Retirement: Early Days

by James
(Kyoto, Japan)

I have been retired only five weeks. My company retired me. Mind you, I am sixty six and worked one year over the retirement age in a part-time position.

I was hoping to continue until I was seventy, but the company has had some financial problems and they decided to make cutbacks. It came as a surprise with only a month's notice.

Anyway, my wife and I are moving into my late mother-in-law's house in a rural area. Mainly for financial reasons. I must say, I am somewhat gobsmacked. An empty feeling has gripped me emotionally. Even as we make plans to move, I have a fear of isolation.

I am not yet depressed in the true sense, but I do fear it. I'm hoping that I am going through a transition period that things will work out. Having worked all my life, this is indeed a big transition.

Wendy: The Retirement Transition is not easy for so many of us (even in JAPAN)! I am thrilled that you have enough brains to even LOOK for help online. Read the stories, you are not alone. Hopefully others will chime in here.

Comments for Retirement: Early Days

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by: James

Hi Joe. I'm not sure about 'small business incubators.' Haven't actually heard the phrase, either in English or Japanese. Not that I think I would understand the Japanese translation, perhaps.

Anyway, in this rural town we moved to, there are many elderly people. Many of them spend time in their allotments growing vegetables. In fact, since we've been here the next door neighbour has given us various vegetables. Actually, one of my private students phoned yesterday to say she will pop round with some of her home grown veggies today.

Not exactly 'small business incubators' here. More like small vegetable incubators.

Still, it is a healthy retirement activity. Sorry if the reply has been slow. Cheers!

Serious browsing
by: James

Hi Everyone! I click on here from time to time, but today I seriously browsed and read a lot of the responses to my original comment. I must say I am encouraged that we are all sailing in the same retirement ship and looking out for one another, even if it is only an online ship. It's encouraging.

Well, I/we have moved into our new home in a Japanese country town. The town has all the basic amenities, including a station, supermarket etc. The town has a large elderly population and it feels a bit like a retirement village.

The people are very friendly, with complete strangers offering daily greetings. I do stick out, being a foreigner, but not like a sore thumb :)

I'm gradually settling into retirement mode. But, it's going to take more time to fully adjust. I exercise every day. Started doing some gardening, although I my fingers are not so green. I read a fair bit.

I put a leaflet, flyer in the locally home delivered newspaper (this morning's edition) advertising English lessons. Got a phone call already for a mother who wants me to teach her young son. They spent some time in a America a few years ago, and she wants her son to brush up his speaking skills.

Sorry, if the above is a bit boring, but just felt like responding. I do miss living in a city suburb, but I'm adjusting. Some days are better than others. Today is a goodish day. Well, that's about it from a fellow retiree.

Wishing you all my best wishes. Cheers, James.

Wendy James, this is NOT boring at all. Every person who visits gains something they seek. Your story and updates encourage others...

I find it really COOL that you can teach English there.. giving you a purpose and yet providing a great service too! Go For It!

by: James

Hi Minoru, thanks for your comments. Also others who have posted recently. Y

es, I have been living in Japan a number of years with my Japanese wife and family. We haven't yet moved house to the town in Okayama prefecture, yet. But, we are busy preparing, which is keeping me pretty occupied. We move in about three weeks.

Yes, I'm hoping to teach English privately when I move to the new town, which is not very large. Need to really brush up on my Japanese, though. I had been working and socializing in an English speaking environment for a number of years and didn't get to using my Japanese as much as I would have liked.

Anyway, this is just a short reply. Hope all is well. Yours, from a new retiree.

Happiness is like a rainbow
by: Nina from London

Hello James,

Sometimes it rains and the sky looks ominous. Then out of nowhere a rainbow appears. This amazing surprise brings hope which sometimes changes how you see the world.

Retirement can be the most wonderful journey with these kinds of surprises.

Good luck and best wishes, Nina

Hang in there
by: Anonymous

Hang in there. I felt the same way after needing to take an early retirement after 35 years. It was like the world stopped and i kept turning to see what's next?

Looking back it was Definitely a transitional time. I love retirement.

My pace has slowed down. I set my alarm early, get up, make cappuccino and take it back to bed where i can actually finish meditation and prayer time and taking vitamins ! I'm energized and have time to spare to get to the Ymca without rushing.

Anyway, Come on in the waters great!


How are things now?
by: Minoru

Hi, James

I may be looking at your ad that could be a little old. It caught my eyes because it said "James from Japan". I am a retired senior Japanese from Yokohama, Japan myself and thought I would write to you. I do not find ads from Japan seniors too often on this site.

Japan is going through difficult times caused mostly from the world economic situations affecting lives of many people and the things do not seem to get any better.

It appears that you have a great command of English and you may be able to use that talent and do something that may keep you occupied and give you some economic returns (not much) even in a small community you have moved to. Though, I am afraid I am suggesting something that you know and have explored.

At any rate, I simply hope that things are getting better for you now that you have lived in the community for a several months.

Best wishes,

Good to talk, correspond
by: James

Yes Wendy, it is good to talk with others who experience the same situation. One can open one's heart and let your feelings be known with the confidence others understand and care. Hopefully, I will let my feelings be known more in the future as I adjust or not adjust to retirement.

I'm glad I came across this website. Like another poster said, it is good to read other people's comments, views. Thanks, James.

