Living in Japan for almost 6 years

I find it hard to believe that I’ve been in Japan for this long. It’s also hard to say exactly how I feel. If I asked myself I were happy, I would probably say yes. There are so many things I feel I’ve yet to do or accomplish, though.

もうすぐ6年に日本に住んでるなんて信じられない。今の気持ちははっきり言えないけど...「嬉しいですか」聞かれたら「はい、嬉しいよ。」で答えると思う。でも日本でいろいろなことはまだやらなければならない。

When I arrived in Japan in 2010, I had almost no knowledge of the Japanese language. But to be honest I had initially thought that I had enough to get by…I was wrong. I knew this when I took a placement exam for Japanese classes, that I couldn’t communicate what I wanted to say at all. Daily tasks were a challenge too, finding things at the supermarket, going to the bank, sending mail, getting a phone, and making Japanese friends. Even now, there are still things I have difficulty in, like making a phone call in Japanese, finding the right words to explain something, reading kanji (writing is even worse), and keigo (polite Japanese).

Other than language, hurdles I had to face were

  • renewing my visa, so that I could continue to stay in Japan. There were no major problems, just the time and effort it took to get all documents needed
  • countless rejections from girls and friends
  • missed job opportunities
  • finding an affordable apartment

On the bright side, I do know I’ve become a better person.

  • I have confidence in getting around in Japan, using the train, buses and biking.
  • I have more confidence in speaking Japanese
  • I can understand most Japanese TV programs
  • I have passed the N2 JLPT (before coming to Japan I had failed N4)
  • I am more decisive now
  • I can do many things independently, without help from others
  • Interestingly, my skill with computers has increased too. I have a way better PC now, too
  • I feel more comfortable with a Japanese (JIS) keyboard
  • I can navigate most Japanese websites
  • I am more organized now: my room, the money I spend and save, my work area, etc.
  • I am responsible in sorting and taking out trash, this was something I had always cared about though since arriving. So much better than other countries I’ve lived in.
  • I know most Japanese culture, rules and holidays
  • I am more up-to-date with news now
  • I have a lovely wife that gets my jokes most of the time or at least puts up with them. I also get along well with her family too

Things I hope to get done are:

  • Pass the N1 test this July
  • Find a stable job for 2017
  • Save more money
  • Improve my confidence in speaking Japanese even more
  • Learn and improve Japanese-English translation skill
  • Keep my wife happy
  • Get into practicing the guitar again
  • Finishing the video games in my queue
  • Getting better sleep and thus waking up earlier in the morning
  • Keeping fit
  • Get work done faster and more efficiently
  • Learn about teaching English grammar

OK this post is getting long. I’ll end it here for now.

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