Nine months I’ve been in Japan and only once have I been asked what I left behind. Plenty of the big questions have been asked:
What do you like about Japan?
Where are you from?
And less common – Why did you come to Japan?
The last one is a loaded question. I came here to be with my wife. I had no previous desire to find myself in the island country of Japan.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, or is it behind?
It began as an innocent conversation about who might be next. One said that they left behind a good job to be here and that his reason to come was his love of teaching. Others had various reasons but it came down to a love of teaching, but that they had been less successful with employment. And then came my turn to answer. I do not have the same job as the others yet I have managed to find employment that I enjoy. But what I left behind was an incredibly fulfilling life. There was no reason for me to leave the burgeoning success that my life was becoming. Maybe that’s a bit overstated, but I was content. I enjoyed my lifestyle and wanted for nothing, except my wife.
So why did I leave?
To be with my wife.
I’ve discovered that my skills translate well across the world. I can do what I do wherever I am and these things have become a huge part of my life. I’ve also discovered that wherever I am is the best place to be.
The focus usually goes to where you are going. Nobody wants to talk about what was left behind, too much pain is associated with that. Sometimes it is good pain, other times it is bad pain. I left behind an extraordinary community of people that I miss dearly. Those amazing people filled me with hope and laughter and challenged my being daily. The thought of them drives me each day because I know they want me to be happy and successful. If not for them, I wouldn’t be able to become.
And now, because of them and their unwavering love, I am able to live where I am and to call it a home. The people back home are amazing and I love them, but I’ve also found that there are amazing people everywhere. New people can never replace the old ones, they can only become new old ones.