“Moving to Canada from Taiwan to live with my aunt’s family and attend high school and university was a big moment in my life. And now I find myself at a crossroads once again. After going back to Taiwan and having worked there for two and a half years, I relocated to Japan through an internal transfer at my company because I felt like I wasn’t comfortable in my home country anymore. Call it reverse culture shock. And Japan’s a good fit since it’s close geographically and we have a lot of cultural influences from them. Not to mention it was my dream to live in Japan when I was younger, thanks to Japanese TV dramas and pop culture.
“But after almost five years, I still struggle to call Japan home even though I’m comfortable living here. What makes a place home is having a deep connection with the people, which I don’t have. Japanese people are nice, and I wouldn’t say they’re not as open (although maybe true to a certain extent), but it’s just different. I had this close friend who once apologized to me for sharing something personal with me. She was sorry for opening up to me and making me worry about her, which surprised me. Isn’t that what friends are for—to share some of the burden? In Taiwan, we share our problems and help each other find a solution. But here in Japan, they tend to talk mostly about superficial things. I had this colleague I was having lunch with for two years, and I never got to know if he was married, had kids, or anything personal like that. It seems like you’re only allowed to talk about work, your travels, or the news. Anything but personal stuff.
“So now I’m thinking of my next step while doing an MBA in Tokyo. Recently, every time I go on a trip abroad and come back to Japan, I get more and more homesick. I guess the older you get, the more you value the bond and connection you have with your family and close friends, those who have the same wavelength as you. It got me thinking where home really is. Taiwan, Canada, Japan?”