In Naha, I rarely feel alone or lonely. I don't know why this is. I mean I guess part of it had to do with being in a relationship until recently, but I still feel surrounded by others and often in touch with more people than I was in Ishigaki. Maybe it's the rhythm of the city itself or the fact that I have one or two reliable friends who I can often count on to check in with me or me with them on a regular basis. Maybe it's because I am no longer suffering from extreme culture shock. Either way, I've learned how to be alone and how to be okay with it as well.
|Learn Ryukyu Buyo and you too can wear this costume!|
|Explore Okinawa's beaches|
|...and outer islands.|
|Expore the old, covered markets in Naha|
|Enjoy solitude during long walks on beautiful days|
I know this is going to sound really pep-talky, but if you're alone in Japan, you should try your hardest to experience the time for yourself. It took me a while to be able to do this. I felt extremely stressed out last year on that small island (constantly watched, judged, etc) in a way that I hadn't ever felt in most of my adult life. But some of my most memorable experiences were also on long walks or drives around the island, in moments of solitude that gave me a chance to unwind and feel a sense of freedom. I had to come to terms with not being in a city, which took me quite some time to do, but I ended up living through it and, while I would not have done a second year there, I am glad I had the chance to live there. I am also happy I am living in Okinawa, where there are more people and I feel like people aren't scrutinizing me as much (probably because there are 60,000 Americans on this island and we're less of a novelty than we are elsewhere in Japan).
But I think the most important thing is embracing solitude and learning how to be alone in Japan. It's not an easy feat, by any means. But once you find a way to do this, that's when you'll start loving your life and when you love your life, others end up attracted to that and you may find the friends you've been searching for.
|You're only in Japan for a short time...|
|Try to enjoy it!|