What are the things I struggle with as a foreigner in Japan? In this blog post, I want to take you on a candid exploration of my journey as a foreigner in Japan. This is a tale marked by cultural clashes and quiet victories, a firsthand account of the things I grapple with as I navigate life in a foreign land.
1. Loneliness and Homesickness
When I arrived in Japan, loneliness and homesickness were my constant companions. The feeling of being in a foreign land, far from everything familiar, was overwhelming. Despite the presence of my husband’s unwavering moral support during those years, I just couldn’t control the overwhelming emotions of loneliness. It felt as if I were trapped, and the freedom I longed for seemed just out of reach. It took me several years to finally find a sense of ease in my new environment.
I distinctly remember tearful nights, the reluctance to step outside, and a pervasive lack of motivation, even for simple household chores. There were moments when I felt submerged in sadness, yearning to return to my home country, questioning the decision to move here. Looking back, I take pride in overcoming that challenging phase—thankful that I did. Things are vastly different now, I’ve learned to adapt and discovered ways to navigate the occasional pangs of loneliness. Homesickness has transformed, it’s now a gentle yearning for family bonds and familiar flavors. What was once a deep longing to return home out of unhappiness has evolved into gratitude for the resilience that brought me through.
The path to overcoming it was far from simple, it required courage, wisdom, faith, and above all, a profound love for myself
2. Language Barrier
I made the conscious choice to venture here armed only with basic Japanese. Since this isn’t my native land, I recognize the importance of embracing the language without bemoaning the fact that crucial documents are in Japanese. It’s my responsibility to adapt, and I’m aware of my place in this journey. Nevertheless, this adaptation comes with its unique set of challenges. The language barrier poses a considerable hurdle, impeding my ability to articulate my thoughts when engaging with my in-laws. Beyond family interactions, it extends its reach into my professional life, hindering my performance and causing considerable frustration. Instead of boosting my confidence, it does just the opposite.
Naturally, I’ve put in the effort. I dedicated time to studying the language, though I must confess that there was a point where I hit a roadblock and, temporarily gave up. Currently, I’m back on track, but it doesn’t signify a seamless journey toward fluency. The struggle to speak the language proficiently remains a significant source of frustration for me as it serves as the foundation for various challenges.
3. Struggle with Japanese Cooking
In my previous complacency, I overlooked the potential beauty and depth inherent in learning Japanese cooking. There was a missed opportunity back in my home country where I was meant to pursue a culinary course in Japanese cooking. A decision I now regret.
Being married to a Japanese man, I find it natural to want to prepare meals that resonate with his childhood memories. While he’s never pressured me to tackle intricate recipes, it’s my own desire to create something special for him. Despite our time in Japan, I’ve stuck to simple dishes. Frustration creeps in as I reflect on my efforts. I’ve invested in a Japanese recipe book, watched countless videos, yet a lingering thought persists. What if I had pursued that culinary course I once let slip away?
As I reflect on my experiences, I find that many aspects boil down to the common thread of the language barrier. While I contemplate adding more insights in the future, let me, for now, conclude this post with three key reflections. Stay tuned for more insights in the future!