Los Angeles to Saitama, Japan - Expat Inteview With Duc Su

Published: 22 Jan at 11 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Japan
Duc Su has spend half of his life in the United States. The other half he will spend in Japan with his wife and their 1 1/2 year old son. He graduated with a BS in Network and Computer Management and is currently a freelance web developer and a Mr. Mom. "Life is too short to be doing the same routine over and over again." Duc has come to realize that life is not all about work. He has created a list of adventures he wish to tackle before his time is up. Some of which includes, skydiving, getting a tattoo, and eating escargot. Duc Su blogs at Far From Home (see listing here).

Meet Duc Su - US expat in Japan
Meet Duc Su - US expat in Japan

Here's the interview with Duc Su...

Where are you originally from?
Los Angeles, California

In which country and city are you living now?
Saitama, Japan

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
4 yrs. Relocate to Japan permanently.

Why did you move and what do you do?
My wife is a Japanese national and wanted to move back to Japan. I am a freelance web developer.

Attended a family wedding at Odaiba, Tokyo
Attended a family wedding at Odaiba, Tokyo
Did you bring family with you?
It was just the 2 of us and our 3 cats when we moved to Japan. We have a 1 1/2 years old son now.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
As an American Chinese, Japan culture is relatively equivalent to that of Chinese culture. I had no issues with the transition whatsoever even though I am more Americanized.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Japanese are quite unusual. They seem to keep their distance and are shy to talk to foreigners. I have some native friends/co-workers. However, it is difficult for us to meet on weekends for an outing as they have their lives with their families to attend to.

My wife's sister's wedding reception
My wife's sister's wedding reception
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Tokyo city and it's surroundings have many great places to visit as well as restaurants around. Tokyo Tower, Skytree, Odaiba City, Tokyo Midtown are some of the places you can visit. If you are fit, I also recommend climbing Mt Fuji between July and August.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The people are friendly and the cities are clean and safe to walk about even at night.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
It's no surprise. Japan is quite expensive to live in. However, you will get used to with the prices. There are no tips to include at restaurants and no added taxe price when paying. The price tag you see is the price you will pay at the register.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Minor, but I wish there were more paper towels dispenser in public restrooms for us to wipe our hands with.

Family photo
Family photo
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Learn some basic Japanese before hand. Always carry with you a hand towel when going out.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Mastering the language of Japanese.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I will have no issues whatsoever. Maybe the food. Japan tends to have more naturists food and is healthier than that of USA.

A mini vacation trip in Hiroshima
A mini vacation trip in Hiroshima
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn some basic Japanese.
  2. Carry a hand towel.
  3. In a packed compartment train. When the door opens and it is not your stop to get off, get off anyways. Than, come back inside.
  4. Buy a Suica(refillable train card pass), it will come in handy as you can use it to buy food and not only use it as a train pass.
  5. In most department stores, go down to the B Level floors. There are food and desserts you can buy that taste fabulous.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog consist of my experiences while living in Japan. I write what I think will help other expats cope in a foreign place outside of their comfort zone. In additon, I sometimes include my personal thoughts I deem fit for my viewers.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Through my contact page within my blog.

Duc Su blogs at http://ducsu.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Far From Home has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Duc Su, please also drop him a quick comment below.
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Vdb wrote 8 years ago:

He's an expat that really knows what he's talking about and his advice is good and helpful. Be aware of holiday tourists that don't know anything about every day live in Japan. There exist too much cliches about this country.

イック wrote 8 years ago:

Did you master Japanese Duc??? :-)

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