Everyone! I apologise truly for my lack of presence lately. Everyone has come to support me and I haven’t really given you much at all… But I’m glad so many of you enjoyed the photos. So now I’ll fill you in a bit on what I’ve been up to the past 2 months. (Has it been that long already!?)
So I moved to Tokyo as you all know! I’ve never been more happy about a decision in my entire life. Well honestly… it’s the first decision I’ve ever really made for myself. Always I wanted to revolve my life around others. The weeks before departing from the States I struggled a lot thinking of the people I was leaving. Babies birthdays I’d miss, how my dad would miss me on the holidays, etc. I thought it was wrong for me to go… But I learned that by simply staying to watch others as they grow, I’m not growing myself. Due to my battle with anxiety, it’s very vital for me to always feel like I’m growing. I’ve fully accepted the events that happened the past (almost two years), because as hard as they were, and as painful as it is to remember, it has all lead me here.
Currently I’m studying at University. Language is the hardest part of this journey. Every day is a struggle for me to feel confident. It’s only been two months, but at the same time it’s already been two months. I try often to notice where I’m improving, but when you can’t convey in Japanese what you want to say in English, it can feel difficult to make discussion. But I’m trying harder more and more.
I’m sick a lot in Japan, but it hasn’t put a damper on anything. I think the air is possibly more dry here (at least it feels that way to me) so often I have a sore throat. We joke that all of us international students take a mask selfie when we first fall ill. Masks are kind of weird to wear because I hate breathing in them. But also they are convenient and when I’m traveling on a packed train and the men next to me are coughing up a storm, I’m grateful when I’m wearing one.
Japan is peaceful. Never have I felt more comfortable somewhere. Even through the stares, and the occasional “omg gaijin” remarks, I feel like I fit in here. There are people my size and I can always find shoes. The night life in Tokyo is INSANE. So me being the insomnia ridden person I am, I love that things are constantly moving when I can’t seem to stop. But even through the hustle and bustle of city life there are small getaways. Parks and rooftop grass beds are my favourites. At parks you can watch the kids play, business men take breaks, and lovers hang out in the night. The rooftop at my school may be my favourite though. I can look over the city and feel the sun or wind. I thought adjusting to living in the city would be a huge struggle for me. I really enjoy it, but I do miss the nature of Michigan and being able to hide out in a nearby forest and feeling like you’ve escaped the real world.
Soon it becomes my birthday. I’m at the point where I can almost say a woman never reveals her true age… ew. But I feel still very much a child. (This photo is Hachiko by the way. We share a birthday. He’s famous in Japan.) My birthday isn’t something I’m looking forward to. Last year was the first birthday I’ve felt something for. I received a single card from peers, and that one card sparked something for the people I met last year. I miss them all every single day, and as much as I want to grow and see the future, I find myself too often thinking of last year. It was the turning point in my life, so I think it will always be my most precious time.
I feel like every day I’m growing in Japan. At first maybe I should credit お酒の力 (the power of liquor, which enables you to make friends fast). But as the days pass and I look at the people around me, the people I miss, who I am, who I was, who I could become, no matter what my struggles of the day are, I dare say, I might just be happy. If it’s not whatever happiness is, then I’m appreciative. I think that’s a better word. I’m glad to wake up every day here. Even on the days I think, “what am I doing?” “Why am I trying”. Today I had for the first time since my first week the thought, “Holy shit. I’m in Japan.” as I watched the train depart from the station near my dorm.
It’s becoming just as the students that went abroad before me said. I have no way of truly feeling like anyone back home can understand what I’m experiencing. When they ask me how Japan is, and the only thing I can really say is, it’s amazing, it doesn’t even brush the surface of what Japan is to me. Of course there are a few people who have always known about my hidden passion to come here, maybe they get it. But I really wish there were words to describe everything.
But I guess honestly… Most of what I’m learning, most of what I’m feeling, and even a lot of my experiences, I want them locked away in my heart for myself. So I’m grateful for the things that language can’t evoke sometimes. After all, words don’t mean much to me anyway. But I know these feelings are real. And I want to keep struggling and learning as much as possible here.