Moving to Hawaii to Translate Japanese to English?

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I just received an interesting note from a man living in the Philippines with his Japanese wife. They are considering moving to Hawaii. Here’s the note:

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I’m a 50 yr old UK citizen currently living in the Philippines. My dream has always been to live in Hawaii since watching Hawaii 5-0 as a boy in the 70’s. I still don’t think it possible but I thought I’d ask as your page makes it sound so, except maybe only for US citizens?

What would it take for me and my Japanese wife and 10 yr old son to move there? What would I have to apply for? Would I be able to work and put my son in an inexpensive school? We work online as translators of Jp to Eng. It’s enough to live here but I’m sure we couldn’t survive on it their. Could we get jobs with local Jp companies translating?

Sorry for many questions,this is my last chance I feel, if I don’t do it now I never will!

Regards, A. T.

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Wow, this is quite a situation, and I’ll apologize first for not having the answers you require. You’re a UK citizen with a Japanese wife and dual nationality son, I imagine. I don’t really know anything about citizens of other nations coming to live in the USA in Hawaii. There is just too much to know and figure out for each person or family intending to do so, I couldn’t possibly stay on top of it all.

I can comment on your question about putting your son in an inexpensive school. Don’t. That’s my advice. I wouldn’t move to the Hawaiian Islands unless you can provide a decent private school education for your 10 year old son. The public school system works OK sometimes for locals that grew up there and already have many friends. I wouldn’t say it is a good experience for kids coming new to a public school and trying to fit in.

Could you get jobs with local Japanese companies doing translation? Yes, I think you could do that without a problem. There is a great need for it. In fact, since your wife is Japanese and you both can probably translate really well, you might consider opening a business in Hawaii. I don’t often say – “Yeah, Open a Business in Hawaii!” but, in this case you might be able to make something work because you’ll have low overhead, you have great skills, you have the online business going already. I think you could probably do quite well on Oahu. There aren’t many Japanese on the other islands in comparison.

Anyway, just my two cents.

I’m curious, does your son speak English, Japanese, and Tagalog?

There are PLENTY of Filipinos in Hawaii too!


Peter Kay


About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.

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