Life Scene: First Visit to Japan

I have been in love with Japan for a very long time now, I think it started when I was 12 and I saw the miniseries Shogun on television. I was fascinated with the setting and the characters. I may be mistaken, but the character  thought that … was super cool, and I believe the character Lady Mariko was my first crush. Ever since then, I have been a Japanophile.

From that time until my mid-twenties, I spent a lot of time watching Japanese dramas, listening to Japanese bands, and visiting Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. But it wasn’t until I visited Japan that it really changed my life.

In 1995 I went on vacation with my parents to Tokyo. It was about a 5-day trip, and my parents acted as tour guides for me since they had visited Japan a few times before. We saw so many cool sights including Shinjuku, Tsukiji, Asakusa, Nikko, and Kamakura. It was such an amazing trip! Tokyo was everything I thought it would be: fast-paced, crowded, clean, and modern. It’s funny to think about it, but I remember feeling like that should be my home.

Tsukiji Breakfast
Tsukiji Breakfast. That’s me at 27 years old! My dad is the guy wearing sunglasses.

And when we returned back to the States, I felt what I think is homesickness. Isn’t that weird? But even though I was only in Japan for 5 days, I missed it so much and I was in a blue mood for a couple weeks.

At that time I was working at UCLA and was enjoying my life but after my trip I knew I had to move to Japan. It was a certainty. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I decided to give myself half a year to move there, and after I made the decision, my blue mood was instantly replaced with excitement.

More on this story to come…


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