Life In A New Land: Japan | Clozette

For our Travel Issue this year, we interviewed women who migrated to a different country. From experiencing culture shock to finally taking the reins and standing by their decision, these are their stories. 

To continue this series, we have Angela Lagahid to share what it's like to start a new life in Japan. She was a part of #TeamClozette as a brand relations manager until, almost a year ago, she decided to migrate to the Land of the Rising Sun so she can be with her sisters and find new career opportunities. 

Why did you come to live in Japan, and how long have you been there?

I've been here for over eight months now, but it feels like it's only yesterday that I came here and started a new life. Oh, how time flies! My story on how I've come to move here is a little long so I'm going to just give you the gist. Two years ago, I was offered the opportunity to move here in Japan but declined because I felt that I still don't have enough experience under my belt and a part of me was scared and insecure to give it a try. But even then, I still had that desire to know what it's like to live abroad and have an opportunity to start a second life in another land. I've been putting off going after my dream of living abroad until life threw a curveball at me. At that moment, I thought to myself that maybe this is life's way of nudging me to pursue my dream. So I finally decided to take the plunge and here we are. 

Was it tough having to re-adjust your life in Japan? How so?

Of course, it is tough. Navigating uncharted waters is scary. And relocating to a new place means you really have to start from scratch — both literally and figuratively. Then, in Japan, you have to deal with the language barrier and adjust to cultural differences. So while it is fun and exciting, I wouldn't say that it's a walk in the park. I also have to deal with homesickness. Even though my sisters are here with me, I still find that the popular adage “There’s no place like home” is true.

What is the biggest challenge of being a foreigner in Japan?

Again, it’s the language barrier. I believe that the language barrier is basically the root of all the other challenges that I've faced. Having a better understanding of the language will help with almost everything, from doing simple tasks such as shopping for your groceries to something as complex as finding a job. I'm working on it.

Is there a perk to being a foreigner in Japan? If so, what and why? If not, why not?

Personally, I think that being a foreigner here in Japan puts you in a bit of a tricky position. As you may know, Japan has an extreme conformist culture that’s perfectly captured by the Japanese proverb “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”, which means that deviance is met with resistance. As such, sooner or later, you will feel the pressure to conform. However, there are also instances in which you get a free pass as a foreigner. For example, locals don’t really expect us foreigners to ace the art of bowing.

Shibuya district

How is your family helping you adjust to life in Japan?

It’s definitely a big help that I live here with my sisters. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been if I came here alone. Also, every week, we connect with our parents back home and our siblings from the other side of the globe via Skype. It helps to beat the homesickness.

Can you share your best tip for living as a foreigner in Japan?

Do your homework! Make sure you know enough about the culture and language. Be ready to embrace the Japanese ways because the locals definitely won’t adjust for you. It's very different from our culture back in the Philippines where almost everyone is always ready and eager to help foreigners.

Here's a practical tip: If you're gonna stay here for longer than three months, you should get a post-paid mobile plan. Japan has very strict policies regarding the purchase of local sim cards. In order to get one, you need a credit card and resident card. So if you want to expedite the process, then you better have an existing credit card. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through all the trouble of applying for one, which is not easy especially if you’ve been here for less than a year.

Where's your favourite place to shop at in Japan?

Since I moved here, I’ve changed my shopping habits. Back when I was sorting out my things in preparation for my relocation, I saw right before me all the stuff that I can’t bring along and I thought to myself, imagine how much money I could’ve saved by now if I didn't buy all these things. And so I’ve committed to adopting a minimalist lifestyle. So, I feel like I’m probably not the best person to make recommendations about the best places to shop here. Although I really love Ginza because you can score department store finds, high street brands and ogle at those luxury shops. The architecture in Ginza is also magnificent; everybody should check it out.

Ginza district

Where's your favourite brunch spot in Japan?

There’s this cafe in our district called Joyfull. It’s my favourite because they have this thing called Drink-O bar, where you can basically drink-all-you-can for less than ¥1000. And you can take your pick from all types of drinks, except the alcoholic beverages. Their cheesecake is also very delicious.

