An Expat Talks about Living in
Cherry Blossom Season in Tokyo, Japan
Japan changed my life. This experience happened in the mid 1980s and I changed how I think and feel about things even today.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I didn't have much time to dream. I was offered a job and given two weeks to get there! I didn't know very much about Japan before I left and didn't have time to research in the whirlwind that I found myself in once the job offer had been made and accepted. So, other than having a real job and getting paid (I was right out of university) I didn't have a lot of expectations or dreams before I left.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
I think that not having expectations meant that it was easier for me when I arrived in Japan. Everything was new and exciting for me and I was open to whatever lay before me. I wasn't disappointed by anything, like some of my expat colleagues, because I hadn't had any expectations. I think it made my experience richer because of it. Honestly, Japan changed my life. This experience happened in the mid 1980s and I changed how I think and feel about things even today. The direction my life has taken is in direct result of my experiences as an expat living in Japan. I will always be grateful for the experience and life lessons.
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How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
There were a few things that I really wasn't prepared for: crowded trains and the groping men on the trains, expectations at work to fit into the Japanese mold, homesickness and loneliness at times.
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