How it all began
I moved to Japan in March 2017, but the actual plan to come here started much much earlier…
…11 years earlier to be exact.
I first encountered Japan, like so many did, through Anime and Manga (Who did not watch Pokemon after school in the late 90’s and early 00’s?). Back in the day I was subscribed to a monthly magazine with new chapters of popular Manga but also articles about how life in Japan really was. Reading about places like Kyoto and events like Cherry Blossom Viewing, my hopelessly romantic 13 year old head started to form a dream:
One day I would go to Japan, I would visit Kyoto and I would see a sea of pink Cherry Blossoms!
That dream came true, one week after I landed in Narita Airport, in Tokyo. A few classmates from university and I packed our bags and went on a trip to discover Western Japan. It was on that trip, while visiting the beautiful Silver Pavilion, that I realized what had just happened. Here I was, standing in Kyoto, surrounded by Sakura petals. How did that happen?
I had tried coming to Japan a few times, as a tourist, but it always seemed like it was not destined to happen. Something else would always come in between, including a traffic accident that made me unable to walk without crutches for several months.
My actual chance came at the most unexpected moment, when suddenly my university told me that I could study in Tokyo at Keio University and even get a scholarship. I called my parents the same day, it was an interesting conversation. My parents knew that coming to Japan was my dream, I knew that without their support I would not be able to come. We talked around the topic for a long while, until my father broke the status quo:
If I had the choice – I would go to Tokyo, it sounds like an exciting place.
We never discussed about it anymore again and 4 months later I was on a plane headed for Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Before me 6 months of studying, adventures and exciting novelties. Within the first week of my exchange semester I knew, that just one semester would never be enough for Japan.
But luckily my chain of unexpected happy coincidences was far from over – I got into a language school and then into a job, and what was supposed to be 6 months, has now become 3 years and 6 months. But that is a story for another time.