Hi. Hello. Hey.
So I thought it might help to give you a little bit of an intro to my expat story.
I moved to Japan in August of 2016 from my home in Australia at the age of 24. I grew up near the city of Brisbane and graduated university with the feeling that I wanted to experience more. Having majored in International Business and Japanese, I always figured I would eventually make the move overseas.
After graduating university, finding work in my chosen field was next to impossible, unless I wanted to PAY to do an internship (yeh, right). So, I found myself going full-time in the same job I worked at during my time at university. I worked in retail in a store that specialises in car parts and accessories. Having an interest in cars, I loved it, but after being in a male dominated field and fighting to get ahead within the company, I made the decision I had been contemplating for years prior. I moved to Japan.
So, I studied Japanese before moving to Japan. Great! Must have been easy then right? Nope. My level of Japanese is intermediate at best. University could in no way prepare me for slang, keigo (formal language), or Osaka-ben (Osaka local dialect).
Oh. But I moved here with my Japanese boyfriend! Problem solved! Right?
Nope. Although born in Japan, he was raised in Australia from the age of 3. His level of Japanese is about the same as mine. Between the two of us, we get by alright.
My boyfriend and I packed our bags and started our journey, each for our own reasons. We both moved with nothing but an airBnB booked for a month. No jobs. No interviews. No apartment. Just our suitcases, our savings, and our motivation.
We had both visited Japan previously on multiple occasions, so we had an idea of what to expect. If you want to move somewhere completely out of your comfort zone, with a culture very different from your own, I definitely recommend holidaying prior to get a feel of it all. Not always an option, but it can be helpful.
We checked into our airBnB and it was TINY! 2 people. 1 very small couch. 1 futon. 1 month. Trust me when I say, photos do not show the reality of how small this apartment is. Open 2 suitcases and boom! No floor. That couch? I don't recommend sleeping on it. That kitchen? Forget cooking.
We managed and surprisingly, we didn't kill each other.
Once we settled in, the job and apartment hunt was on. I'll delve into that more in another post.
It's been almost 10 months and it's been an experience. It's been exciting, hard, tiring, stressful, fun, educational, and it's been lonely (moving with another person doesn't always make it easier or less lonely). But, it's worth it. At this point, I don't have a plan to go home. I don't feel like I have gotten enough out of the experience yet. My Japanese has a long way to go, I have a lot to learn and experiences yet to be had. It's all a part of the fun.
Until next time,
Want to see more photos? Check out my Instagram, @rinnie_m.