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Freelancing in Tokyo: Showing Up

Posted by David Chester on 21 February 2012

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Mikan Skin

Showing up. Seems like a simple concept, doesn't it? And yet, I find here in Tokyo that many foreigners who want to partake of all the great freelance opportunities often can't be bothered with doing what it takes.

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Why Are You Here?

Posted by David Chester on 6 February 2012

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Shamisen Goddess
"Why are you here?" You will be asked variations of this question at some point while you are in Japan. The most common one might be "Why did you come to Japan?" This might seem a fair enough question, but it has always bothered me. I understand why Japanese people ask it. Many of them have asked me, "Isn't it difficult here? Isn't it expensive? Isn't it crowded? Do you really like the food?" They perhaps cannot understand why a non-Japanese person would actually want to come to Japan and make some kind of life for himself/herself... knowing, as they do, the challenges that await. (Remember, just because they are Japanese doesn't mean it is any easier for them to live here. They have to get on the crowded trains and live in small apartments, too.)

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Message stays the same

Posted by David Chester on 16 January 2012

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Bowls

Two weeks into the new year, my message on this website and in my book remains the same: It's up to you. I still meet people here in Tokyo who seem completely unaware of other job opportunities that they are most likely suitable for, such as voiceovers, editing, commercial/model work, magazine/newspaper writing. It's not a big mystery, folks; it's all there waiting for you if you want to take the time to explore the options. So, again, FIT offers all the information you need to hit the ground running in Tokyo, and if you don't want to read the book, at least check out the Helpful Websites section to see the myriad ways you can interact with this wild 'n crazy city, make your presence known and get going.

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Freelancing in Tokyo: It's Up To You

Posted by David Chester on 10 December 2011

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FIT was written to help people find excellent freelance job opportunities in Tokyo, especially those that do not require specialized or technical skills. Since the 3/11 earthquake and all the insanity that has followed, I have questioned whether FIT continues to have value. That said, I can only share my truth: even now, three years after FIT was released, and after all that has transpired since the quake,  I continue to experience almost everything I wrote about on a daily basis. 

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Reflections

Posted by David Chester on 7 December 2011

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Fall in Tokyo 2011
Is it that time yet? I'm afraid it is. Another year is nearing an end. It's been a rough one for many of us, with the 3/11 earthquake defining almost every step we've taken since. For those of you who are in Tokyo, it may seem as if nothing at all happened. Everyone still seems to be rushing around, wrapped up in their own private worlds, jabbing at their phones, oblivious to all other realities except the glowing screen in front of their faces.

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Embrace The Day!

Posted by David Chester on 20 November 2011

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We are fast approaching the end of the year. Everything seems to be speeding up. I don't know if that's because we have built-in clocks telling us to get with the program or if it the sense of urgency has been created by advertising companies. My point is this:

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Remember Who You Are (Were)

Posted by David Chester on 9 November 2011

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I have lived in Japan for 18 years. I have done my best to adapt to all customs, traditions, foods, manners, etc. But there is one thing that I will not give up, which is Thanksgiving Day. I am an American, and, for me at least, Thanksgiving meant family and food, shared in the loving atmosphere of my parents' home.  

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Support the Foreign Community

Posted by David Chester on 3 November 2011

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If you are a foreigner living and working in Tokyo (no matter whether you call yourself a gaijin, a gaikokujin, a foreigner, or a non-Japanese), you will most likely, at some point, feel a sense of isolation or loneliness or some great desire to connect with something comforting or familiar. The solution to this, in brief, is to connect to and support the foreign community.

There are any number of ways to do this, whether it be patronizing restaurants, enjoying performances, or participating in classes that are run by members of the foreign community. This is not to suggest that you therefore shut the door on your Japanese life. I encourage you to bring your Japanese spouses or friends with you to any of the aforementioned places. These are simple ways of expanding your network, making new friends, learning more about what's available to you in our incredible town and a way to stay connected, because, again, it's easy to become isolated here, and there's no good reason to allow that to happen. 

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Freelancing in Tokyo: Saying "Yes"!

Posted by David Chester on 20 October 2011

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Hen in Window
It's been a long time, I know. Where do we start?

Well, how about this: I've been busy doing everything I wrote about in my book. After a long dry spell, I have been rewarded (can't think of a better word) with almost too much work. But the way I've done that is to keep saying "yes."  

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