One of the biggest realizations for me though was that the majority of my conversations with people new and old revolve around the status of me and/or the person I am talking to being a foreigner in Japan. I am now defined as a foreigner who lives here. No matter what the topic is, it always turns back into (blank) aspect of life here. What do you do? How long? I like this. I hate this. It's so strange that Japanese people do this. Insert snarky comment here. If I go out with a group of other English teachers, you can bet that it will turn into a session about all the horrible aspects of the Japanese English Educational systems.
I miss meeting new people based more on mutual interests and quirks and less about my geographical location. I miss conversations about books, movies, global events, politics, and exchanging ideas. One of the guys asked me at the party what my "dream" was and while I initially found this awkward, but honestly I'd like this kind of discourse more often. Particularly when trying to meet Japanese people, I only get the standard introduction to a person before they lose interest and move on. I'm more than Judith the American in Osaka.
I understand that when you choose to live abroad, this is a huge change in your life. It's a similarity I share with every expat that lives here and a common thread that binds us together and an easy introduction. Japanese culture is fascinating and I wouldn't live here if I didn't enjoy analyzing it, especially with other people. There are always those who have ideas about this place that surprise me and cause me to rethink conceptions I had about Japan. I have met people here who probably wouldn't have initially given me any notice had we not had this mutual foreignness. There are also people I talk to because of proximity alone. I could write an entire post about friendship dynamics created here, but I'll save that for maybe another time. The main point is I've let myself go. I've let my interests and my desire to find out more about others become more about what country they're from and what they think of crazy Japan. After a year and half of living here, and 5 days of week of broken Japanese/English conversations, I need some stimulation.
|I'm posting a selfie because I like it and I need a reminder it was warm once upon a time.|
|I promise my next post will be about beautiful snow.|