While I have tried my best to keep this blog alive with sporadic posts about anime, music, and other random crap, I have not made as many LiveJournal-style posts about my Life in Japan on this blog as I used to. The truth is, after you’ve lived in some place for 10 years, there’s less to talk about–even if that place is the magical land of otaku fun that is Japan.
But a decade is a long time, and since I’ve made it this far, I figure I should commemorate the occasion with a little blog post–as self-indulgent as that may be.
To be honest, I never thought I’d be here for this long. If you asked the young and foolish 23-year-old wah at Narita airport where he would be in 10 years, the answer would likely be “back in my parents’ basement,” or a similar smart-assed comment to suggest an eventual return to the United States.
But that never happened. And as far as old and foolish 33-year-old wah is concerned, I intend to be here until The End.
Obviously a number of things have changed over the years that ultimately conspired to keep me here. In a further act of self-congratulatory masturbation, what follows is a list of key developments which have facilitated a comfortable life for me in Japan.
- I Got Good at Japanese: In the earliest scribblings on this blog about my move to this country, I often complained about my lack of linguistic ability. Well, thankfully that isn’t an issue anymore. Years of drinking in loud izakaya with boisterous old men and enduring the trenches of corporate Japan have forged me into a steel Japanese-reading-writing-and-speaking machine. Do I have room to improve? Of course! We all do–but I no longer struggle, and can carry on complex conversations, as well as navigate myself professionally.
- I Moved to Tokyo… and Am Still Here: Years back as a naïve young lad, I documented my move to Tokyo–and all the trials and tribulations that came with it. In the years since, I have managed to stay in the Big City, without being sucked back into the suburbs. Even under pandemic restrictions, I still manage to amuse myself in Tokyo; at times just taking long walks through the many wards of the metropolis, taking in the ever-changing scenery. In non-pandemic times, I amused myself with all manner of vice, such as izakaya, bars, live houses, saunas, and more. I am not exaggerating when I say that Tokyo is the best city in the world, and there is no way that I’m leaving. I’ve been here since 2013, and I have yet to be bored.
- I Managed to Escape English Teaching: As documented in the (to be be completed, at some point) Confessions of a Junior High School English Teacher series, I started my life here as an assistant language teacher. While some find themselves stuck in this position for years (or eventually just return home) I thankfully managed to escape this fate… and am now just a haggard salaryman. At least I’m earning more…!
- I Met a Bunch of Great People: If it weren’t for the people I’ve met here, I wouldn’t still be here. Again, as documented in prehistoric etchings on this blog, I did grapple with developing a social life when I first arrived, but things started to come together nicely after a year on the ground. Since then I have made even more friends, and developed deeper connections with the ones I met early on during my time here. Obviously the pandemic threw a wrench into my social life over the past year and a half, but with two doses of Pfizer in me and my other friends gradually getting their shots, I look forward to enjoying more social gatherings in the future.
In short, Japan is great, and I don’t regret my decision to live here one bit. If you are a young and foolish 23-year-old like I was, and you have a desire to learn a new language and take in a new culture, I highly recommend coming here as well.
I’ve had a great decade, and given that I’ve spent nearly all of my adult life in Japan, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.