“You are American. I am Japanese.”

“Love” and “Friendship” are two of my favourite things to write about because I have no understanding of either of them. Do they have a purpose? Do we need them? Why do we crave them? All the questions are endless in my mind when it comes to these two topics. But since being in Japan I’ve felt I’ve learned a little about friendship.

After last year, the year I will always refer to as the year that changed my life, I didn’t believe there was a point to meeting new people. Those that I considered to be the most close to me are completely unique and unreplaceable. I remember thinking a lot after my best friend left that having becoming friends with this person had been such a waste of my time. We get so close to people and they eventually just leave. I still think it’s true. But, in all honesty, they haven’t left me.

No… I can’t text them every day with random antics and joke about in the same manner or spend the same kind of time. All of that has faded away with their new life. But in my times where I need to hear truthful words, I can always rely on them. And they know they can always rely on me. This person will always be in my heart. They changed my life in some of the best ways. And I will never forget them.

This showed me that despite the fact that we all have to separate eventually, the people who are of true value in your life will always be there for you. Maybe it can’t be every day. Maybe sometimes it will feel like they’ve forgotten you. But really, they are still the ones that are looking out for you the most.

Making friends in Japan scared the hell out of me. I’m not talkative. I’m kind of weird. And let’s not get into emotional baggage. I’m still not 100% on accepting myself, so how will total strangers who only have to put up with me for a few months see me as a friend?

Sometimes finding out who is genuine in Japan can be difficult because our cultures are so different. I had a fall out with a friend recently and thought, “well, I guess it’s just because our cultures are too different.” Yesterday when the same topic came up with another friend I thought… well… I just can’t have a true Japanese girl friend here. But this friend listened openly and accepted my feelings as we discussed them both in my shitty Japanese and in English. To me she said many things.

“You are American. I am Japanese. But nationality doesn’t matter so much I think. I want you to be happy because you are really good friend to me.”

So this struck me… Despite the cultural differences and the language barrier… despite the struggle of fully being able to understand one another, her and I made it work because she is a friend of true value. No matter what the problem or difficulty, a true friend will understand you at the end and support you. It made me realise that the friend I lost couldn’t have been a great friend. And I really appreciate this experience.

I get caught up on a lot of little things as I always do. But the things I’m learning make every struggle I face here seem so small. It’s been about 2 and half months now in Japan. I know there are so many hurdles still to come. I know I’m going to cry and be hurt. But I know more that what I take from this whole experience… that’s what I’ll cherish the most.

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