I thought about breaking posts about living in Japan down into an FAQ of sorts. And I will get around to it. But while lying in bed last night, I realized there’s one that I’ve been asked over and over again.
What’s it like?
Well, how much time do you have?
What people really want is sort of elevator pitch style response. A minute or less. They’re interested, but if you get into it with too much enthusiasm, people are going to start backing away slowly, glancing at their watches and making excuses about having left the kettle on at home.
I’m terrible at being brief. I’m a writer, for crying out loud. And there’s no way to cut this type of experience down to the equivalent of a commercial. What do I talk about? Where do I even begin?
Moving overseas in general was an experience in and of itself. Then there’s the people. The language: the barrier and learning to speak Japanese. The food. The culture. The environment. The fact that I am living in Misawa, not Tokyo, which really confuses people when I tell them my backyard is farmland and it’s actually a very low-key place. People want to hear about the “weird” Japanese stuff and out of this world stories, but, honestly, life here is slow paced and quiet.
Aside from the jets. But we’re on an air base, so… yeah. That’s been a part of my life for the past decade and some change. I’m used to it. The people seem pretty used to it, too.
There have been some really amazing moments in our first few months here. There have also been a lot of struggles and grappling with complicated emotions. We’ve experienced things that, on the drive back to base, I’ve looked at MarvMan and said, “You know, I know so many people who will only ever see postcards of this kind of thing. And here we are. In person. Living it.”
I stood on the cliffs at Cape Shiriyazaki and basked in complete gratitude for where life has lead.
I’ve also cried and considered deleting my Facebook account watching family and friends live their lives back home, moving on without us. Forming bonds we’ll never be privy to.
And then I’ve promptly drowned those sorrows in chocorooms and hi-chews and sushi so fresh it would make you cry all over again.
There’s a lot more to talk about when you’ve picked up and moved to another country than just what you might see in a commercial. And it really does the whole experience a disservice to try to boil it down.
So I hope you’ll stick around.