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Monday, January 23, 2006

How can I get over missing about Japan? 

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"Dear Ai,
I was driving home from work today and listened to your interview on the CBC Radio. You are doing a great service to ESL and others through your web blog. Great work!

My question is this: I lived in Japan (Osaka and Tokyo) for 12 years and returned to live in Victoria two years ago, however I am still missing Japan and Japanese life very much. I used to take taiko lessons, eat Japanese food everyday and enjoyed the onsens among other cultural aspects. I often find myself thinking that I'd like to return and live in Japan again.

You mentioned in your interview that some Asian ESL students have reverse culture shock when they return to their homeland and I found I really experienced the same thing when I returned to Canada.. and to some extent haven't gotten over it yet.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated and many thanks for your time.
Peter - Victoria"


"Hi Peter,
Thank you very much for sending me an e-mail. I understand your “lost” feelings. Many of my students who went back to their countries have sent me similar comments. It seems like you have been trying to keep your tie to Japan (i.e. take taiko lessons and eat Japanese food everyday...) and it is good for you to keep reminding yourself what you want to do in your future (ex. returning to Japan).

In your e-mail, you said “some extent (I) haven’t GOTTEN OVER (missing about Japan) yet”. It is interesting to be said. I believe this feeling (missing things about Japan) will not go away because now it is part of you. Your experience is like an album and each event you experienced there becomes like a snap shot (both good or bad). You can always come back to this album whenever you like. It will give you great energy and inspiration to work or live in Canada. So it is nothing you need to overcome.

What I can advise you is to live fully while you are in Canada. Looking back on your life in Japan is not forward thinking. Japan doesn’t run away from you. When the right time comes, you can go back there again. Until then, you can discover more about yourself. Start doing new things you have never done! What regrets did you have when you were in Japan? You can learn another language and meet new people! You might explore another part of the world. “Everywhere we go becomes a part of us, and the beauty, culture and excitement of being there will always call us to come back. If you were to go to Ireland, or Greece, you may find yourself also feeling homesick for all of those places in some way. They will all become a part of you.”

When you go back to Japan next time, your friends will be surprised to meet the new side of you. "

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