Japan. The country that I live in now, was not always my home. There were a lot of rough patches, and I had not expected to live here for over a year. However, after 1 year I decided it wasn’t enough, especially after all the effort I put into adjusting to life here and succeeding at my place of work. I had made a lot of friends in my first year! However, after my trip back to Canada my life was put through another challenge.
3/11/11. 11 months after arriving and 2 days after returning from Canada for my 2 week vacation a big 9.0 M Earthquake struck at 2:46 near the East coast of Miyagi, causing a triple disaster. The Earthquake and Tsunami devestated the North-East coast, but left the rest of Japan intact, but the 3rd disaster affected everyone and reminded Japan they were in this together. Views from abroad were not so tame. Everyone saw the end of Japan as a safe haven, and a lot of stress came upon the people of Japan and the foreigners living hear including myself. A lot of people ended up leaving, including some friends of mine. Some are living in Korea now in the face of challenges that rivaled ours. The life here could have come to an end, but the waiting game and further toning down of the disaster news helped keep me in Japan.
After a rather bad illness, due to all my stress from overworking (6 days a week), a bad diet (lunch boxes everyday) and the news, life go back on track, like it tends to. The next year passed relatively quick, life had gotten comfortable again, I managed to strengthen my bond with the friends I made, however it became difficult to make new friends because I never put the effort into studying Japanese. However, I realized that I hardly used a lot of Japanese outside of my daily life, and that a lot of language is preset at locations such as restaurants, stores and convenience stores. It became easier to live in Japan after I learned to listen for these phrases. For example, “Would you like a bag?” or “Do you want chopsticks or a fork” because easy to listen for, when initially I was in fear every time I went shopping. As my life began to stabilize, the economy in Japan however, wasn’t doing so well. The new government at the end of 2012 decided it was time to weaken the Yen. It isn’t so bad at the moment but people fear the Yen may collapse in the future.
At this moment I make 20% less (against the dollar) than I did less than a year ago because of the weak yen. However, this may be the reason I stay in Japan longer. My money isn’t actually weaker in Japan, just weaker against the dollar. Recently, work has been quiet as well so I haven’t been making as much either. Today, my ETC card arrived. Step 2 of getting a car in Japan is complete! (Step one was my driver’s license) With my new free time, maybe I’ll try to use my money more efficiently or get into some new business with exporting figurines. Who knows! It has only been 3 years after all.