I spoke with a friend the other night that is contemplating going back to Japan. He spent a year there on the JET Programme and enjoyed it up until he was hit by a car while riding his bike. After his accident, the time couldn’t go by fast enough for him to get back to the U.S. to get the medical care he needed. But now that he’s healed he wants to go back to enjoy the joys of Japan, in addition to really studying the language – something he couldn’t do after the accident. He asked what I thought about his plans. He was interested in my thoughts because I lived in Japan for two years, picked up the language well and have since found opportunities to speak and maintain my speaking abilities. As much as I like Japan, I told him that he should instead go to China and work on Mandarin, so long as he was set on living abroad in East Asia. Japan will be a powerhouse country for years to come, but it is no China, and it knows it. The size of China blows my mind (like the fact more people in China have cell phones than the entire population of the U.S., and only a third of all Chinese citizens have a cell phone!). He understood my advice, but is still determined to make it back to the Land of the Rising Sun. And I guess I don’t blame him. For as useful as the ability to speak Chinese would be, Japan is one hell of a country.


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