Jun 5

Some people have issues, and for me, I had Japan issues. When I came back from Japan, I went through a wicked case of reverse culture shock. I lost all sense of identity returning home. In my mind, I’d built myself up as the “international” guy in my circle of friends. So when I was back in Arkansas, despite having the best groups of friends and family one could ask for, I felt like I had nothing.

The truth was: I didn’t really want to leave Japan. I felt like I went as far as I could go in the JET Program, and it was time to move on to something “bigger and better”– even though I had no idea what that meant.

It wasn’t until 9 months after being back that I gained a notion of clarity and peace about my unrest. Here’s an excerpt about that:

“I’ve been whining about leaving Japan as if it’s the worst breakup I’ve ever had. [But] I’ve had this epiphany that, it’s not so much me leaving Japan that’s made me miserable, it’s really been me trying to be so cautious.

I wanted to be careful. I wanted to take the ‘safest risk’. I didn’t want to just jump into something. I’ve been taking so many little baby steps that I haven’t lived at all…

With the way I gush about Japan, people are always like, ‘What’s so great about Japan? Why do you like Japan so much?’. And I’ve never felt like I’ve been able to give an adequate answer for it. Me, myself, I never knew! I like lots of things about Japan. Is Japan special? Sure. For me, personally, I think Japan is always going to have a special place bias just because I had so much personal growth while I was out there.

But in this moment, it finally hit me: maybe Japan isn’t so special to me after all.

Japan will always have [uniqueness], but… I’ve never wanted to use these words… but basically my mindset was ‘I need Japan’. I don’t need Japan like I thought I did.”

You can hear the rest here: [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/153027463″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=false&show_playcount=true&show_comments=true” width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

one comment so far...

  • William Said on June 6th, 2014 at 10:36 am:

    Thanks for posting. I have had the same problem with wanting to take the safest risk and being overly cautious.

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