tsuki September and Fading Friendships while Living in Japan


After lots of hard work, the September issue of tsuki magazine is on sale! You can check it out here and even get a discount using this code: tsuki0912

My favourite part of this month’s magazine is a story called “The Next Offensive” by Peter Able. It’s about two friends chilling playing some video games online, but as the story goes on you can see the subtle distance that’s started to grow between them. This part of the story especially shows it:

When Billy’s follow-up question finally came it was in a sympathetic, yet sarcastic tone: “So it’s driving you nuts, huh?”

“Not all of the time,” came Tom’s delayed reply. “Sometimes it’s pretty cool. Everything is different, so every day is interesting. But some days, you just want everything to be easy, and it never is. Even the simplest things, like making a dinner reservation, or getting an oil change, can be so friggin’ difficult. Second wave leaving in ten.”

“My troops took out eighty percent of wall defenses so you shouldn’t lose much. Yeah, I can see how it could be frustrating,” Billy said noncommittally.

* * *

“So how long are you going to stay?” he asked.
“I don’t know, at least another year. Maybe forever,” Tom replied.
“Wow, really?” Billy said. A few more moments passed before he added: “I’m gonna have to come for a visit one of these days.”
“Yeah, definitely.” It was Tom’s turn to sound noncommittal.

Losing friendships — it’s not something I thought about before coming to Japan, or read about on any other blogs. Nobody warned me about this! *sadface*. I’ve never been that good at keeping in touch, even when I did live in the same country as my friends. I wasn’t so big on long phone conversations. I used texts or Facebook instead, or just saw them in person the old-fashioned way. And even if we hadn’t talked for a month, we’d get together again and it would be like we hadn’t skipped a beat.

However, last Christmas I met up with my old crew, and while I was glad to see them, I could tell something was off. The old jokes weren’t as funny, the old hangouts weren’t as fun to visit, and the old sushi didn’t taste as good. I’m not the same person I was when I left almost two years ago. I probably haven’t changed as much as I’d like to think I have, but there has definitely been some growth.

I feel guilty for feeling like I’m not on the same wavelength as my friends in Canada. Am I just being stuck up? Thinking I’m fancy ’cause I live in Tokyo?

I’ve grown by living abroad and expanded my horizons while my poor friends are stuck in their small-town mindsets, and now I can’t relate to them.

I cringed just writing that, and it’s an exaggerated example of what I feel, yet when I go home I don’t quite feel that old sense of belonging anymore. It scares me. Is there still a home for me when I go back…if I go back? Maybe this is one reason some people stay here longer than they probably should have. I wouldn’t say I belong here, but truthfully, part of why I like it here is that I’m not supposed to belong. I’m a foreigner, an outsider, and nothing will change that, which leaves me free to stop trying. But if I don’t belong here, and I no longer belong in Canada, then where do I fit in?





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4 Responses to tsuki September and Fading Friendships while Living in Japan

  1. Ms. Godzilla says:

    Hi, I know what you mean. The simple fact of living in a country so different from your native one changes you… and a lot of people have trouble getting it.
    You will have a home when you go back, but you will probably have to create a new one, and perhaps lose some of those old friendships in the process…

  2. Dorimi says:

    Nice article as im planning to move for studying in China. Maybe not the same situation but close one =)
    Hope you will be posting much often as i really like to read you Japanese adventures ^^

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