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I’ve now been in Japan for NINE months. Living the dream (?) and enjoying seeing friends and family, whilst also working my butt off to stay afloat. It took me several months to sort out living arrangements, have work trickling in ever so gradually and overall get into a happy place.

My poor neglected blog ‘Bring it on Nippon’ is the next project I am tackling, and am going to do a post weekly-ish to start off. ‘Nippon’ is an almost affectionate way to say ‘Japan’. It is also used when chanting for the Japanese team, in whatever game or arena. I chose the title, in true American trashy cheerleading movie style, to reflect how I felt about my Japan trip before leaving; that is, a challenge and a lot of hard work. Well, it certainly has been.

Nippon really did bring it on. I had naive, almost fantasy-like ideas before leaving Sydney that I would just walk into my dream job, find a house soon after and start living it up; going to Disneyland every month, climbing Mt Fuji, jumping on the Shinkansen (bullet train) over to Osaka and Kyoto on long weekends, flying over to Okinawa for much-needed respite… Ahh, dreams.

Turns out life here wasn’t going to be that peachy. There’s this thing.. damn, what’s it called? Oh yeah, reality.

In a nutshell:

  • Finding a place was exhausting, and although I am fluent in Japanese it was unfamiliar territory
  • No-one just walks into a job, and in Japan most companies don’t fork out your first pay for around SIX WEEKS so you are basically saving up to get a job, not getting the job to save up
  • Money is funny: it just disappears. No joke, those glorified paper sheets and little metallic polka dots have a mind of their own. It’s even harder when it’s been seven years since the last Japan visit and you’re super-popular, people wanting to catch up left, right and centre (that last part is only semi-true)

Despite all this, I’m in a good place now. Hard work, a bit of grit and a ton of support from brilliant friends and family got me through the last nine months and I feel empowered and energised, and am also proud of my achievements and happy looking back at how far I have come.

In other news, cherry blossom season is over in the Kanto region. Golden Week is mostly over too, apart from the lucky ones who took a few extra days off to get the longest holiday stretch possible. I saw Rudimental live last night: a spur of the moment decision that was the best I have made this week. Today I go out to my family’s place (read: ‘home stay’ family) to visit for a few days, but have a ton of work on so will be plugging away at that most of the time while I’m there.

Most blog entries won’t be this long, but if you have managed to read to this point, kudos to you! Some will be in Japanese too, and others in both. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting, and watch this space! Till next time, Mata-ne!

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