Lifestyle Orientation Programs for Expats & Families

Relocation Stages

Note: This page is for organizations. If you are an individual, click here.

I help corporations, organizations and schools that are looking to support new foreigners and families with lifestyle transition in Tokyo.

You’ve invested a lot to bring key talents to Japan. Let’s increase the odds that they and their families will happily stay for their full contract duration - and let me take all the overwhelming lifestyle questions you receive off your hands.

What is Transition Consulting?

Transition consulting is a combination of lifestyle orientation and cross cultural education for foreigners new to Japan, so they can seamlessly integrate their lives even if they don’t speak Japanese.

How does Transition Consulting Work?

As a transition consultant, I:

  1. Educate foreigners on how systems work in Japan and the cultural values behind them

  2. Connect foreigners to products, venues, and organizations and that fit with their vision of an ideal lifestyle

  3. Provide a safe space for support while foreigners experience culture shock

Why is Transition Consulting effective?

  1. Knowledge is power. When foreigners know exactly what to expect from living in Tokyo, they can the avoid daily frustrations that come with living and working in a new country.

  2. Foreigners lack a social support system and often feel isolated. Working with one person during their transition period creates a feeling of safety, comfort and support.

Here are the challenges that expats and their families face after relocation

After new families have settled, the real challenges begin. Expats and their spouses face the emotional ups and downs of transition at different rates:

Expats: After a few months of easing into the routine of working in Japan, they find themselves disagreeing with Japanese business processes, face culture shock, and realize that they do not have any life outside of work. They have no social circles, don’t know where to go for fitness communities, don’t know how to purchase foods to cook at home, etc. They start to miss all of the comforts they had back home and the close friendships they’ve left behind.

Spouses: Spouses - especially those with children - have more of an urgency around creating a day-to-day routine. They used to automatically do the grocery shopping and errands on auto-pilot, but they find themselves spending an overwhelming amount of time trying to relearn where to go, how to shop, and how to find what they value in a country where they can’t speak the language. They feel like their working partner is well cared for at the office, but that they have been left behind to figure things out on their own.

The solution? I educate foreigners early on in their Japan experience to eliminate their frustrations, connect them with social circles and resources, and start thriving in their new life in Japan.

Orientation Program - Food Workshop
Katheryn Gronauer Fruit Stand
Thrive Tokyo Food Workshop

Orientation to Living in Japan - Sample Agenda

Here is a sample agenda of an orientation program. I have delivered this program as outlined, and I have also customized programs based on needs for organizations and individuals. The 50-page Orientation to Living in Japan Guidebook is included.

  1. Introduction to the Expat Life-cycle
    Identify the 3 most common pitfalls expats face and learn strategies for how to overcome them for a smooth transition

  2. Money
    Understand Japanese currency, when to use cash vs credit cards, tipping culture, point card systems, how to make bank transfers, and how to make bill payments, for ease of mind with transactions

  3. Transportation
    Gain knowledge about the JR and Tokyo Metro systems & maps, Suica/Pasmo overview, transportation apps, understanding addresses, public transport etiquette, and traveling outside of the city in order to increase self-reliance day-to-day

  4. Post Office
    Gain awareness of the different kinds of delivery systems in Japan, having items delivered to your home, what to do when you receive a missed-delivery notice, and how to send packages

  5. Drug Store Overview
    This workshop is designed to simplify the experience of shopping in a drug store by breaking down the products into categories and educating on how to make selections.

    1. Toiletries
      Identify the many kinds of shampoos, skincare, toothpastes, deodorants, lotions, razors, and feminine hygiene products to take advantage of using local products

    2. Cleaning Supplies
      Understand the differences between detergents, various benefits (i.e. anti-bacterial, bleach, items for sensitive skin), the amounts to use, and how to use spray bottles for confidence in accomplishing laundry and home-cleaning

    3. Medicine
      Education on the different kinds of drug store medications, the differences between medicine in Japan and abroad, and also the differences between Eastern herbal-style traditional medicines and Western modern medicine.

  6. Food Information

This session provides expats with assurance on where to shop, how to use Japanese products, and how they can expand their food knowledge when reassessing their diets.

    1. Product Sourcing
      Learn what different kinds of products are found in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, department stores, convenience stores, and more

    2. Dining Culture
      Understand Japanese food culture including how and what they eat, seating styles, menu styles, teishoku, bento, and more

    3. Product Information
      Break down food labels, food pricing, and common Japanese household ingredients to make the best selections for health

50-Page Orientation to Living in Japan Guidebook (provided to participants)

Orientation to living in Japan Guidebook - Cover
Orientation to living in Japan Guidebook - Food Products
Orientation to living in Japan Guidebook - Cleaning Supplies

How to get started

There are two options:

  1. I can design and deliver group programs to new expats and families at your facilities, or

  2. You can hire me to work privately with workers and families.

Send an Inquiry

I would love to hear about your mobility goals and to share ways that I can assist. Please outline your request and I will reply by the end of the next business day.

Name *
Katheryn Gronauer - Expat Transition Facilitator  I’ve helped thousands of foreigners with culture and lifestyle in Japan,, and I am an ATD certified program trainer.

Katheryn Gronauer - Expat Transition Facilitator

I’ve helped thousands of foreigners with culture and lifestyle in Japan,, and I am an ATD certified program trainer.