Melbourne is one of the most famous cities in Australia for Japanese people who want to study English, or simply to live in an English-speaking country. Japanese people try to adapt to this beautiful city, but there are some challenges to overcome.
Firstly, there are a lot of international people who are studying or working in Melbourne, therefore it is easy to find opportunities to make friends. In Japan it was normal to only have Japanese friends, however here, in Australia, it is common to have friends from multiple backgrounds and nationalities. The most surprising to my friends and family back home is the number of Korean friends I now have here, despite the ongoing territorial issues between the two countries. Sometimes the media incites controversy between Japan and Korea but meeting Koreans, without prejudice, has allowed me to get past all the historical disagreements and learn about a new culture.
Hard vs Soft Water
Secondly, I believe that the water in Australia is totally different to Japan so students need to be prepared. In Australia, ‘hard-water’ is common and contains a lot of minerals, compared to ‘soft-water’ most Japanese people are used to. This is why a number of Japanese chefs in Melbourne are struggling to cook authentic and traditional Japanese cuisine. Furthermore, there are many Japanese restaurants where the owners and chefs are Chinese, Korean or Aussie, and they serve their version of our food. Though don’t worry, the prices are incredibly reasonable and the westernised versions of Japanese meals are interesting and absolutely worth a try!
Lastly, the typical nature of Japanese people, described as being modest, polite and respectful, can actually be a disadvantage when attempting to communicate with foreigners. Australians are known to be proud and assertive, which can initially be quite confronting for Japanese visitors, however most soon learn that this is just a cultural difference. The Government of Japan is consistently promoting Australia and its gorgeous cities, whether it’s Melbourne, Sydney or Gold Coast, because the demand is there. Despite the cultural differences, Japanese people are welcomed to Australia and can often acclimatise quickly, if they simply accept that Aussies will be Aussies and learn English.