So pleased to have 'discovered' this site
by: Denise

Hello to all retirees out in the big wide world.
I am 65 and have been retired for almost a year now.

When I first retired I went mad - cleaning the house and decorating it from top to bottom - then took up baking and put on over a stone in weight!

I had it in mind that I would spend a year of my retirement just catching up with chores, doing cross stitch and generally having a leisurely interlude. After the year I intended doing a lot more 'outside' the house - but unfortunately a bad bout of bronchitis (English weather doesn't help!) - this has laid me very low and the 'blues' have come thick and fast. I am sure the saying 'this too will pass' is true and eventually I will feel better and back on course.

I can wholeheartedly emphasise with many of the comments on this site - retirement is a remarkable transition and I think you have to put a lot of effort into making every moment count.

I have little family left - my only sister has been diagnosed some time ago with dementia - so I have no-one really to talk to. We did plan to do so much together in retirement - but sadly it was not meant to be.

I wish everyone eventual happiness - so someone told me once to strive for 'contentment' instead. I count all my blessings every day and hope that I can get on course again soon and make the most of my retirement.

I am not a wealthy retiree - I lost my husband in 1996 but I am lucky to have a wonderful son. I look forward to seeing more comments and hope I am lucky in finding new friends!

Denise from England.

Wishing you a wonderful life
by: Wilma

Hello James,

I extend sympathy on your wife's and your loss. We all have chapters in our lives and move into them as we age and situations change.

You are to be commended for thinking of your fears before you make the move. Because of this you will probably not see them happen. I do not know your exact circumstances on being in the country but I hope you have a space for a garden. Digging in the earth and growing things is wonderful therapy no matter how small. If you are able, start a garden as soon as possible.
Help your wife with her work and think about things you would like to do.

You might even make a list of possibilities. Look at the list and give it some thought each day. It will not be long until you will wonder how you ever had time to go to work each day. Many retirees say this. Learn as many new things as you can. Reading is an excellent source for learning.

I live in the U.S. and was very lucky to visit Kyoto quite a few years ago. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.
Take good care of yourself. I would love corresponding with you when you get settled. wilma at
I wish you a wonderful life.
Write when you want. Wilma

Thank you for your responses
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your responses to my posting. Some comforting advice. This site is very user friendly and I am sure I will make some close correspondants in the near future. It really helps to know that others share the same experiences.

As we all know, retirement is a big transition period. As I mentioned in my original posting, it is early days for me, but this site will help me I'm sure. I look forward to making some online friends.

Joe, Japan has a high elderly, retired population, especially in the town I am moving to. I'm hoping to pick up some part-time work if possible after I move there. For the moment, I am coping, even though the weather is very hot and humid. The height of summer.

Once again, thanks for your responses. Cheers.

by: Kae-from Canada

Hi James

I'm so sorry you mother-in-law has passed. Death in the family creates much change and sadness.

You have maybe read the list of life stresses that various researchers put some credence to, and moving ranks in the top 3 most stressful situations. The other 2 are divorce and death.

It takes time to adjust to major change and fear of the unknown and you'll be just fine.

Retirement and relocating are huge changes and there is usually an adjustment period. As you say, it's early days.

Within this on-line retirement site there are people from around the world, who support each other with words of encouragement, advice, shared experiences and information.

I've been a member for some time now (can't remember exactly when I joined), and have found the articles under "All Things Retirement" extremely helpful. Most of all it's empowering to feel a connection with others who are experiencing similar life experiences.

There is a pen-pal opportunity available through this site too. It is important to remember you are not alone and you can reach out to all of us whenever you feel like it.

Wendy: Kae, Thank you for your kind words!

Retirement around the world
by: Terry B

Many `seniors` write in to this website that are feeling lost and worried about their future after the routine of everyday work is broken.

For a lot of people the shock of no longer having the discipline of a routine sends them into a depression which is certainly not what they envisaged retirement was all about.

If I have learned anything from this site its that everyone needs a friend or preferably friends to chat and correspond with. I am convinced that the lonely and lost would get great comfort from being penfriends with complete strangers!

The chances are they will soon become very good friends and confidantes but only if they are prepared to put a little effort into the friendship and not to expect all the news and amusing stories to come from them alone.

I personally have made a few close friends who helped me through a traumatic and sad time and I shall be eternally grateful to them ,we write to one another at least weekly on about just about every topic imaginable, its a window on other peoples worlds. They can confide about health problems, house and family issues as well as sharing triumphs with their friends on here.

My personal friends live in entirely different time zones and hopefully I will get to meet some of them one day soon. I suppose what I am saying is there is no need to feel sad and lonely when you retire there are thousands in the same position just needs a bit of effort on your part to contact them.. so go for it you wont regret it!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you Wendy for a first class effort on behalf of us `old timers` I know I come from the "other side of the pond" but its obvious your site fulfils a great need......well done you!
Terry Baker (Brit)
sportscruiser at

Wendy: WOW, Terry! First Kae gives my site great kudos, then you! I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the moment. THANK YOU for reaching out to someone here!

Retirement Transition
by: Joe W.


Welcome! I notice that your in the 'environmental issues' leading city of Kyoto, Japan.

At Age 66 I would think that you have some pension income coming to you. Also, I understand that Japan has an above average number of senior citizens starting at Age 65.

Am I right to say that Japan is creating a number of 'small business incubators' to help the Japanese transition to a productive retirement life. Are you aware of this happening there?

Joe W.

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