It is nearly one-year since I moved away from my hometown and started a cultural luxurious life in Japan. I moved away from my home town about one year ago. The move was overwhelming, exciting, tiring, frustrating yet satisfying. This was my second time moving out but truthfully the first time to know what moving out really meant.
My first time moving out, you could say, was a bit of a failure. I was still back in my home town and choose to move out of home to live closer to work. The idea seemed good at the time, but I wasn’t smart about rent and such. Plus, I had a job where it resulted me being out of the country for long lengths of time, hence, living in a rental apartment was like putting money into someone else’s mortgage – the black hole – without truly using the apartment. It was a stupid move. This second time around, I wasn’t just moving out but moving to a new country, have a different life and a different job.
The idea of moving is very refreshing. You think about what is waiting for you at that end. I was lucky to have a predecessor for my job and I was taking over her apartment. Therefore, I was able to not acquire or experience how troublesome it could be to find an apartment in Japan. I heard some of my mates here that most of them got their predecessor’s apartment as well. Some didn’t and had to start from point zero. For those who did have an apartment arranged, depending on your predecessor, you could have a place packed with rubbish or filled with decent furniture and free utensils. I was lucky and was the latter. Yes, very lucky indeed. I had to still go through the process as would any foreign person would do working in Japan and that was getting a mobile phone, internet, sort of gas and electricity, and also get a residence card and bank card. The mobile phone and bank card was most annoying. Having limited Japanese understanding doesn’t help, but having kind colleagues who are welling to take you to get thinks sorted is a major bonus.
Over time, I got the hang of things. Anyone would really. Humans are built to survive. You obviously work out routes to get to work but you also you work out where generally things like the closest train station, convenient stores and grocery stores are. Because Japan was a complete different country to what I was used to, everyday, it was very mind taxing. You have to speak in another language, reading things that you have no ideas what it means, and interact with people with different etiquette and attitude. At work, the cultural different is apparent. Even after months and months, the way of thinking, the way of approaching problems, the way of comprehending is different. Difference isn’t so much of a problem, but compromise and consideration is. That is a whole post by itself and I may have mentioned a few things in the Cultural Shock 101 post I did much earlier in my blog.
Moving out provides you a whole new prospective about housework. I didn’t really rely on my friend to do the housework for me as I did it myself. Basic stuff like cleaning your own room, organising your study, dusting and making general areas such as at the lounge, kitchen and so on was not a problem. But because you share a space with others, those ‘others’ would obviously do the work for you because you get to it. Moving out made me realise that I can leave the dishes unwashed only to a certain time limit or not to laundry to the point where I nothing decent or nice to wear for work.
This whole process reminded me of the time I was learning how to ride a bike. I had never truly ridden a bike until two-years ago. My uncle gave me four lessons over a month – so technically one lesson each weekend for that month. I remember slowly getting the hang of padding on a straight line. I paddled for a bit and stopped. The bike was moving still but the pace lowered very quickly and I had to paddle again for it to move faster. My uncle yelled at me and said ‘Yes, you have to paddle for the bike to bloody move you idiot’. Of course I knew that, but it felt like a Eureka moment for some odd reason. Perhaps for a person who had been driving for over 10 years and the car would still move even if you lift your leg off the accelerator, and then to move to a bike that requires manual labour, it seemed very foreign at the time. Nonetheless, I got the hang of riding a bike, and just like I got the hang of living in a foreign country by myself in my awesome one person apartment. Feels pretty great when you come to term with things and realise you have grown to deal with situations without the need of anyone to help. To know how to be alone and live by yourself – to me – is something very special.
A couple of days ago, I asked two of my good friends, who came along to Japan the same time as I did, as to what they were doing around this time last year. Friend N answered she was finishing up her Masters degree in Education while Friend M said she was working still teaching up until around a week before departure. Friend N asked me what I was doing last year this time around. I answered something along the lines of bonding or reconnecting time. I was jobless this time last year. Well, I knew I had a new job to go to in July but I wasn’t working around June 2015. In fact, I was jobless between February 2015 to June 2015. I had quit my job and went on a path to do self awareness and personal salvation – so to speak. I used the time to just relax and ‘somewhat’ bond with family and friends. Trust me when I say you learn a lot being with family and see how they are when you, being jobless, and your parents being retired handle each other and how you socialize. This period of downtime had its pros and cons. Was I ever lost during that jobless time? Absolutely. Am I still lost? To some what, yes. Do I regret quitting my previous? No. Do I regret making the decision to come to Japan? Hell no! This has been the best roller coaster ride I had ever gone on. If I could have my way, I wish I could of turned back some time and done this program sooner. Working in Japan, for sure, has its highs and lows. But, its no doubt a life experience that everyone should do at least once. Is this the best decision of my life? So far, I would say yes because it has changed me, changed the way I see things, and changed my attitude towards certain things.
Self growth, self discovery and self awareness are very important. The more you see how far you can go, the earlier you realise the common mistakes you make, learn from them; the better you become as being yourself. Before I leave, I wanted to share something I watched from BuzzFeed about moving out.
Everything it mentions is so so true. I honestly thought the video was about me except when it mentioned about wearing underwear multiple times and I NEVER DO THAT! Totally hilarious nonetheless.