More on Why I’m Moving to Japan

Buddha

It was scary, I won’t lie, making the decision to move to the other side of the world, but something more powerful than fear was pushing me. The simple explanation is that it was the need to know something different. The inquisitive nature of the human mind hounded me, telling me it was time to move out of the small pond and explore. I’ve lived a good life: there was always food on the table and clothes on my back, my parents are still happily married, I breezed through school and got a job right after graduating University — I will be the first to admit that I’m somewhat sheltered. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m eternally grateful

to my parents for keeping me far away from a future that involved anything emo, a home with wheels, or drugs that start with “P”.

For the more complicated explanation I’ll have to get a little bit into my religious beliefs. I believe in a creator/higher power/natural force, which I have been taught to refer to as “God”. I believe that human beings, as expressions of that divine power have the same ability to create. To me, it’s nothing mystical, I’m just learning to tap into my God-given talent to plan and build the exact life I want to live, and that’s where I got the confidence to move. After all if the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the ultimate Grand Poobah, the CEO of Earth Incorporated, if that unstoppable force of creation is on my side, what the hell is there to be afraid of right?

What it comes down to is that this move to Japan is a way to get out of my comfort zone, to grow mentally but also spiritually. I want to be fully self-aware, and there’s a lot one can learn about themselves and about human nature by being the outsider.  Japan, still so notoriously homogeneous (I think something like 98% of the population is Japanese), will give me that perspective. It might seem strange that I want to put myself in such an uncomfortable position,  but if I can do this, if I can survive and thrive in Japan — a country that fascinates the West because it’s just so different — I’ll gain something no amount of money can buy: the confidence to do Big Things. The kinds of things most people may consider doing, but for one reason or another never follow through on. I don’t know where life will take me after Japan, but whatever comes next, I’ll be well prepared to meet it.

Oh, and for you other expats in Japan, what were your reasons for making the move?

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15 Responses to More on Why I’m Moving to Japan

  1. Pingback: Japundit

  2. Good reasons.

    Mine? Mr Miyagi.

    More seriously (there was Voltron too, after all), I have always loved Japanese history and religious culture. In college, I was into philosophy (tho I majored in Comp Sci… go figure. Actually, I’ve been told by people smarter than me that Comp Sci is a branch of philosophy). Alan Watts fascinated me, and that led me to study zen. The opportunity came up and I couldn’t resist. Glad I did.

    I grew up in a middle-class, multi-culture environment, so I was sheltered as well. It was strange: I’m Italian, and I was surrounded by kids of every race around the world. I say strange because even tho it seemed normal at the time, as I look back, it’s hard to believe that existed in Indiana of all places (in the bible belt). I honestly didn’t even know what racism was till I entered high school, which was outside of my little bubble, located in the inner-city. Being exposed to reality was a bit of a shock. I suppose coming to Japan was also a way of being even more independent in a way and putting the sheltered, mr rogers world, behind me. I’m grateful for my parents’ intentions, make no mistake, but a time comes when you have to gain new experience.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m glad you don’t regret your move to Japan — not that I think I will. I have been researching and researching for months now and found all kinds of expat groups, and I’m already making aquaintances in Japan through this blog (the internet is a wonderful thing.) So I’m not too worried about being alone. I’m also intrigued by the principles behind Zen, what little I know anyway. I like the introspective nature of it.

  3. Loco says:

    There’s definitely confidence to be built here, so if that’s what you need to spur big things, you’re sure to achieve it!
    I think I came here for a combination of escape, adventure, girls and anonymity…but this is hindsight talking. I can hardly remember the real reasons it their were any. Might have just said Ef it and came, knowing me. (-;
    Lovely post!
    Loco

    • Amanda says:

      They say pressure makes diamonds right? Although sometimes I’m not so sure…

      All I know is that I intend to come with an open mind and learn as much as I can.

  4. Chris Davis says:

    I had an interest in Japan from way back, based around anime, manga, samurai movies, video games and food. Then, after I graduated, I was looking for something to fill the hole left by no longer being a full time student and I started studying the language at an adults course. I’ve never been a good student so I didn’t progress far but it did leave me with some basic vocabulary and the ability to read hiragana and katakana.

    I spent 6 years in the IT industry and there were good times and bad times, but by the end I was pretty burned out. For my own health I decided I needed to something that didn’t have me in front of a computer for 10-12 hours a day and also, something that would be a big change. I’d been to Japan before on holiday and loved my time here so it also seemed like the perfect chance to spend more time here.

    At the time I thought I might want to go back to IT in the future but, so far, I haven’t regretted the move at all. Well, apart from the pay cut!

    The funny thing is, I now watch far less anime etc. than I used to. I guess when you’re (relatively) immersed in the culture you don’t feel the need to seek it out in other ways. Maybe I do eat more Japanese food now though :-) .

    • Amanda says:

      Your reasons sound similar to my own, I didn’t do the obligatory travelling before settling into a 9-5, and I didn’t want to miss out. So once I paid off my loans and I could afford to take the pay cut I decided it was time to go.

      Also I haven’t taken any formal Japanese lessons, or ever been to Japan before. So this will all be brand-spankin’ new.

  5. Chris B says:

    Being worshiped (by the ladies) like some kinda pulp fiction badass in a way the surpasses even Hawaii was it for me :)

    Let’s be honest. The men around here have their spines removed at birth.

    Seriously, go Wiki it ;)

    • Amanda says:

      Aahh, how is that working out for you?

      I hear the same isn’t true for foreign women unfortunatley, maybe because of the reason you mentioned above. Although maybe there’s something more to it. After all this is the culture that brings us Samurai and karate.

  6. AnnaTrouble says:

    I had absolutely no interest in Japan. My boss sent me here in 1997 (or maybe 1998, it’s all a bit hazy now, and yes, I’m THAT old). And after a year of forced labor, I finally escaped thinking “never again”. Ha! Never say never. By early 2000s I was back, with a Japanese guy in tow. How’s that for ironic?

    You know, personally I don’t think that Japan is so different. It’s not. Only the Japanese think it is, because they’ve been brainwashed into believing they’re so unique.

    • Amanda says:

      Not that different you say? I’m sure to me, who’s only lived in western suburbia for the vast majority of my life it’ll be just as different as they want me to think it is :P .

  7. Scott says:

    How’s Japan working for you? I’m looking at moving there very soon myself.

    • Amanda says:

      Really? I’ve still got some weeks to go before I hop on the plane so I can’t really say anything about living in Japan yet. When are you moving over?

  8. Rebekah says:

    Im hoping to go soon, Im in-love with Japan.
    Just need to figure out what I need to do to get there..
    And whats the quickest way is..

    • Amanda says:

      You could try English teaching if you think you can do it (see my post on teaching in Japan). But if you’re young why not come over to study? Do a cultural exchange with your school or something like that.

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