Two decades of Japan

At the turn of the millennium, I left behind family and friends for the first time in my life and headed East to Japan.  To say that it was a big decision is a monumental understatement:  it was wholly transformative.  The other day it hit me that this year is the 20th “anniversary” of the trip that reshaped who I am and altered my entire world view.

It wasn’t easy by any stretch.  I had amazing experiences discovering another culture that I was familiar with, but not to a deep degree.  I met a wonderful woman but subsequently lost out in that relationship when I was unable to stay in the country.  Work was both rewarding and soul-sucking in equal degrees, but I suppose that can be true of any situation.  I’ve spent far longer in Hong Kong but while it too has provided me with opportunities and good friends, the place hasn’t crept into my being like Japan did.  As others I’ve known who have lived in a place other than where they were born and then found that they were living in the wrong place, much of Japan felt “right” in a way that Hong Kong hasn’t.  Sadly, despite Japan’s very real need for increased immigration to counter their growing “silver tsunami”,  Hong Kong remains considerably more open to possibilities for non-Hong Kongers than Japan does for non-Japanese.

However, this post is not meant to be a platform to bemoan my lot in life.  I still ensure that I go back and visit a couple of times a year and spend time with friends that I’ve had for 20 years and get a cultural reset while I’m there.  The images included are a mere drop in the bucket of the thousands of shots I’ve taken in two decades.

2 thoughts on “Two decades of Japan

  1. Haven’t been to Japan (yet!) but your cool pics give me some insight into its unique culture. I especially love how you capture people 🙂
    What about going there to teach English? I thought native English teachers were always in demand?


  2. Thanks for the comment, Katia.
    Yes, English teachers are in demand but mostly in the conversation schools. I’ve done it and honestly, it’s a young person’s game. Most of what keeps me away is the less than glorious outlook for Japan in terms of their economy and still unsettling xenophobia that really limits non-Japanese.

    Liked by 1 person

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