A Farewell to Life in Japan

Our time here in Japan has come to a close. Before I go I wanted to write a bit about my time here and reflect on the things I’ve learned about myself.

Yesterday I closed our house up and left the key with the realtor. It was a pretty surreal experience having lived there for over 2 years. It truly became home. Most places we’ve lived I’ve left and haven’t looked back. But this place was special and I believe, in some ways, it was meant for us. Atop our windy hill, sweeping views of the valley and nightly sunsets it was the perfect place to spend our time here. I still remember the first day we saw Fuji from our office window on a clear day, massive on the horizon.

Our cute little yellow house on top of the hill.

Our cute little yellow house on top of the hill.

Sunset from our office window (Fuji is hiding behind clouds).

Sunset from our office window (Fuji is hiding behind clouds).

Becoming an Artist

Most importantly it was a time in my life where I began painting and calling myself an artist. Perhaps it was the views and feeling like we were on top of the world. Or perhaps it was because I was in a new place and ideas flowed with every new experience.

Prior to moving to Japan I hadn’t taken seriously the idea that I could learn to paint and create something impactful. I played with acrylics during college and through high school manipulated images along with drawing in art class. I’ve always been creating but it was here, in Japan, that it all came together. The just in first fall of 2013 took my first online art course, bought my first Wacom Intuos tablet (an upgrade from my Bamboo), and I attended my first show as a vendor.

"The Highland Girl" one of my first paintings in 2013.

"The Highland Girl" one of my first paintings in 2013.

My table at my first craft fair, a fairly casual event. Displaying my photography and siamese cat illustrations.

My table at my first craft fair, a fairly casual event. Displaying my photography and siamese cat illustrations.

My booth from my most recent and largest show, Design Festa in Tokyo.

My booth from my most recent and largest show, Design Festa in Tokyo.

Living in Asia Again

As some may know I have a strong connection to this part of the world growing up in Indonesia. Ironically the Tokyo timezone is also what we use to set our clocks to in Papua, where I spent my middle and high school years. Japan shares many similarities with Indonesia, both being asian countries. The bustling streets, bright lights, some similar foods, even smells, and the general hubbub of an asian city all give me hints of home.

On a crosswalk overlooking one of the main roads in our city, Yokosuka.

On a crosswalk overlooking one of the main roads in our city, Yokosuka.

A New Culture

Japan allowed us to experience a new culture. While I compare it to other parts of Asia it still is a very unique country with it’s very own unique people, traditions, food and culture. Living here for so long, out in the community, really allowed me to integrate myself into it, to learn first hand what it was like rather than reading about it. Knowing little of the language and less of how to read it brought it’s own frustrations and challenges early on but we met them head on and are the better for having figured it out on our own.

A beautiful letter as a gust post from Anson as he leaves for deployment.

A beautiful letter as a gust post from Anson as he leaves for deployment.

Learning to live alone

Living here also meant that I had to learn to live alone. For the first time in our relationship I wasn’t with Anson, my husband. Having him gone for 6 months at a time was incredibly difficult so I learned to cope and be strong. I developed good habits to keep me busy and friends to keep me company.

 

International Travel

Living also allowed for more international travel. Because we are very close to so many places and right near a huge international airport we ended up traveling quite a lot. Some of the highlights were: Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Swimming at a waterfall near where I grew up in Indonesia. Anson is sharing the video he got of them jumping in.

Swimming at a waterfall near where I grew up in Indonesia. Anson is sharing the video he got of them jumping in.

I would like to end by saying that goodbyes get easier, but they don't. I’ve lived in 4 different countries and have moved to each multiple times and goodbyes are just as hard each time. People and places change and the sobering fact is that it will not be the same when you return. But don’t let that stop you from going! Living here has become apart of who I am and I would not trade those experiences for a less painful parting.


More Blog Posts about Japan