It’s been 2 weeks since my the start of my year long internship here in Japan. If you were to ask me what I thought about working in Japan 2 years ago, I would probably respond with something along the lines of you being crazy. Let me start by sharing the reason why I’m here.
When I first arrived in Japan 6 months ago, I was just some tourist on vacation in a foreign country. I didn’t really know much about Japanese culture other than the knowledge obtained from being an occasional anime watcher. Unbeknownst to me, I was filled with bewilderment upon peering through the skytrain’s window after leaving the airport.
Japan felt like a completely unique, yet strangely familiar country.
I was born in Canada on the July of 1995 but I moved back to Singapore shortly after for a bit over 12 years of my life. What’s surprising is that even though I never really thought much of my life in Singapore after returning to Canada, Japan has, in many ways, sparked numerous thoughts about my roots in Asia.
As I peered through the window of the train, I saw an ultra-modern country along with its tightly packed neighbourhoods and high rise buildings. The abundance of overhead power lines, the bustling streets, and the impeccable transport system. These were the things that made everything feel so strangely familiar.
Despite never stepping foot in this country prior to my arrival, simple walks in the Japanese neighbourhood took me on a trip down memory lane. I remembered biking to and from my grandmother’s house as well as the countless days I spent in kindergarten and primary school - I was overwhelmed with nostalgia as I recalled the simple things that mattered to me.
Therefore, my time here in Japan is in fact largely due to a sense of childhood nostalgia. My decision to work here for a year has also been an act of trusting in the moment — I would never have thought of leaving home to live in a completely foreign environment. Everything I do on the daily basis is considerably different from what I have experienced before.
During the two weeks prior to coming to Japan, I was afraid. I was genuinely afraid of what to expect from work, the language, and for leaving home for such a long time.
While I can’t say that I am completely worry free as of now, I appreciate that everyday is a learning experience for me.
I’m happy that everything has turned out as it is and I can’t wait to truly explore what this place has to offer.