Dubs abroad: Killester man on the staggering differences between Ireland and Japan

Published date15 January 2022
Publication titleDublinLive (Ireland)
It arguably doesn't get as culturally alien and geographically further from Ireland than Japan

Killester man Conor Nolan moved there before Christmas to teach English to Japanese students and has found the cultural differences to be staggering.

Living in an apartment in a town called Koriyama in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima, Conor revealed to Dublin Live how challenging yet rewarding his time in Japan has been so far.

Speaking about how he ended up there, he said: "I'm on something called the JET programme, which is basically a government sponsored programme to try get English speakers into the country. We teach anywhere from Montessori up to senior high school, like their Leaving Cert cycle.

"Our role is less to be a source of grammar and more so they can hear native English speakers and so that they can meet foreign people.

"Japan is around 98% Japanese people, so there's almost no immigrants or other foreign people compared to somewhere like America, the UK or even Ireland, which is way more multicultural.

"It's a good feeling especially after two years in Covid times. It felt super exciting."

Naturally, there are significant cultural differences Conor noticed after arriving which he had to adjust to.

He revealed: "Everyone is really conscious of each other's space. So on the trains, nobody talks. Not to each other, not on the phone, it's dead silence.

"All the advertising here is crazy, with crazy antics going on.

"The culture on the one hand is really conservative and traditional but then it's also super wacky. In every convenience store, there's porn magazines.

"A lot of the world has become really globalised and multicultural but Japan has held onto so many traditions and unique cultural festivals and customs that don't really exist anywhere else in the world.

"That's kind of why I chose Japan. It's as far away as possible from anything that I recognise."

One of the quirkiest things Conor has noticed is the amount of mascots in Japan. He said: "Anti-Covid...

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