Life Choices

A few months ago I made the decision to move back to America after living seven years abroad in Japan. I never planned on living in Japan forever, and with each year it became more and more difficult to move back. I know it sounds strange, but the longer I spent away from America, the more I felt like I didn’t belong there. Like I was changing into some weird, non-American shape, and by the time I tried to go back, it would be too late and I would no longer fit in.
What made it more frustrating was that no matter how I reshaped, I knew I would never fit into Japan, either. And I couldn’t see myself as an assistant language teacher forever. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of jobs for foreigners in Japan besides teaching, unless I moved to Tokyo, and as much as I enjoy visiting Tokyo, I would never want to live there. Thus, it was time to move on and away.

The main reason I stayed in Japan for as long as I did was because I had some awesome friends who basically became my second family. So naturally, I spent as much time as I could with them getting drunk and partying. Obviously the best time to create memories is in situations where you can barely remember anything.
I also traveled more around Japan and south east Asia in my final year then I had in the past few years. This could have been the biggest reason I barely had any money left when I left Japan. Probably. Most likely.
But all the experience, cool souvenirs and good stories made it totally worth it. Or at least, has made me interesting at parties.
The final thing I did before I left Japan was hunt for job in America. I told myself that there was no way I was getting on that plane back to America without a job secured. The idea of being broke and unemployed was terrifying, and I refused to let it happen. I was going to be gainfully employed, gosh darnit. I was not going to be spending all day on my parents couch, gaining weight, combing the internet for some place, any place that was hiring, getting more and more desperate until I finally decided, screw it, I’m moving to the mountains and becoming a hermit because I have failed at being an adult.
So I cleaned up my resume, applied to all the jobs, and scheduled Skype interviews. I even had interviews scheduled for after I got back to America. I could do this, I could adult.
Which brings us to today, four months after getting back to America, sitting on my parents couch, ten pounds heavier and the mountains looking increasingly more appealing.


But they’re probably super cold right now, so I’m going to give it a little more time. In the mean time, I’m going to try to keep my sanity by writing out my feelings to share with strangers on the internet.
And my mom, too, probably. Hi mom!



8 thoughts on “Life Choices

  1. We live fairly similar lives, but your life is presented in a much more appealing comic format, whereas mine is presented in late-night despairing rants to my tired husband. Your presentation is much better.

  2. Hi Allie, I’m half Japanese, my whole life I’ve been having two people in my head – the person who wants to live in Japan and embrace my Asainness, and the other who knows that can’t happen because I’m a ‘halfu’ – I’ll never be accepted as one of them, and ice lived a majority of my life in Australia.
    But Japan holds so many nostalgic memories for me ๐Ÿ™‚ so I totally know what you mean about trying to settle in!

    • Thanks for the comment!
      I understand how difficult it must be being “haafu” in Japan. I have some friends who are half, or raising children who are mixed-race, and hearing their stories can sometimes be heartbreaking. But hopefully, as Japan tries to become more and more internationalized, things will change for the better. :3
      I’ve always wanted to visit Australia! Maybe for my next trip. X3

  3. Yeah, know the feeling. My husband (who I met in Japan, but is Scottish) had a hell of a time getting his immigration stuff sorted out in the US. We were with my parents for over a year, and it took him nine months of that to get a job here.

    There really is quite the catch-22 about Japan. You’ll never fit in there, but now you can’t fit in back home. That’s a huge part of the reason we left when we did, to go before we were so alienated there was nothing left to go back too. Seven years is a long time, and I’m sure the transition has been tough. Keep pulling through! You’re not alone in this.

    • Thanks! Yeah, my days have basically been spent applying for jobs, occasionally getting an interview, and then being told that they went with another candidate. It gets discouraging after a while. Some people told me it took them almost a year to find something, but hopefully that’s not the case for me. D:

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