Off Limits

“I came to Japan to sing on a Disney tour, met a guy the first week, married him three months later, then found out we were pregnant the next day. It was a big leap and I know it was a hasty decision, but I’m rewarded for it every day. Now I’m just learning how to navigate life in Tokyo while dealing with postpartum depression in a country that doesn’t prioritize mental health. I’m also figuring out what my next career move will be in a place where my former profession (musical theater) is essentially off limits to foreigners. The tour that I was on hire all of their singers from overseas. They issue an entertainer visa and then ship them back home once the contract is over. They do not hire anyone locally. If you’re a gaijin, they will not hire you here. I have e-mailed and e-mailed but no one is responding (maybe I need to fax).

“When I asked my contacts to put me in touch with the right people, they all say, ‘Are you a performer out of New York?’ I tell them I relocated here and I’m on a spouse visa. Then they say, ‘Sorry, we do not have contracts available for you’. There are these amazing shows I would die to be a part of. But because I am not a native Japanese person or I am not hired from NY or LA or Sydney, my career is dead here. So I had to reinvent myself. I’ve done a corporate singing job in Kobe a couple of weeks ago, which is nice and brings home the bacon, but I went to school for musical theater. It’s frustrating that it’s out of reach for me. Although I bet there are loopholes. Maybe I just need to meet the right people or be here longer and pay my dues. In the meantime, this is a good opportunity to discover other parts of myself.”

Published by


Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s