Saturday, December 15, 2007

My First Entry

Well...this is my first entry in my blog-I know it doesn't lool like the first but I have taken over this blog from my fiance was basically just cutting and pasting information about products I have for sale on my etsy site.

I decided to blog because I do get many comments and questions about my life in Japan. People have really interesting ideas about what it must be like living here and after more than 9 years of living here I have to say it is "futsu" or "normal" for me now. Not that I'm still not surprised by things or that I understand the culture (don't think that will ever happen) but it is my life.

First I don't live in or near Tokyo so my experience will be very different from those who do. I live in Fukuoka-ken (state) which is on the island of Kyushu which is the most southern of the 4 main islands that make up most of Japan. I live in a small city about 40 minutes from Fukuoka city which is the "big" city (actually I believe it is Japan's 8th biggest city). I live in the "inaka" which means "countryside" though in Canada's "countryside" there aren't 4 different convenience stores on a 5 minute stretch of road....but here, this city is considered "countryside".

Yes, I'm from Canada. I grew up in Cambridge, Ontario. I went to the University of Guelph and lived in Vancouver before moving to Japan.

I get the "Why did you come to Japan?" question a lot and most of the time I mumble something that makes sense but the truth is that the plan was to stay for 1 year, make some money, find myself and then go to the British Virgin Islands with my then boyfriend to sail for 5 years but after 6 weeks of being here....we broke up and everything changed.

After 4 years of being here I realized that I wasn't leaving any time soon and moved from my 1 room apartment in the city to my much bigger apartment in the countryside. If I had lived here in the "countryside" when I first came here I probably would have moved back to Vancouver cause not much happens here and there are few foreigners and 9 years ago there were almost no places to shop or eat out etc....I was surrounded by rice fields and nature. I'm very happy I lived where I did for 4.5 years because I made lots of great friends and had an amazing life working at a foreign bar (tons of stories there but I will save them for another time) but I needed more space and so I moved.

People ask me "what is it like to live in Japan?" Well.....it is like being a fish in a fish bowl.....I am watched everywhere I go...everything I do is interesting. The only time I am not watched is at home (and in Tokyo....when I went there I felt invisible for the 1st time in Japan...it was a bit weird). Children run away from me. Old ladies like to touch my hair and skin. Men have approached me for....umm....well...you know what I mean. I have, at times, pretended not to speak English (which then they assume I'm Russian though I'm not sure why) to avoid the crazy people who want to practice their English on the dance floor at 3 am and the drunk businessmen on the last train home.

I have to say that I can't imagine being anywhere else at this point. I have a fabulous life. I have a fabulous fiance (more about him later), a great job, a great business, great friends etc. So for me, for now, Japan is my home.

3 comments:

Chelsea said...

hey sofia! i just found your shop on etsy today...i think it's wonderful you've started a blog. i just started college and i really want to visit/move to japan. when you first went, did you have a job lined up...could you speak japanese?? anyways, sorry i don't want to bombard you with questions...keep up the blog :)- chelsea

sofia said...

Hi,

Chelsea!! I'm so glad you posted!! I did have a job lined up actually and I can recommend them to you when you decide to come over but you have to have a degree first. I didn't speak any Japanese and to be really honest....I'm still not fluent. I blame it on being lazy and my fiance who speaks English. And actually I never planned on staying so I just kept putting it off. I think what they teach you at a school in the States is "perfect" Japanese and of course that is not what is spoken on the streets...still, if you want to start...why not?! It might come in handy. If you move to Tokyo you don't even really need it...my sister lived there for 3 years and spoke almost nothing and she did fine (it all depends on what you want to do and the experience you want to have). When I went to visit her and I spoke Japanese a lot of the time people spoke back to me in English! BTW...ask any question you want!

Blooming said...

Hi Sofia

I found you on Etsy today - with the new shop local search button. I have just started a shop myself there - meeabee is my shop name. and I have a blog too bloomingnihon.

I've lived in Japan (Osaka area) for about 12 years. I have two kids.

Just wanted to say hi!

Jacqui

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