Living In Japan: “When Are You Coming Home, Donald?”

My Siblings and I

It’s been two years, ten months, and thirty days in Japan, and I just can’t believe that another year is almost over. I won’t be going home for Christmas because it’s simply too much money for me to dish out right now. More than likely, I’ll be spending a quiet, relaxing, winter vacation right here in Tsukuba. Whenever December comes around, I do get a bit homesick (but every year the homesickness fades a bit), but I am also reminded of my last December in Georgia: there was that rush to get my money together, that excitement of moving to a new country, starting a new life, telling my family that I’d be staying for a year (…that was almost three years ago), and hugging/kissing my eldest sister, Nicky, goodbye. I truly can’t believe how quickly this time has passed.

When I would speak to other foreigners, I would marvel at how people have been in Japan for five years, eight years, ten years, and even longer. But the longer I stay, the more addictive this place becomes. What makes people stay for so long? Simply put, I think people get comfortable in Japan. It’s such a simple thing to do for a number of reasons: there are so many beautiful cultural events to see, it’s such a safe place to live in, in general people are quite friendly, there are jobs here if you have command of the English language, you can lose weight here, there are beautiful women here, it’s one of the most high-tech countries in the world, among other things. Many of the foreigners I’ve met have been working in Japan for a while, when the wedding bee stings them. After getting married here, it’s quite common for foreigners to learn more of the language and decide to live out the rest of their days in this Asian Shangri La.

I’m currently single, but as I have gotten a bit more comfortable with the language I’ve done a bit more dating. I don’t know if I’ll get married here in Japan, but it’s definitely something to consider. When I call home, my mother usually asks me about “the wife and kids” a running joke between her and I that comes from me telling her that I’d find a tiny Japanese wife that will fit in the palm of my hand and give her some beautiful grandchildren that could fit on her fingertips. My father usually doesn’t ask me much about women, but I was surprised to hear him ask “How’s your love life?” I guess, now that I’m thirty the rules of the game change a bit, and the stakes are a little higher. Currently, my answer is the same: “I’ve done some dating, but I’m not married yet.”

The love-life questions are all in good fun, but the most common question I get from friends and family is “When are you coming back?” “Are you going to live there?” Questions of that nature. These are questions that I haven’t figured out the answer to just yet. Honestly, I am caught up in this place, fascinated by this place, entranced by this place. It may not be perfect, but then again no place is; I may get homesick from time to time, but I feel like I’m moving forward for the first time in a long time. I truly believe that I’m going to do something positively life-changing while I’m here. Whatever that “life-changing” thing is…it’s going to have a positive effect on everyone around me. I can’t explain it exactly…I can just feel it. So when I hear the question “When are you coming home, Donald?” Outwardly, I reply with an “I’m not sure.” or an “I wish I knew.” or an “I’ll be home to VISIT in…” but in my mind I think

“Once I’ve accomplished what I feel I need to, here in Japan…then and only then…will I consider moving back to the U.S.”

Donald Ash

The following two tabs change content below.
  • Ryan McGuinness

    I’m sure your love life will blossom when the time is right, until then I say enjoy all the benefits of being a single man! Haha.

    It may not mean anything but I’ll be sure to remember you on Christmas Day and New Years day, and wish you well for what will hopefully be another great year in Japan for you!

    • Donald Ash

      I hope so Ryan :)
      Of course it means something. I appreciate those Christmas and New Year’s wishes, who-ever and where-ever they come from. I’m looking forward to 2011, though, because I think it’s going to be great! By the way, I’ll be sending you an email about the interview today. Thanks for reading, Ryan.

  • daniel dizzy

    I totally understand you and feel same as you Donald ..

Read previous post:
Steaming Karate Students

I was teaching a private English lesson that started just before 6:00 pm on Monday night. My new student Suzue,...