With my time here in Japan nearly coming to an end, I take a moment to look back on what felt like a quick 6 months living in this beautiful country.
Coming in, I really had no gauge of what to expect, going from a sheltered and guided student lifestyle (by professors, peers, and institutions), to a more independent and responsibility-bearing working life.
It wasn’t an easy transition initially, but I gradually eased into the daily grind, and it soon became a comfortable routine.
This seamless transition was helped by many of the friendly people I met along the way, and especially my co-workers who created a very welcoming and fun workplace environment (both at the hospital, and here at English Avenue).
There are far too many highlights to list here, but all the trips that I was fortunate enough to take around Japan definitely will be long-lasting memories.
The many friends from Australia that came to visit me here gave me even more reason to explore both inside and outside of Tokyo, but I never thought I’d take on the role of a tour guide (I went to Hakone 4 times…).
Another obvious highlight, is the many amazing and unique (and sometimes questionable) culinary experiences I had, ranging from Kyoto’s elegant Kaiseki-ryori, to a not-so-glamorous local “horumon-yaki” izakaya.
Although much of my time here was spent reconnecting with old childhood friends and distant relatives, the new friends that I have met here have also given me reason to call Tokyo my second home.
Finally, having many of my misguided and misinterpreted preconceptions cleared up about Japan’s socio-political climate and Japanese people’s philosophy on life, has been an eye-opening experience.
While I was relatively confident that I had a fairly good grasp on Japanese culture and identity as a Japanese person myself, being raised abroad in a Westernised country had biased and clouded my perspective.
Although the amount of time I spent in this country was not enough to fully experience Japan in its entirety, I feel more confident (relative to before) to be able to spread the true word about this great country, back in Australia.