RECAP: A Year in Japan

“Why live? Life was its own answer. Life was the propagation of more life and the living of as good a life as possible.”

-Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

This is a few weeks late from my actual first anniversary of living in Japan. I haven’t written much about anything here as I got preoccupied with everything new – the fascinating, the thrilling, the challenging, the confusing, and many others. However, there is still a lot to learn and a massive load of wonders to explore and understand.

How It Began

Twenty twenty-one (2021) opened a massive door of opportunity in my life. Way before that, I have been trying to find my space in this world by settling down in a teaching profession. Let me share a bit about this process.

I fell in love with teaching as a fresh graduate at 20 years old when I worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. I never really thought that I would find this job as I tried to distance myself from this path as my mother used to be a preschool teacher herself. But then, fate seems to have a different plan for me. So, even after finishing a Communication Arts course majoring in writing, I didn’t continue with my writing professionally.

Then, working in an academy didn’t seem to feel enough as I truly wanted to connect and help the younger ones back home. So, I finally got into a senior high school where I learned a lot, and set ablaze the fire in my heart about teaching. For four years, I stayed in senior high school (though in two different schools), until the global pandemic happened. Everything stood still but at the same time moved too quickly. I continued my fourth year teaching virtually. It made me sad as I was not able to meet my students in person. The connection was not fully established.

Nonetheless, the entire experience gave me the courage to finally take the chance to look into past dreams I decided to set aside. I grew older and more concerned about building a foundation in a place that I could truly call home that I left my dreams behind all of those. Then, I realized it’s my family that is my home, and that wherever I may be, I will have them. So, I took the first step in picking up on some of the dreams I postponed due to my worries and lack of trust in my God-given skills. This led me to apply to the JET Programme. But, it seems that everything had its purpose after all.

Understanding the Delay

The years of working and gaining experience helped me land a spot on the initial interview. Out of the thousands of applicants, I was already so blessed to have progressed to that step. Moreover, I am blessed to have gone through years of teaching and even being in another field (I worked as a web-content writer) as I was able to know myself better. This helped me present my ideas to the panel clearly. Then, with God’s blessing, I got the job.

There was some worry, of course, in my heart and at the back of my mind. However, even after a year, I didn’t experience extreme downtime. Despite not being able to speak Japanese, I was able to go on with my daily tasks with minimal to no extra assistance. I established a set of values and priorities that made it possible for me to settle in Japan way easier than others that I know. I simply faced each challenge head-on and trusted the process of each day. Honestly, I only had this guts because I knew that I have been in similar situations in the past and I survived. I am thankful that I have gone through all the “adulting” concerns back in the Philippines, and that when I came here, even with everything being in Japanese, I already knew the processes. What are those you might think? Well, about my apartment maintenance, bills, bank applications, internet applications, document preparations, taxes, insurance, and many others. Yup, the so-called worries of “adulting.”

How’s Everything Going Now?

A year passed quickly and everything felt like it went by too fast and too slowly at the same time just as I mentioned at the beginning of the pandemic. I couldn’t fully express the emotions or the thoughts that are running through my mind.

I have now experienced the four seasons, yet my life’s new season is just beginning. I am blessed to have a core circle of friends here. I am thankful to have the Japanese teachers in my school who are understanding and have been patient with me as I try my best to communicate with them despite having an extremely poor level of Japanese.

Yes, there have been struggles in getting settled in a new place, more so in a foreign land with great differences from that of my home country. But, here I am, willing to learn and willing to take on the challenge. I may trip multiple times, but I can stand up once more and do better.


There are still a lot of hopeful ideas that I would love to enjoy during my stay here. Even though it seems that I started living a good life way later than others, I am grateful for today. I am grateful for being able to experience the moments that I am living now. Maybe in the coming days, weeks, or months, I would be able to build myself up again and see the best version that I truly wished to have become.

I would also like to go back to the different activities I once truly enjoyed such as creative writing and photography. Maybe this time around, I would be able to fully dedicate my time and commitment to developing my skills.


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