I have now lived in Tohoku, Kanto and Hokkaido in a course of about 4 years. I considered moving back to Kanto but the price of living and competitive nature of jobs there was a bit much for me. I can make the exactly same salary as someone on JET but I have to pay for my own apartment which in northern Japan is not expensive. The average price of an apartment in the Bay Area (where I am from), is about 1000 dollars. In Iwate I would be paying max 500 for a really nice place which honestly, I don't need.
The Tokyo area is basically filled with teaching jobs that are either Eikaiwa or companies that supply ALTs for various boards of education. I would say the average pay for an ALT jobs in the Kanto area is 2500 dollars a month. When you factor in getting an apartment in the Kanto area which is going to cost you around 500 a month if you're lucky you don't have too much to live on. Most of the adults I know in Tokyo work for an Eikaiwa. The hours are totally different from ALT work though. You usually have to work from about noon to 8pm and work on either Saturday or Sunday. I have really grown to like working at an elementary school. The hours are great and being around funny little kids all day is also great.
So what could be so wrong with this town that I would quit my job and move to another part of the country? Where shall I begin? Fukushimacho is in a remote area of the most northern island of Japan. There are only about 4000 people here and most of them are either really old or people just starting a family. It isn't cheap to live here, especially in the winter. You have to run your heater almost all night spending and uses expensive kerosene. The grocery store in this town is not that great. The food is expensive and they stock almost nothing that would satisfy a foreign resident. The town is extremely remote. There are no video stores, no 7/11s, not even a train station. Apparently this town used to have a train station but declining population forced JR Hokkaido to shut down the line. The closest train station to me is about 40 minutes away.
Lately I wanted to think about how to make myself more happy in general and rather than just ask myself a bunch of questions I decided to look at classical Greek philosophy. In particular Epicurus was extremely interesting to me. He looked for the answer to what makes people happy and the main reason he found was friendship. I have almost no friends here and I think that explains me someone negative attitude over the last year.
I miss liking Japan. I became bitter and can only think about the negatives of living in this country. To the point where I have virtually stopped studying the language and find almost no interest in traditional cultural events and locations, something that I truly loved to do. This area has jaded me and I truly hope that moving back to an area that once made me happy can make me happy again.