“I think my Japanese friends like hanging out with me because they feel free to be who they are when they’re around me. In a way, I know more about them than their friends do. I feel like people don’t normally open up or share their opinion or problems here. But for some reason, they feel comfortable with me. For example, a friend confided to me that her parents kept asking her when she’ll get married even though she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I like to be spontaneous myself. I like being free and I don’t like making plans far ahead. That’s why when my husband found an opportunity to work in Japan, we gladly took it. I’m originally from Italy but my husband’s Colombian. We met in Barcelona, Spain, where I was working. We both love new challenges, so even if I’ve never Googled Japan before, I said yes to moving here.
“And I love it because it’s safe. I can go anywhere with my backpack without any problems. In Italy or Spain, that would be unthinkable. I got robbed at a library in Barcelona once. Here, people follow rules. They also follow politicians and don’t question them or express their opinion. In Spain, Catalonia wants to gain independence from the rest of the country. Politics can be so polarized and people are divided back home. There’s so much opposition. But here, something like that will never happen. I’m not judging at all, it’s just really different. People here don’t seem to talk much about politics. So coming from a different reality, it’s kind of refreshing.”