I am a vegan and a big Japan fan. I have dream of going to live in Japan for year as university exchange student. I have heard that veganism is not very popular nor acsepted in Japanese sosiety. It is easy to avoid meat and diary produts there , but the fish will be the problem. They have so many fish dishes, and the dashi fish stock in everything.
I know that Japan used to be vegetarian in history, because of buddism. They still have the traditonal shoujin ryouri in some places, but it is rare nowdays. They have some vegetarian restaurants and vegan society, but I might not endup in a region with such a luxury.
If i get to live in a apartment or a dorm with kitchen, i won´t have problem in cooking my own food and bringing my vegan bento to school. I´m studing japanese, so by the time i move there i (hopefully) will be able to read the product information and know what i am buing. If I have to live in a family, veganism will be a big problem. The mother is normally making the meals. She might get confused and hurt if i refuse to eat the food served.
The other problem is eating out. It is important to go out when you try to get to know people in daigaku. I also do not drink any alchol. This will make it even more difficult to go out with people, who do so.
My japanese year will be in 3-5 years future from now, so i hope the situation with veganism will get better. I will not give up on veganism nor my dream of going to Japan. I don´t want to be the rude or problematic. Japanese people are so kind and considering so i want to consider them too. Is anybody here Japanese or living in Japan? If you know any stradegies to survive in Japan or tips or Japanese foods that are vegan, please help me!
I'm from the USA, but I lived in Japan for a little while.
A good thing about Japan is its mass-transportation system. It runs very well and a person can go almost anywhere, quickly, easily, and for a low cost.
So, if you can find a university near Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka areas (which have the most Vegan restaurants and food stores), then you can use the metro-train-bus-taxi system to visit these places.
A strategy for learning and working in Japan:
You may wish to consider going to Japan to work as a Language Teacher.
There are many non-Japanese people* who teach their native languages to Japanese people. The pay is very reasonable, plus you can develop contacts with other people for work, study, etc.
English is very popular among Japanese people, but Japanese people are interested in other languages too.
Perhaps you could teach English as well as your native language. By doing this you can study Japanese language and culture and then enter into a university with great experience (?).
The best places for finding this work are Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other larger cities. It is not very difficult to find this kind of work and once you have experience teaching you may find work with no difficulties.
*Many of these people are young (student age) and mostly live in the Tokyo area and also Kyoto and Osaka (and some in smaller metro areas). For some more ideas, visit YouTube.com (on the www) and search for Japan, Tokyo, English teachers, etc. and you can view many video reports by non-Japanese people who live, work, and study in Japan.