Reason #81 to Keep Living: Communication

Transitioning into my new life in Canada hasn’t been easy. Since arriving in my home country on December 13th, I’ve been dealing not only with jet lag, but also with a very strange type of culture shock.

It’s uncanny: things which used to be familiar to me are now foreign. Everything’s loud, the sky is impenetrably grey (I forgot winter here meant no sunlight), and the people are — to put it nicely — a little more forward, a little more open, a little less professional.

One aspect of Canada that has made my life simpler instead of harder is the language. Communicating in Japanese was a challenge that only got marginally easier throughout my year in Japan. Nearly every public part of my life was affected. From ordering food and filling out government documents to running errands and shopping, every personal encounter outside of my apartment was potentially stressful and complicated. Continue reading

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The Early Stages of Living and Working in Japan

About a year and a half ago I visited Japan for the first time. It was an out-of-this-world experience (I’m not kidding, at times I felt I had landed on an alien planet), and I vowed to return. I loved the food, the architecture, the language, the outstanding customer service, and, above all, the deeply-rooted tradition.

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Here’s me in a yukata (summer kimono) at the Tanabata Festival in Nagoya, 2016

When I vowed to come back to Japan, I knew the easiest way to stay here for an extended period of time would be to work. Of course, the most available employment opportunity was teaching English. I signed up for a TESL certification course, and, in the mean time, completed my undergraduate degree. I soon got a job, did the necessary paperwork, and booked my flights. Continue reading

Reader Beware: The Controlling Power of Language

Have you ever thought about the way in which you think? Thinking about thinking is enough to scramble anyone’s brain, but I suggest you give it a try, if only to discover how you function, learn, and remember. I, personally, think in words, and I believe the majority of people think in this same way. I also think through the senses — through images and smells and sounds — but my primary mode of thinking is in words. Everything else stems from there. Continue reading