2 seasons ago at the end of February 2019, I moved back to Japan after living in Australia for 18 years.
Reflecting on it, I feel like I have settled into a routine of “living”.
Monday to Friday is work, gym before or after work💪 , washing in the morning on the days I don’t go to the gym, grocery shopping after work, Friday date night with my husband 🍽 and exploring Tokyo during the weekend.
Many things are still new but I don’t feel like buying every food and drinks because it’s at our supermarket that we will visit next week and the week after and the week after that. We have tried new things and some items are a staple now (like these gel drinks that are tasty and replenishes vitamins that we literally sweat it out).
Working here for nearly 3 months have definitely made me feel more like a local than a tourist. But do I feel like I’m home?
Somethings never change no matter where you live
We spent last Saturday night in a not-so-Japanese local way at a local watering hole.
With Rugby World Cup 🏉 starting in less than a month but more crucially being married to a New Zealander means rugby is an essential part of life.
Living in an expat community in Tokyo, we strolled over to a British pub, Hobgoblin to watch New Zealand vs Australia game played in Auckland, New Zealand.
New Zealand is generally unbeatable but as they lost the previous week to Australia, the pub was packed and the mood was tense.
From over 8,800km away in Tokyo, supporters of both teams cheered on their team playing in the cold and rainy Auckland.
A group of mates bought a round of beer 🍺 after another in front of me while some loud Aussie called out to the ref across the TV screen. Suddenly, I felt a pang of homesickness.
Watching an exciting game of rugby while cheering your team as loud of possible (especially when All Blacks scored try after try) and laughing at an outburst of comment from a crowd, it’s so carefree. You see people from different origin or background hanging out together that no one stands out. Although a British pub, it could have easily felt like a pub in Sydney and I felt like I belonged.
In Australia unlike living in Japan, no one questioned me why I am an Asian with a western surname. I didn’t have to double-check if I’m being too direct and strategise how I can soften the phrases at work in a roundabout way while hoping they still get what I’m saying. 7 months ago, I wouldn’t have quickly regretted waving at a colleague rushing across the street to catch up with me. In the last 6 months, I have been constantly wondering if my turn of phrase makes me blend in, if I’m not offending anyone and wondering what a part of the conversation means at work.
I haven’t changed (too much) no matter where I live
Alas, it has only been 6 months. 26 weeks (of that 5 weeks was spent overseas). 183 days.
I am comparing it with 939 weeks of my life in Australia. 6,573 days.
No wonder I feel more comfortable in an Australian way. No wonder I still have to check, wonder, guess and sometimes (or often) get things wrong. No wonder why Japan still doesn’t feel home to me.
Life is a game of rugby
I guess it’s like a game of rugby. Rules must be learned and understood to enjoy and appreciate the game. I’m still learning and understanding the rules of living in Japan.
All Blacks SMASHED Wallabies last Saturday and in a truly exciting game. Here’s the highlight video of Bledisloe Cup 2019: All Blacks vs Wallabies 🏆.
Side side note
After calculating how many weeks and days I have been living back in Japan so far and calculating how many weeks, days (then dividing the weeks by 52 weeks), I realised that I have lived in Australia for 18 years, not 19 years as I have been mentioning. From now on, I’ll be correctly saying that I have lived in Japan until I turned 12 years old, then lived in Australia for 18 years (in 2019, I am 30. Mathed.)