Art by Giulia Priori.

Hello, I’m Carla!

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TheGeordieGaijin is the life and times of Carla, a Geordie (sort of) working as an ALT in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan between 2019-2021.

She has a BA. in Media Production from the University of Sunderland and previously worked in the travel and tourism industry since 2011.

She has traveled extensively in Europe, the USA and spent a year in Sydney, Australia 2012-2013 before moving to central Japan in 2019.

In addition to this, she has also run the fashion and lifestyle blog Droogette.com for over a decade, collaborating with brands such as Simply Be, New Look, Yours, The Body Shop, Rose & Co. as well as independent brands and creators.

She was an attendee of London Fashion Week in collaboration with Look Magazine and worked closely with them to launch their online blogging platform.

Her hobbies – besides talking to herself – on the internet include video games, fashion history, Asian cuisine, watching drag performances, live music and she can often be found in the stalls of the theatre (never the circle, dahhling).


Why “The Geordie Gaijin”?
A “Geordie” is a person from Newcastle, UK. Geordie is also the name of the very specific regional accent – you’ll see scatterings of the Geordie words and phrases in this blog.
A “gaijin” is a slang Japanese term for “foreigner.” It’s often seen as rude or a pejorative by Japanese people, but has somewhat been reclaimed by the expat community.

Why did you come to Japan?
I visited Japan as a tourist in 2014, 2015 and 2017. It was on the last visit I decided I wanted to try working and living here for an extended period of time.

When did you come to Japan?
August 2019.

Why did you choose to live in Hamamatsu?
I requested somewhere central and with good transport links – but my actual placement was my company’s decision.

Most memorable experience in Japan?
Doing a temple stay in Koyasan and chatting about Jamie Oliver with the head monk. Also seeing the world’s largest spatula on Miyajima Island was pretty special.

How can I move to Japan?
Taking a job as an English teacher is the easiest route. You can either working as an ALT in a Japanese public school, or as a private English teacher in a language school, known as an eikaiwa.
For the ALT route, the most famous company is The JET programme which is government sponsored. There are also private dispatch companies such as Interac and Heart, however the requirements can vary from company to company – you can find these on their websites.
For eikawa work, the big companies are AEON and ECC.
However, for both routes, it is important to note that you must have at least an undergraduate degree as a visa requirement.

You can read about my experiences as an ALT using the Life Of An ALT tag.
I also wrote a post about the interview process with AEON here.

Both ALT and eikaiwa jobs have pros and cons. There is now a wealth of information online so you can choose which will be best to suit your lifestyle.

How can I make friends in Japan?
Check out this post, here!
However, the short version is – it can be tricky! The best advice I can give you is to put yourself out there: go to a bar, restaurant, or café and chat to the locals, get to know the teachers in your school, find your local gaijin community on Facebook, network with your fellow ALTs, join a sports team, join a language exchange, take up a hobby.

You’ll also end up making friends by chance: I met my best-friend in Japan on my daily commute! I was too shy for ages to say hello until I worked up the courage to ask for restaurant recommendations. A smile and hello can go a long way!

What is your favourite Japanese food?
I love Japanese food, especially sushi, unagi, tonkatsu, takoyaki, yakitori, okonomiyaki, ramen…the list goes on!
It’s probably easier to say what I don’t like: uni, shirasu, natto, and wasabi. Bleurgh!

What did you miss about the UK?
Sincerity, sarcasm and swearing. Also salt and vinegar crisps.

Is this blog PR friendly?
Yes, as long as it is keeping in the theme and tone of the blog. Please get in contact using the form above.