Two years in Japan
2 years ago, day per day, I was just landing at Fukuoka's airport. Two
years... Time flies and I feel like it was yesterday. I can see myself
again, on September 19th in 2012, carrying my only suitcase in Fukuoka's
streets, looking at the beautiful sunset while being surprised not to
see so many people in the subway whereas it was peak-time. Lots of
things have happened, and I have changed a lot. Let's take a look back
Japan made me ... less shy !
Japan helped me getting to know myself.
When I was younger and I was asked what I liked, I usually replied 'Japan'. Other than that I didn't really know what I actually liked. I thought a lot about it, asking myself 'what do I really like' 'what are my hobbies' and it was difficult to give a proper answer.When I think about it, I liked Idols for about 10 years. From September 2012 to October 2013, I have been an active member of the Hello!Project group (Morning Musume, °C-ute... etc). I cannot even tell you how many thousands of yen I have spent on concerts, goods, CDs.. I had so much fun meeting the singers, taking pictures with them, everything that I couldn't do when I was in France basically.
A year ago, I even went all the way to Tokyo, for less than 24 hours just to be able to go to the concert of my favourite Morning Musume! However I didn't have much fun this time and on the way back to Fukuoka I realised that spending so much money on that was just a waste.
Since then, I have decided to spend less money on goodies and go only to the events happening in my prefecture. Little by little, I just lost my interest and I don't even go to concerts any longer. Though I still like Idols, it would be hard for me to the fangirl I used to be.
Now, I am more interested in the traditional tea ceremony, the local cuisine of Kyushu island, Alice in Wonderland, themed coffee shops and restaurants, Japanese fashion, kawaii items (I love brands such as Q-Pot or Swimmer). Even my style has changed (I will get back on that later!) as well as my tastes for interior design! What a change!
Japan gave me another outlook on friendship.
3 days after I arrived, I was part of a dance show (Odotte Mita) with some other members of the Hello!Project group and I got to know a lot of people. For the following year, I have been part of many other activities such as dance shows, karaoke nights, handshakes sessions, etc.
But as I previously mentioned, at this time, the interest I had for this world started to fade away. In the meanwhile, I was also very busy with the ASO48 and rehearsals were taking me all my free time, plus I just met my current boyfriend. Little by little I started to stop going to all meetings and events and the occasions to meet my Hello!Project friends became rare. Few of them were kind enough to come to the ASO48 concert, and after a last dance show in January, I have never seen any of them again.In Japan, people have a different and special view on friendship. There is a big difference between 'the Idols fans' friends and the 'real life' friends.
With the 'Idols fans' friends, we don't share our daily life as with the 'real life' friends, we don't talk about Idols. It's just the way it is, and since I'm not going to the 'Idols' meetings, the members of the group don't see me as a 'friend' anymore ...
Also, I am still in touch with few people from the language school I went (Aso College Group). Surprisingly, I am feeling closer to the people that weren't in my grade and that I didn't see that often, than the ones in my grade.I am now feeling like having French friends living in Fukuoka whereas when I arrived I was trying to avoid them.
Japan changed the way I see my professional life.
As you may know, I am graphic designer and I love my job. It's not even a job, it's a passion.
18 months have passed since my previous job and the new one I just started in April. During these 18 months, I took a break from graphic design to focus on learning the Japanese language. And thanks to the ASO College Group, I have discovered the tourism industry. Now that I have been working for more than 6 months in a graphic design company where I create banners, I can tell you that seating on a chair for 8 hours a day is not what I want to do anymore.
Now I am thinking of many things I want to do : promoting my prefecture, helping other French people to come and study in Fukuoka or Kyushu area, so they can explore and fall in love with the south of Japan like I did. Of course, I'd still do some graphic work as a freelance. For now, I am stuck because of my visa status, but someday, if I'd ever get married here, I'd definitely give it a try in this industry!
Japan made me loose weight !
Since I have started working, I'd like to allow some time to exercise again as I became addicted to it, I just don't know what kind of sport. Maybe some taiko, the Japanese drums!
Japan made me bilingual
Ok, this is not entirely true. But in 2 years, I have improved my language skills so much. I understand almost a 100% of what I hear in a daily conversation or on TV.
When I speak, I feel comfortable. Working in a Japanese company helps a lot and I don't make any mistake when I speak the formal language (keigo). My next goal is to be able to speak the Hakata-ben, the local dialect of Fukuoka; I do understand it but I am not so comfortable using it and also I want to reduce my French accent which is still too strong.
In terms of writing, my boyfriend keeps making fun of me by saying my kanjis look like children's ones, but I got better. As I now only use the PC or my iPhone to write, I probably have lost some of my skills, that's the reason why I bought children exercise textbooks so I can practise. As I have missed the N1 passing score by 15 points last year, my weakness being the reading part, I want to try it again next December of June.
Japan just made me happy !
This is what matters right? I have finally found a place where I feel good. A great boyfriend, wonderful friends, a nice home, a job - well with ups and downs - but still, a job. I couldn't dream of a better life.
These past 2 years have been intense and brought a lot of changes. Japan taught me a lot. I changed, I grew up but in the end I am still the same girl who loves looking at rocks and walk around in cemeteries. Let's now see what will happen next...