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ast June a research group called GfK NOP estimated that 27% of 1,000 UK workers were willing to move abroad for work, with the percentage even higher for younger workers aged 18-29. In 2008, Oxford graduate Nat Kent did exactly this. He packed his bags and left a recession-soaked London for the neon lights of Tokyo. WORDS: Nat Kent

It was finally my Grandma who said I was nuts. I was two years out of university and getting by just fine. I had a good job in a good company earning decent money. But I was bored - bored of the ugly outer borough of London where I lived, bored of working in IT consulting, bored of being in England. I wanted a challenge. In my last year of uni I had gotten into Studio Ghibli movies and had subsequently spent many an idle moment at work daydreaming about the verdant paddy fields and

“Welcome to the Birmingham of Japan!” said my new boss when he met me off the bullet train. “Do you like the city?” I asked him. “No”, came the dispiriting reply. But I liked the city. In Japan the cities are clean and safe, everyone is always polite and before you get used to how it all works you’ll find something crazy, ridiculous, intensely beautiful and/or delicious around every other corner. There were definitely challenges. Most people arrive without speaking the

Starbucks reading manga with your green tea frappuccino (Or doing something more cultural. Naturally.) Another challenge is the work. You leave England to learn about another country but chances are you put the rice on the table by teaching English. I had neither worked with children nor aspired to, so a Japanese Junior High School was an interesting place to end up at on a number of levels... But as long as you keep an open mind and do your best, it turns out

language or knowing the scripts but the plunge into the helplessness of mute illiteracy is followed by an exhilarating journey of discovery. If you persevere with the language, a whole civilisation opens up to you and before you know it you’re in

times like these, that seems quite a trite lesson to take away. But by leaving the country and seeking excitement (and employment) overseas, it seems like such idealism doesn’t always have to be misplaced.

pan!!” Ja f o m a h g in m ir B e h you’ll be fine. In “welcome to t canyons of neon . So for me, Japan seemed like the natural choice of destination. Never having been to East Asia, my grasp of what it was like was a little shaky, but I had a vague idea that you could get a job teaching English there with no trouble. And somehow that turned out to be pretty much correct. It seems English people possess a much-sought-after skill: having been born in an English-speaking country. Armed with this hardearned qualification and a vaguely enthusiastic attitude, I sailed through the interview and a couple of months later found myself landing in Tokyo. After a week of training I was despatched to Nagoya, a large city right in the middle of the country.

SL Magazine Issue 3  

As the dust begins to settle from the August riots, issue 3 of SL Magazine brings together the reactions of young people in Birmingham, and...

SL Magazine Issue 3  

As the dust begins to settle from the August riots, issue 3 of SL Magazine brings together the reactions of young people in Birmingham, and...