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Happy New Year From GaijinPot

A brief look back at what happened in 2019 and what we're excited for in 2020.

By 4 min read

2019 has been a year of transition for all of us. Japan entered into the new Reiwa era with the ascension of Emperor Naruhito which meant we had an unprecedented 10-days off for Golden Week (though not everyone was happy about it). What has been called the greatest Rugby World Cup of all time took place across 12 host cities in Japan, even as Typhoon Hagibis—one of a series of devastating typhoons that affected the county this year—did its best to ruin it. The courage and tenacity shown in the aftermath was a testament to people’s strength of spirit and a reminder that life is absolutely a gift.

As we enter into a new decade, there’s lots to look forward to, not least the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Even though the tickets are pretty much sold out, the city itself is going to be absolutely buzzing in the run-up to and after the historic event. That’s why Tokyo was ranked as second-place on our list for Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations for 2020. Check it out to see the winner and where else made the top 10 thanks to your vote.

In 2019, GaijinPot Jobs recorded 324,681 applications through our job board.

Based on the number of profiles, we helped more than 23,000 English teachers find their next job in Japan, while more than 7,400 professionals applied for IT-related positions, proving that demand for foreign engineers in Japan continues to grow.

The Top 10 industries applied for on GaijinPot Jobs:

  1. Education & Teaching
  2. Information Technology
  3. Tourism, Travel & Hospitality
  4. HR & Recruitment
  5. Food & Beverage
  6. Service Industry
  7. Translation & Interpretation
  8. Advertising & Marketing
  9. Automotive
  10. Wholesale & Retail

The prefecture offering jobs with the best average salary was Hyogo, thanks to its concentration of international company headquarters and an expanding cluster of R&D facilities, many related to the pharmaceutical industry.

However, most GaijinPot Jobs were still based in Tokyo, where the average salary range remained between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000. The average cost of living is the highest in the capital, so it pays to think carefully about where you want to live if you’re thinking of moving to Japan in the future.

GaijinPot Study sent more than 140 students to study Japanese in Japan over the year.

Pigeon-Zilla was there to keep us educated—and entertained—with our popular Tweet of the Week series.

Here on the blog, we saw our users increase by 75% from 2018. Articles that particularly resonated were our guide to Understanding the Japanese Health Insurance System (which saw 50 million impressions in September when the fees increased) and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a story about McDonald’s and its sexually suggestive drink cups.

McDonald’s Japan Accidentally Creates Sexually Suggestive Drink Cups

Our most shared article on Facebook was about the World’s Biggest Starbucks which opened this February in Nakameguro.

This was followed by the news that the Japanese government would be implementing new measures to help foreigners in Japan study Japanese.

At GaijinPot Travel, our users more than doubled. The most popular places searched this year were Kumamoto, Yamaguchi, and Kanazawa. We got to see your talent on full display in our different photo contests, including the Cherry Blossom contest, Halloween Costume contest and our Winter Illumination contest which is happening right now!

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✨✨We love the holiday light displays around Japan, aka Illuminations, almost as much as we love photo contests. So why not combine the two?? Huzzah! Behold our Winter Illumination Photo Contest! We're giving away two pairs of tickets to the awesome Night Walk project mapping attraction at Awaji Island Anime Park in Hyogo. It's inspired by the legendary Hinotori (Firebird) manga by Tezuka Osamu. All you have to do is tag your Japan Illumination photos with #GaijinPotTravel and #JapanIllumination for your chance to win! (Make sure you use both tags) Don't know where to catch the illuminations in Japan? Check out our list up of Japan's best winter light ups at the link in our bio. Contest goes until Jan. 20✨✨✨ #awajiisland #nijigennomori ##hyogo #tezukaosamu

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On YouTube, we reached 10,000 subscribers with new videos including a Guide to Central Japan travel series and an overnight investigation into the haunted Narita airport hotel and the cult member who mysteriously died there.

We also launched a new platform, GaijinPot Uncut, which aims to showcase the talent of our writers, designers, and engineers through exceptional quality journalism and innovative web design. It’s something we’re very proud of and look forward to developing more in 2020.

As we say goodbye to 2019, we must also say a final farewell to the GaijinPot Forum.

Though access was shut down a few years ago, the content remained online and people were still reading it, especially one particular thread about to become a male pornstar in Japan. Go figure. Stay tuned for the full article, though we’re not quite sure how we’re going to go about researching that one!

From all of us at GaijinPot, thank you so much for your continued readership. And with that, we wish you a very happy new year and a fantastic 2020 to come!

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