Greetings from... on the fence!

Please introduce yourself
User avatar
mcsim
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:22 am
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by mcsim »

Hello all

My name is Steven and I'm happy to have been accepted to this wonderful community!

After about 3 years in Japan as a student then ALT my wife and I moved to Los Angeles for work and have been here for 8 years since. However the city life has been wearing us down for some time now and we're quite ready to pack up and move somewhere closer to nature and where buying a home won't put us into debt for the next 20 years...

After WWOOFing on and off for the past few years we're both convinced that we'd like to live in the countryside and get into gardening + get a few animals, but currently on the fence between trying somewhere more rural in the US or heading back to Japan and maybe trying Nagano (where my wife is from) or further north in Tohoku or even Hokkaido. Luckily my current employer will let me work remote from either location so the choice is ours to make.

I'm joining this community with the hope of getting a better idea of what such a life in Japan is like, and if we do make the move to learn as much as I can from everyone here!

I plan to spend some time reading through past threads here -- if there are any recommended discussions for someone like me on the fence please send them my way! Otherwise after I've lurked enough I'll whip up my own batch of questions :)

Thanks & see you around!

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3100
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2393 times
Been thanked: 1825 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hi mcsim and thank you so much for taking the time to sign up, we really do appreciate you taking the time to join and hopefully you'll find something useful in your search. Obviously if you have any questions at all then please do feel free to ask.

Can't say if the Japanese countryside or life in the US would suit you better, there are pros and cons to both but if we can help in any way please let us know. Being able to work remotely from home is a big bonus and should help immensely. You can find some incredible bargains house wise here if you can search around and are willing to do part of all of the reform work yourself.

Should you decide to move to Japan in the future you can import a wood stove as part of your personal goods and not have to pay import tax on it, providing it's within 6 months over moving (I think but things may have changed) if you are thinking of getting one. Wood stoves and chimney parts are way cheaper abroad even when taking into account shipping costs.

User avatar
mcsim
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:22 am
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by mcsim »

Thanks for the warm welcome! I'll definite ask some questions later!

And wow that's a great tip re wood stoves as we were definitely thinking of getting one. There's a wood stove showroom in my wife's hometown that we like to go to whenever we're visiting and I noticed there were a lot American imports.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3100
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2393 times
Been thanked: 1825 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by Zasso Nouka »

You'd have to double check but we were told when we shipped all our stuff over here that you have up to six months of your initial move date to import personal goods without tax but even if you ship after that date it would still be cheaper including shipping and taxes than buying here.

Ibaraki llama
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:40 am
Location: Ibaraki
Has thanked: 271 times
Been thanked: 270 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by Ibaraki llama »

Welcome!

Great your able to work remotely. Like zasso said there would be lots of options available to you house-wise if you’re location-flexible.

Wood stove - we’re getting one from the UK - not importing it ourselves and concur with zasso, it’s very expensive.

User avatar
gonbechan
Founder
Founder
Posts: 1490
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 am
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 862 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by gonbechan »

Welcome Steven, great to have you. The fence is an awesome place to be (not forever of course) because of the excitement of riffling through your options, finding more and all the dreaming and planning.

I will tell you one thing though, Japan is one of the few countries that 80% of the time, your house in the boonies is going to have blisteringly fast internet. Of course there are exceptions but for the most part where there is power, there is optical fiber.

User avatar
gonbechan
Founder
Founder
Posts: 1490
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 am
Has thanked: 1556 times
Been thanked: 862 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by gonbechan »

Ibaraki llama wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:16 am
Welcome!

Great your able to work remotely. Like zasso said there would be lots of options available to you house-wise if you’re location-flexible.

Wood stove - we’re getting one from the UK - not importing it ourselves and concur with zasso, it’s very expensive.
I thnk the cost is relative. Especially if you consider alternative heating costs for the same effect of general all house warmness.
I am pretty mathlexic but even I realise that a wood burning stove would pay for itself at the most within 5 yearsish.
Warming houses with space heaters, AC only in rooms in use or kerosine heaters actually puts a strain on the house, causing condensation damage in north facing rooms etc as well as the toll it takes on your body going from warm to cold when going to the loo or other rooms before they are warmed etc

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3100
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2393 times
Been thanked: 1825 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by Zasso Nouka »

gonbechan wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:23 pm
Warming houses with space heaters, AC only in rooms in use or kerosine heaters actually puts a strain on the house, causing condensation damage in north facing rooms etc as well as the toll it takes on your body going from warm to cold when going to the loo or other rooms before they are warmed etc
That's an interesting point about the condensation from a kerosene stove, hadn't thought about it before, it's worth buying a cast iron kettle to sit on top of the woodstove at the same time as you order the stove so it can put a bit of humidity back into the air as wood stoves dry the air out. Had only really thought about breathing in all those kerosene fumes, which isn't pleasant. Getting out of the bath or shower into a freezing cold room is horrific so it's nice to have 'whole house' heating from an oversized wood stove.

Wendy
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:45 am
Has thanked: 129 times
Been thanked: 79 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by Wendy »

A hearty second on the idea of importing a stove....found ours on craigslist, and the savings from what a Japanese stove would have cost paid for the shipment of all of my worldly belongings from the US (and the stove). We went through customs with the shipment about 2.5 years after the initial move; it came as unaccompanied baggage when I came back on a flight and there were no taxes (which was a surprise because I heard about a 6 mth limit). I am not sure why, but I didn't do a lot of questioning! Clearing customs ourselves was fairly simple....I may have a contact if you are interested.

The quality of life with a wood stove is beyond amazing (we spent a winter without it)....heats much of the house.

As to Nagano, please feel free to come see us! We are between Saku and Karuizawa in the small town of Miyota (actually a much smaller town that is part of Miyota). Close to a lot of things, but with the feel of a small town....can't say enough good about it. Let us know when you come this way and we will be glad to show you what we know! Plus if you like Mexican food, we can set you up!

User avatar
mcsim
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:22 am
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Greetings from... on the fence!

Post by mcsim »

gonbechan wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:04 pm
Welcome Steven, great to have you. The fence is an awesome place to be (not forever of course) because of the excitement of riffling through your options, finding more and all the dreaming and planning.

I will tell you one thing though, Japan is one of the few countries that 80% of the time, your house in the boonies is going to have blisteringly fast internet. Of course there are exceptions but for the most part where there is power, there is optical fiber.
Yeah, I recall being blown away by the speed, low cost and number of ISPs where I was living in Nagano. Moving to Los Angeles after that and having only one ISP with much slower service at double the cost was frustrating after knowing how much better it could be.

So that's definitely a plus in Japan's favor! Rural US is in a pretty bad situation when it comes to internet access.