Today marks exactly 1 month and 2 days since I landed in Japan. I was going to write a post about the public transport and how it reminds me of home (lol) but after a week of being holed up in my house due to rain; I find myself reflecting on much deeper topics.
When I first started this blog, I wrote a piece about the 5 expectations that I had coming into Japan. Now that I am here, I am finding that it isn’t the tangible and physical things that I am surprised by, but rather these more intangible things:
I’ve been sharing my feelings
Those who have known me for a long time will know I don’t usually talk much about myself, often opting to listen and go with the flow of whatever the other person wants to talk about. Since being here, I am annoyingly finding myself to be the exact opposite. Maybe it’s hours spent not being able to express myself in Japanese, or the random interactions I have on the streets with strangers that keep prodding me to engage in more and more conversations about myself, or maybe it’s this blog where I spend a few hours every week contemplating life and all its intricacies before penning something down. Whatever it is, I’ve seen a change in myself that’s giving me the hibidy-jibidies.
I love feelings. Feelings are great. I have feelings all the time, as I was sadly reminded the other day when I saw a Boston Terrier that looked like Norain on the way to 7/11.
The difference lately is that when I call home, I’m a faucet of feelings and I just can’t stop myself. It would make sense if it was just feelings about moving to a new place and settling in, but the other day I found myself divulging the hurt I felt because of two specific people that didn’t wish me well or say farewell before I left South Africa. Trust, there’s a very long list of other feelings. If I don’t get to speak a sentence with the words “that made feel…”, my brain goes into panic and cut’s whoever I’m talking to off so I can emphasise the fact that I AM FEELINGS!
Eve’s dropping is my life now
I don’t know much Japanese and a big part of me was scared that my brain would go into shutdown mode when it became confronted by the amount of Japanese flying over my head. The reality is that I’ve now become a nosey nancy. In my workplace, there is always some chit chat and skinnering going on around me and I have found that despite the language barrier, my ears perk up and my brain puts in overtime to try and translate everything that I am hearing. The result: Mandatory naps when I get home from work to reset my brain.
Had the people around me been speaking a language I understand, I might feel bad for shamelessly listening in to their private conversations like this, but now, it seems almost impolite to not listen in. I think my brain is broken yal.
Seeing people from home excites me
In Omura, we have a surprisingly large community of English speakers (by a scale of I-thought-there-would-be-2-foreigners-in-this-unknown-part-of-japan-i-mean-hello). Yes, there’s only about 20 of us in a town of 90 thousand, but what kind of psycho interacts with more than 5 people regularly, anyway.
Anyway, in this group, there are currently only 2 South Africans but the level of joy and peace that comes to my heart when I see the other guy is hard to ignore. I am finding that one often still feels foreign within the foreign community when you are not from the same place. I hadn’t realised this until seeing the other Nagasaki Prefecture South Africans at our orientation day in Nagasaki City. I thought I just enjoyed the Omura guy’s presence because he’s a nice dude, guess not.
After signing up at the orientation and receiving the name list, I was met by a pleasant surprise. On the list, written in plain typed lettering, listed among foreign names that are impossible to tell their origin, was a name I didn’t recognise, but that could only be from home. The name and surname, both instantly recognisable as Tswana names, sent me straight into detective mode. Needless to say, I casually stalked homegirl for the rest of the day and made contact at lunch. She was also really keen to connect as she’s an alternate JET that literally arrived last week, meaning she’s missed out on meeting all the homies from back home and making all those connections. I guess home really isn’t a place.
Anyway, that’s just some of the unexpected things I’ve been feeling, experiencing and living in the past few weeks. I’m sure as time goes on there will be more, here is to hoping none of them are as emotional.