It’s been a little over a year since I moved to Tokyo! I read the post I wrote from right before I came and it was fun looking back at everything that’s gone on since last September. Already the second year of university, who would’ve thought it’d come so fast?
So let’s see, things that have changed…
Some people call it adulting. I just think of it as staying alive. Last year I was so worried about being away from home but over time I’ve really come to like this strange new freedom I have as a university student in a foreign country. I make my own food (and make it cute) and organise my own room and go out to explore new places. Freedom! New experiences! I love it.
And those new experiences have really snowballed since I came here. Spontaneous trips across the region, nights at the ryokan, part time jobs and everything else in between.
It’s like holding Mt. Fuji in the palm of my hand. It’s not even just about travelling but living a different life from what I used to. Meeting people, for one—I’ve never met so many people from so many backgrounds in my lifeEveryone has all these stories to tell and it’s fascinating to see how someone was brought up in another culture. And then I feel proud that I have my own to share too (the Merlion is always a hit).
And of course Japan’s culture charms me as always. Maybe it’s because Singapore is practically a baby in this world, but I like Japanese traditions so much whether it’s wearing yukata in summer or eating kaiseki at the hot springsI think I’ve been to the ryokan three times this year already. The love is real.
So after one year, what do I think of this country that I’ve looked at from afar for so long and am finally in? Living in Japan is no paradise but I don’t love it any less than I did before. I love that I get to be a part of this place for four years. Not everything is enjoyable—it’s frustrating sometimes being an outsider and getting reminded that you’re different. In some ways I might’ve become a little more insecure of myself, but because of that also had to become a little braver.
I wouldn’t expect everything to go by like a dream. My reality still has its bad days, but also a lot of cheap sushi and hidden cafes and changing seasons. And friends to enjoy all that with! It’s not all about being bedazzled by everything here anymore, but just being companionable with Japan