Where's your favourite party scene in Japan?

I haven’t been to any club in Japan, but I went to a few Izakayas. Izakaya is Japan’s version of gastropubs. And so far, nothing beats my experience in Golden Gai so I’d recommend it. Golden Gai is a small district in Shinjuku where you can find tiny but cosy drinking dens that sit right next to each other so you can easily go bar hopping until you find your perfect spot. Although, take note that some have a table charge policy. And those that offer free entrance usually get occupied faster. Each bar, on average, can only accommodate about 10 people and some are exclusive to regular patrons.

Golden Gai district

Where's your favourite spot in Japan to rest and rejuvenate?

The public parks! They are the easiest and cheapest way to get in touch with nature. 

The Shiyakusho

What's your favourite Japanese food that people must try?

Definitely Ichiran ramen, which I believe is also everyone else’s favourite here in Japan. Recently, I also discovered Kikanbo ramen and I really liked it.

(Cover photo from: @soangeventures)

Don't miss the first instalment of our series about a Filipina's story of migration to France



It's swim season, and we're all about basking under the sun and enjoying the water. But of course, we're planning to do both in style. So we're definitely taking inspiration from the Community, and you're sure to get inspired, too, when you see their one-piece swimwear looks below.

Sunset swim

(Photo from: chescademesa)


(Photo from: camilleinsnaps)



Oh, what would we ever do without our mums? They are undoubtedly one of the biggest influences in our lives. So now that Mother's Day is just around the corner, it's only right that we prepare for the occasion and make sure we have something to symbolise our love for them. Of course, nothing can compare to the love they've given us but we can always try. Ahead, the perfect gift to present your mum on her special day.

For the one who needs a bit more pampering

Pixi Rose Flash Balm, SGD36/~USD24; Pixi Rose Caviar Essence, SGD36/~USD24; Pixi Rose Oil Blend, SGD36/~USD24

Being a mum is no easy task. So make sure you give your mum the chance to pamper herself not just on a special day but for more days to come. Instead of a bouquet of roses, why not let her indulge in them in the form of pampering beauty products? Give her Pixi Beauty's Rose-Infused SkinTreats. The Rose Caviar Essence will ensure that her skin is moisturised while the Rose Flash Balm is perfect for when she's on the go and needs to have a boost of hydration and brightening. Meanwhile, the Rose Oil Blend helps improve skin's elasticity, making sure mum looks as young as she feels.

For the one whose day is always jampacked


Aside from being the one in charge of your household, your mum is also the leader at her workplace. She's always busy and on the go. Help her make sure she's on top of her game by giving her a wrist companion she'll never forget to wear. The Anne Klein Silvertone Round Watch is a great pick. It's sleek, chic and straightforward — just like your boss lady mum.

For the one who runs a lot of errands


Mums seem to have a thousand things on their to-do lists. There are tasks to be done and errands to be made. If your mum is always on the go from one errand to another, make sure that she's always comfortable (and in style). Gift her with a new pair of shoes she'll love wearing no matter where she goes like the Cole Haan Pinch Weekender Loafer

For the one who loves afternoon tea

From PHP1,500 to PHP2,500/~USD28 to USD 48

It's your mum's way to wind down and take a breather from the many things she does for you and your entire family. So why not let her indulge in premium tea? Let her enjoy the lavish Haute Couture Tea Collection from TWG, which includes the popular Geisha Blossom Tea as well as the classic Earl Grey  — and don't forget to join her as she shares stories while sipping a good cuppa tea.

For the one who likes to keep things spick and span


Your house is always in tip-top shape because your mum makes sure it's always cleaned and kept properly. She loves learning about all the new gadgets and appliances that can help her make sure your house is as pristine as it can be. So why not give her something to help her with her goal? Give her the Philips SpeedPro Max, which has a 360-degree nozzle that ensures dirt from every direction is taken care of. Plus, it's the fastest, cordless vacuum there is, so you're not already helping your mum out but also buying her some more time to spend with you.

Treat mum to a special meal, too. Here's a good option.