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.
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.