For those who has been staying in Japan for some time, inevitably one will face the moment, when a decision has to be made and it will affect the outcome of life in Japan greatly.
Staying in Japan may sounds glamorous for many, but for fellow expats staying here, we knew that the reality may not be as fancy as imagined by friends and families back home.
As for my own experience, the plan is to gain a few years of working experience here after graduating from a local Japanese university. This plan is similarly echoed by a number of fellow countrymen staying here as well.
After spending 5 years as a student in the education institutions, I thought it is essential for one to experience life as a shakaijin (社会人, worker).
As a student, we were protected like being wrapped inside a cocoon and can be forgiven for the mistakes that we’ve committed. But as a shakaijin, the harsh reality can be unforgiving and merciless for every mistakes we’ve made, no matter how minor it is. Even if it sounded harsh, I believe there’s something we can learn from this experience.
I did noticed that over the past few years, there’s definitely a change in mindset on how we think and react, as we’re trying to adapt and assimilate the general mannerism of the Japanese society in our daily life. Some examples like, saying “Gochiso-sama” after finishing a meal; being noticeably apologetic and constant “Sumimasen” exchanges after brushed off others slightly on the street.
For better for worse, and whether we like it or not, such changes come naturally and you may not noticed about it until you take a step backward and look at yourself objectively.
And that may lead some to an identity crisis.
After spending years here, at times we may think that our thoughts are closer to a Japanese than someone from our home country. Some embrace it openly and went as far as getting a Permanent Resident status or naturalized to become a Japanese passport holder.
Those who cannot cope with it however, loathed the idea, and eventually decided to go back.
Thus, it is important to remember what you loved about Japan at the first place in order to keep yourself in check.
Remember the first encounter where you’re inspired by something about Japan, something that left a lasting impression on you. It could be an anime that you’ve watched, a bowl of Ramen you have had, or just simply the natural beauties of the country.
Years ago we’ve made the decision of coming to Japan, and ultimately there will be a time when we have to consider, whether to keep on staying in Japan, or back to somewhere we belong.
Regardless of which decision you’ve taken, remember that you are responsible for it and do not regret over it. Each decision will eventually leads you to another different experience, so let’s just keep calm, have faith in yourself and go for it!