Today marks the fifth anniversary of my arrival in Japan, as well as Yuriko and my second wedding anniversary.
When I arrived here, I thought that I would be studying for a year and then returning to the UK. I certainly didn’t imagine that five years later I’d own a flat in the Tokyo area, be married to a Japanese woman, and have a half-Japanese daughter. But life often turns out in ways you weren’t expecting, and I’m certainly not complaining about these developments.
It is probably obvious that I like living in Japan. It’s possible that I’ll never go back to the UK, but since Yuriko and I both like the UK as well, it’s also entirely possible that we will. I just don’t have any plans to do so at the moment.
If I did go back to the UK, there are a number of things I would miss. Sushi, tonkatsu, even ramen occasionally; I do like Japanese food. Buses and trains that are clean and run on time. To the point that when they’re three minutes late the staff never stop apologising. Convenience stores open 24 hours (especially when there’s one next to the flat; that’s maybe a little too convenient). Shinto shrines. Teaching English.
Until a couple of weeks ago, I would have said that the economy was in better shape in the UK, but I’m not so sure about that any more. Still, lamb, decent cheese, and chocolate bars (like Mars bars) are the foods I miss from the UK. And with thirty years of experience, British history and culture still have a very strong resonance for me. While I like Japanese culture, it’s a different experience.
But I like it here, and I’m looking forward to the next however long it is I spend here, with my family.