Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Happy anniversary to my little blog, which I've now been writing for five years.

I started writing this blog back in Seoul, Korea, and somehow it followed me all the way to Japan, via a short hiatus in Montreal. This blog was always, and still is, a diary to me. Although I often write about cultural aspects of Japan, I am by no means an expert on Japanese culture, and I'm still learning so much every day. I mostly enjoy trying different things, then sharing about it. I have mostly positive feelings about Japan and that's what I convey on my blog- not as an illusion to please readers, but because that's how I truly feel. I never wanted this blog to be a place to criticize Japan.

My experience in Japan has been extremely positive thus far, despite some difficult moments, but those are just part of the journey. When I started writing this blog five years ago, I had been completely unexposed to Korean (and Japanese) cultures, and I jumped into Korea unprepared and not knowing what I was getting into. It resulted in a strong culture shock and homesickness for the most part, but it shaped me as a person and left me craving for more.

Japan was a different story- I was prepared, and determined to do this on my own. Japan has been a lot easier than Korea for the cultural aspects, but the loneliness and isolation I've experienced at the beginning (and still sometimes) was one of the most challenging things I've ever had to deal with. My life is not perfect.

Japan has been all about growing as a person, as cliché as it sounds. I tried lots of different things, such as regions, living arrangements, and even lifestyles. My first year in Japan revolved around exploring the country, traveling every weekend and getting excited at daily things (OMG PANDA SHAPED BOTTLES and PANCAKE FLAVOURED DRINKS!!), and my first year in Tokyo was a complete blur of all-nighters, street drinks and very hazy memories.

I ditched the high heels, the red lipstick and the drunken walks home several months ago because I got so exhausted of that lifestyle, physically and mentally. I wanted to be healthy, balanced and rested, and be more productive and advance in my career- which has been paying off. I also came to Japan to learn about the culture and language, and dancing all night at Trump Room did not teach me much, despite how fun it was.

So here I am, five years later. I live and work in Tokyo, and well, I pay very high city taxes to live here. I find Tokyo to be very expensive and that's my main concern at this point. I love what I do for a living, and I equally love my (frugal) lifestyle now. I am endlessly exploring Tokyo and some other aspects of the culture, such as the language. I have a warm and cozy home, a few handfuls of close friends I adore, and the kindest, most supportive and funniest boyfriend a girl could wish for. This is real life.

Thanks for reading this blog and for all your kindness over the years.


Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary to you! I left Japan about a year ago and generally stopped reading "in Japan" blogs, but I still enjoy catching up with yours. I love how adventurous you are--I think it can be easy to fall into a rut after having lived in a new place for a few months, when all the novelty has worn off and it's beginning to feel like "home," but not necessarily as comfortable. I think it's important to really push oneself to make the most of the experience, and you always seem to be trying something new, from traveling to food to shopping. Plus, you write about your experiences in such a warm and engaging way, it really makes them come alive.

Reading your blog, the only thing I regret about my time in Japan was that I didn't spend more time in Tokyo (I was there only about 10 days in total) and that I didn't try pancake flavored drinks. That sounds awesome :)

David said...

I love reading your blog. I am a long-time Japan person, left last year to be with my partner in Brazil, came back to Tokyo again to wait for my permanent Brazilian visa to be processed, got the Brazilian visa and am now getting ready to leave Tokyo again in June (most likely for good). Your blog is really balanced and you always maintain your positivity without sugar-coating the bad here (and like everywhere, there is BAD in Japan). Although my future is definitely not here, I will continue to read your blog. Thank you!

Vivian said...

pigonthego: thank you so much!! i'm glad you can relate. i think i'm a fairly restless person, but being in Japan is good to soothe that. lately though, i've been moving around a bit too much, but it makes me appreciate staying still for the next little while. i hope life is good back home, thanks for reading xx

David: thank you so much!! I hope we meet before you go, and congrats on getting the visa and moving to Brazil, that's fantastic! Thanks always for your kindness.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

I've read your blog for a few years now and I've always enjoyed it. Your blog is one of the earliest Japan-related ones that I came across when I became interested in working there after graduation. Back then teaching in Japan was just a dream, but now it's going to be a reality as I'm moving to Nagoya in March. ^_^

Your blog has been insightful, fun to read, and your email responses were very helpful. Thank you for continuing to write it!

- Carmen.

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

Happy Anniversary! So glad blogging was able to connect us across continents, hopefully we can reconnect in Japan (or the US/Canada) again someday :)

Phi said...

I love this post! I'm so happy for you and how you've really settled into Japan. I loved our party days at Trump, but it's nice to settle too. I hope we do get to be a bit silly when I come to see you next month! Much love from Sydney! xx

Julian molgard said...

I discover this amazing blog like just a few hours ago, thanks for all the amount of helpful tips and fun facts about japan that I didn't know. I hopefully travel to Japan next year for a few weeks, hopefully your blog stay active all the way until that date and beyond haha. I imagine its must of been hard to just leave your home country and start from zero, I know that feeling and it's really something that I cant describe, but now with the internet is easy. thank for the fun Japanese culture facts and cool photos, Julian from USA.

Vivian said...

Carmen: I'm so happy this is happening!!! Please get in touch when you get here! Do you know your location? All the best! xx

Michelle: I feel so lucky we got to meet through our blogs, and in Japan!! I hope to see you again sometime, who knows in which city :)

Phi: Of course things will get silly ;)

Julian: Thank you Julian!! Yes indeed it's difficult to leave everything behind, but the rewards make up for it. Are you planning on going abroad?

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I'm so excited! Unfortunately, right now all I know about my location is that I'm in Nagoya-shi and I'll be teaching at high schools. I probably won't know specifics until after training. I will definitely get in touch though, especially if I can make it up to Tokyo at some point. :D

Hope you're having a great day!

- Carmen.