To Another Year, Kanpai!

The Nagoshi Festival is over, signalling that another year living in Japan has come to an end. It has now been 2 years since I came here to work and be a cultural ambassador for Jamaica. I sometimes wonder why in the world I decided to come all the way to this country that is so far away from my close friends and family. There have been ups and downs, but overall i'm surprised at how quickly the two years have flown by. If I had the chance to talk to my past self puzzling over whether or not he should take the leap and go to Japan, I would say "Do it! It's going to be a fun ride".

Back in 2012, during graduate school, I lived in Japan for 4 months. During that period I spent most of my days working on my school project, however, the small taste of Japanese culture that I was able to experience made me want to return and stay for a longer duration. After I completed my studies, I decided to take the plunge and apply for the JET Programme. I completed the tedious application process, battled through the interview and before I knew it I was on a plane to Japan. Fast forward two years and i'm still here, now entering my 3rd year.

Many people expect that me being in Japan means i've entered some magical land where i'm surrounded by advanced technology every waking day, or girls who walk around being super cute and shy all the time or that I gorge on raw fish and ramen on a daily basis. Granted, I do have a deep love for ramen. Sadly it's way too unhealthy for me to eat as much as I would like to. Sushi and sashimi...while the taste is pretty good, the texture of raw fish isn't for me. People would be surprised how similar life here becomes to living in most other countries once the glamour and magic of "Omg i'm in Japan!" wears off. I didn't become a shinobi or acquire a harem of girls (not that anyone knows about).

There are still many things I have not seen or experienced in Japan. The part of me that constantly worries about the future prevents me from truly experiencing certain things in the present. I'm constantly questioning what i'm going to do in the future when I finish JET. I feel like I will possibly try to stay in Japan for a while. Returning to Jamaica is definitely last on my list, as much as I love and miss the food and my family and friends. Moving to Canada is also a possibility i've considered. But the entry barrier seems too high for my field of interest at this point in time. It would suck to go there and work at a call center or something with all my qualifications (not that I'm trying to sound egotistical or have anything against the people who do those jobs).

I need to get over all of my worries about the uncertain future, get my butt in gear to work on some personal projects more, and hopefully break out of my shell some more to begin to form more meaningful bonds with people around me. For the most part, I feel at home here. Whenever I go to travel somewhere, when I return and see the familiar faces greeting me brightly and having delightful conversations, I think to myself "I'm home". Of course it's going to suck if/when I move to somewhere else in the future. Well, guess I will just need to build that community around me again, until I finally settle down somewhere.

For the time being, i'll try to enjoy things as they are now as much as I can, while balancing out preparation for the coming future. I'm anxious and excited, but wherever I might end up as long as it's where God wants me to be them i'm golden.

Dream Believe Live Grow