here as well, I’d recommend trying it in the beginning. While there are some great opportunities to be had here in Tokyo, they can be a bit hard to find. So keeping the consultancy would allow give you a bit of breathing room while you get into the local community.

When you do make it over here, be it just visiting, or more permanently, I’d welcome you to give a presentation at the Ruby event I organize. You could also submit a proposal to RubyKaigi, the main Ruby conference in Japan. The more connections you have to the local dev community, the smoother the move will go if you do decide to pull the trigger.