Alone in Japan

When I spent 5 weeks in Thailand in 2009 for the CELTA course with a friend I barely knew then, I had people asking if I missed home. That question was like water splashed into my face and I realised that thought hadn’t cross my mind at all. I thought, “why would I miss home? I’ll only be here for 5 weeks.” Besides, I was really busy with the course assignments and lesson preparations. There wasn’t really much time for me to feel lonely. On the contrary, I felt a sense of relief and freedom. I enjoyed my time there and have since made a dear friend who opened my eyes to so many things. And if it was surprising for you that I could spend 5 weeks with someone I didn’t know that well, try imagining that friend was a she who barely knew me that well but nonetheless spent 5 weeks in the same room with me.

Since I came to Japan in April last year, whenever I met someone new, they’d ask if I lived alone and where my family is. And as if it were an early-90s role-playing game programmed to have only one single ending, their snap responses to my answer were almost always, “don’t you miss them?”

I’ve heard this question tons and tons of times, but each time I get surprised by that question because, I don’t. I don’t know why. Or maybe I do but I really enjoy living by myself.

I also get asked whether I have a girlfriend and each time I say no, they would always be really surprised and go “why?!” Well, I don’t know why. I guess I just didn’t get to meet the right person. Truth be told, I don’t go out on most of the weekends and sometimes I do wish there’s someone by my side. Someone I could share a couple of text messages with throughout the day. Someone I could talk to and lend a listening ear to. Someone who would share her happiness and worries with me. Someone special.

But while I’m alone in Japan, I’m really glad I made it here. It wasn’t easy but that made it all the more sweeter.


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