Living Alone – The Truth

It has been nearly one year since I moved away from Australia and started my new life in Japan.  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 was a bit of a failure.  I rented out a flat (owned by a colleague) closer to work down the Gold Coast. But short after was told I would be travelling 90% of the year… so no point in renting really. Long story short, for three months, I paid rent to an empty apartment. Stupid. This second time around, I wasn’t just moving out but moving to a new country, have a different life and a different job. It was a full new start for me.

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, luckily, was the latter.  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 were the most annoying.  Having limited Japanese understanding doesn’t help, but having kind colleagues who are willing to take you to get things sorted is a major bonus.

Over time, I got the hang of things.  Anyone would really.  Humans are built to survive., you know. You obviously work out routes to get to work but you also work out where generally things like the closest train station, convenient stores and grocery stores are.  I also worked out who memberships or discount cards to get for shopping. Bargains man! Because Japan was a completely different country to what I was used to, every day, it was very mentally 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 difference is apparent.  Even after months and months, the way of thinking, the way of approaching problems, the way of comprehending is different.  The difference isn’t so much of a problem, but compromise and consideration are.  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 with a whole new perspective about housework.  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. Living on my own also made me realise that I could leave the dishes unwashed only no clean plates and spoons were left and not needing to do laundry to the point where I have nothing decent to wear for work.

Getting sick is probably the worst part of moving out. Because I live alone, basically if I am sick, no one knows but me. The only way people will know is if you let them know. Duh! And in some way sounds very very sad. I got sick recently… food poisoning. And had to make my own way to the closeby hospital. Not fun at all. Checking in was stressful. Having to speak in another language whilst you are sick is terrible. You feel awful, lonely and sad. But what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. The upside is I found out where the hospital is located and got a hospital card so if anything happens next time, I am good to go. Weird thing to say, but handy.

For some reason, this moving out experience 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 at 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 Master’s 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 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 of preparing myself to start a new life in Japan.  Do I regret quitting my previous? No.  Do I regret making the decision to come to Japan?  Hell no! THIS HAS BEEN MY DREAM FOR THE LONGEST TIME! This has been the best roller coaster ride I had ever gone on.  If I could have my way, I wish I could have turned back sometime and done this program sooner. For years, I have wanted to move to Japan; and just wish I did it sooner.  Working in Japan, for sure, has its highs and lows.  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. Would I go back to the way things were before? Hell no!!!

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.

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