“Are you mad?” Why I left my job and moved to the Japanese countryside

Click below for an article I wrote for GLOBIS Insights about why we chose to leave Tokyo for a life in rural Kansai. 




Quality Time with the Kids ー 子供と充実した時間

One of the perks of being your own boss is being able to spend more time with the kids. 

When I was in Tokyo, I didn’t get home until after 7:00, which after eating dinner left very little time to do anything else with the kids. 

Now, I’m at home when the kids get back and can do lots more things with them. I’ve started teaching my daughter phonics again – after an 18-month hiatus. And recently, I also discovered this great app called Epic, which has thousands of picture books in English. My older two love it when I read stories to them on my iPad. 




Daddy, do you know what this is called? – ダディ、これは何と言うか、わかる?

Me: Hmmm, it’s called a starfish!

Daughter (aged 7): No, it’s called art. 

私: ヒトデでしょう。


Long time no see!

It has been nearly six months since my family and I left Tokyo. 

Last time I wrote a proper post on this blog that wasn’t a short running report was on November 1st – a few days after the birth of my third child. 

Some time during my paternity leave, I realized that my heart wasn’t really in my job. I enjoyed the content of the work and the people around me who I worked with daily were great. But I simply wasn’t looking forward to going back to the politics of dealing with HQ, or the fact that marketing is actually not important enough to government for real money to be spent on it. I was always having to go outside and beg companies to “contribute” to our partner marketing. It was always a tough sell for big multinationals to support our campaigns. True to the theme of this blog, I had allowed myself to suffer and to get into a negative mindset.

My wife and I had been talking about retiring early for years and taking our kids to live in an environment much nicer for raising kids than Tokyo, where we had to share the local park with smokers and sometimes the odd homeless, aimless old man. We had even bought a place in the countryside ready to fix up during the holidays over the coming years. 

But during my leave, we realized that pretty soon – with a third child – we were going to have to move at some point soon to a bigger house. Our rent was already nearly 140,000 yen a month. In the end, after lots of long, late-night talks my wife and I came to the conclusion that there was nothing tying us any longer to Tokyo.

So we decided to take the plunge sooner rather than later, and move to the house we had already bought in the country.

It was scary to take the leap. And I haven’t retired just yet! But six months later and we have no regrets.