as I’m pretty sure I will be busy during the Christmas and New Year season, I would like to take a moment to meditate on my actions this year. I have often heard people say, regrets are a bad thing to keep or think about, but then I think to myself “Then why do I have so many?” I feel it is a self-explanatory fact that – the longer we live the more regrets we will have. I try to use my regrets as something to fuel my passions and decisions moving forward; but, also to learn from past mistakes. However, coming to Japan has made me really contemplate my decisions and tried to make me have a spearhead mark on my goal at the end of this program.
The main point of today’s blog is to speak about becoming Lost in Japan. Now I’m not talking about losing one’s way, nope I have language I can use in Japan if I can’t find the nearby Izakaya. I wanted to discuss my journey of becoming lost in the sense of my personality and perspective on life.
It’s an incredibly amazing experience coming to Japan, in fact it was my dream up until the point where I got my acceptance to the JET Programme, then hopped on a plane to Haneda Airport. I have yet to solidly feel that I’ve integrated myself properly into the Japanese community, but that will take time as I learn the language more and more. Somewhere in my travels, I have become lost to my prospects of the future – or maybe, I just didn’t have it planned out before coming here. Now, that I really look at my long-term goals for the future I begin to ponder on these regrets and decisions. I wonder where they will take me. Sure, I can simply go day by day in my job and end up working as a salaryman, in a bank or in a research lab. Though, why does it currently feel like that’s not enough for me.. I enjoy being an ALT, it really is a great job. I get to teach kids, learn Japanese, interact with my fellow teachers and travel Japan – what’s not to love? It’s my next steps that are really the important ones, and yet the only thing that feels like a proper next step for me is to think.
Think about love, hope, dreams, friends, family, regrets, doubts, values and the reason I came to Japan in the first place.
In all of these aspirations, I also think about myself. My own image which I portray to the world, and my inner self who always thinks about everything a bit too much. After coming to Japan, I definitely was taken aback a bit by the hit to my self-confidence. Not being able to tell what was wrong versus what was right (culturally), provided a large hit to my persona. In this country, I have become more reserved and I don’t tend to express myself nearly as much as I would in Canada. In Canada I am a man who wears his emotions on his shoulders, but in Japan I try to conceal my emotions, to camouflage them in accordance with the atmosphere of the conversation. Perhaps, this is my emotional acclimatization to Japan’s society with all of these personal struggles being a combination of me growing up (finally) and working in Japan.
As it is a New Year, I’ve learned that New Year’s Resolutions are generally short lived. So, this year for my own sake I’m going to try something different. An exercise that I am going to try is writing my obituary. No one likes imagining they will have an end, in fact it may be a bit depressing. However, I recently read an article by Hiroshi Mikitani, which spoke about planning your life backwards in order to achieve your goals. By doing this I am going to write out what I currently want in my life and how I will achieve it. With these goals in mind, I should be able to find that spearheaded ping on the map of my subconscious to put my efforts forward. Perhaps, this idea may be just a dud; however, I think it is worth a shot.
P.S Shawn Mendes’ new song – Lost in Japan is a fantastic track! You should check it out if you have time.