Life goals: I really want to go to Japan, but how…

Q: Hello Richard, my name is Alec. I am nineteen years of age, and I live in a small town in the US. I am having a lot of troubles here lately. Before I get into that, I’ll tell you my life goals. Obviously, since I’m on, I have a strong interest in Japanese language and culture. I would like to move to Japan one day and pursue a career in Journalism or Education. My problems are that I have absolutely no funding for college OR support for my life goals. I was born into a very poor family. I’m not asking you for money, Richard.. I’m just asking for personal advice; I want special advice from you to myself. I know that the only way that I’ll be able to work or live in Japan is with a Visa, and I understand that I would need a college degree to obtain one.. Are there other ways around that aside from being married to a Japanese citizen? I feel trapped here, and I feel like I deserve so much more. Before moving to Japan I would like to spend a little time in the country. My girlfriend was telling me about host families, and I’m interested. I was thinking of trying this out next fall, but I’m not sure how to get a host family. Moving away from my troubles, I currently help teach English to Japanese via the internet. I can see myself doing this for a living, and you are the person who inspired me to start doing this. It truly is an amazing feeling to teach a language, isn’t it? I understand that you first traveled to Japan through the JET Programme, correct? I’ve looked into that and really want to do it, but I’m hit with the college brick wall again. I’m sorry to keep you for so long and I have much more to tell you about, but I feel terrible for rambling.. I really need your help, as I have no way of attending a college of any kind. With much respect, . Thank you in advance. – Alec

A: Hi Alec,

Well first of all you have made a fantastic first step.  Most people have no idea what their life goal is, but you do, which is a very, very precious thing, and something that is very, very rare.  So hold on to it no matter what!

The next step is getting to Japan.  Yes getting a college degree is the most conventional way.  But there are other ways such as scholarships, school or sports exchanges etc.  I’d suggest contacting the Japanese embassy to see if there is any information they can give you.  I also know lots of people who have gotten scholarships to actually go to (and get paid to go to!) college in Japan.  Again give the Japanese embassy a ring and see what they say!

The next thing ( and this is where I’m going to get a bit strict!!)  is that you have every opportunity to go to college!  I work in some areas of the world that really are poor (in the slums of India and China for example) and they would kill for the chance to get a US passport and at least have the opportunity to study in the US.

If money is the only issue then I think you’ve already found your way out because many, many people self fund themselves through college by working part time.  As you have already started teaching online then it’s a very small step to making this into a paid job.  If you can get some books such as “Rich Dad, Poor Dad“,  the “Richest Man in Babylon” or even better Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” then you’ll soon see how to make money work for you, and your dreams, rather than the other way around.  Even if you don’t have one cent in the bank, the fact that you are in the US means you can get the books for free from your local library!

Lack of support is a tougher one,  but we all go through that at one stage.  Again I think a book may help, have a look at Anthony Robbins “Awaken the Giant Within”   It can be very tough.  But these are  the times that make you who you are.   As I said you really are very, very fortunate to be both in a rich country full of opportunity like the US and to also know what you want to do in life.  Many people would look at you with envious eyes.  So keep your vision in your head, see yourself in Japan, get the books I mentioned above and make us all proud, make your dreams come true!

Be genki,


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