At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Beginnings

This post is my contribution to the J-Bloggers' Carnival "New Beginnings hosted at

Other contributors to this carnival are:

Zacky Chan of Gaijin Explorer (A blog about practicing Japanese archery, exploring Japanese wilderness, traveling around spots of interest, and other creative meanderings based in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu) with

John Asano Of Japan Australia joins us with Asano is a blogger, web developer and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he writes about the must see sights and attractions in Japan at Japan Travel Advice ( ), as well as about Japanese culture and events on his blog Japan Australia.

Ishikawa JET Blog, the official blog for the Ishikawa JET community (writing about living and working in Ishikawa and Japan in general) offer

Sophelia from Sophelia's Adventures in Japan contributes

April marks the start of the new fiscal year in Japan, as well as the new school year.  The  graduation ceremony in March and the Entrance ceremony ushers out your former students and brings in a new class and a new course load.  It's also a time for a number of goodbye and welcome parties. For me, the beginning of April has marked the countdown of the last 4 months I will spend on the JET Program working at my school.  I'm ready to move on to bigger and better things, yet I feel reluctant to leave my life here.  This year has been the best I've experienced in Japan.  I've been able to deepen my relationships with people here, and I've felt more focused than ever in terms of finding myself, my mission in life (sounds grandiose, but I believe I've been searching for this for quite some time), and my artistic voice.

Graduation ceremony:  out with the old

Not the best selfie
(on the way to my last JET welcome party) 

I spent the first year really struggling, not only because I was knee-deep in culture shock, but also because I barely understood the language and I had also lugged over a bunch of hangups from my life in NYC and Florida that I had not yet dealt with.  These things always take time to unpack and figure out, in order for one to make major positive changes in life.  While I still deal with some of these things to a lesser extent, I feel that I've overcome so many of the hurdles that I kept coming up against in my 20s and early 30s.  I've lost a few friends who had been very close to me in my teens and 20s, but I've also gained and deepened newer friendships as well.  Letting go though can be incredibly hard to do.

My current Japanese reading level
Because of this, I do feel that my time in Japan has been so precious in ways that cannot be measured.  The people here have taught me a kindness and gentleness that one rarely sees in this world.  While Japanese culture isn't without its problems, I deeply love the people I've met here so much and they've made my life here so memorable that I know leaving this country will be so difficult once the time comes for me to walk out my apartment door one last time before heading onto the next part of my life.

K-san's goodbye concert

TASK 沖縄 members

As I round out the end of my early 30s and head towards mid 30s, I am ready for a change though.  I'm ready to dive headfirst into a career and life that will match my passions and allow me to grow, to find a new home that I will feel comfortable in, in a city that will also match my needs.  I can't see myself returning to NYC, to be honest.  Though I love it, and will probably visit it again, I feel that I need to live somewhere that is a bit more relaxed with a better quality of life.  In the coming months, I guess I will figure out where this next part of my life will be.  Until then, I suppose the best way to move forward is to be as much as I can in the present, day by day...


  1. I know everyone has different plans and goals, but I really feel that people who only stay on JET for one year must miss out on so much. It took me until year 2 to feel like I was actually good at my job! Best wishes for your final year... I guess the big count down of lasts must have started (last entrance ceremony... last ensoku...) >.<

  2. Good luck on your new beginnings! Whatever they may be. I can't think of anything more exciting than researching new interesting places to live. After living in New York and Okinawa, it seems you've got quite the wide range of experiences. Good luck with it all, and hope you get to enjoy your last times in the country as best as possible.