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The Truth | 本当のこと

July 19, 2013

Sunflowers in the Golan Heights | ゴラン高原でみたひまわり

Sunflowers in the Golan Heights | ゴラン高原でみたひまわり

Discovering that you are not alone in something can be such a huge relief.
It can have the power to scoop you out of the dark and uplift you.

Even if, in my recent case, that revelation came from reading the words
of anonymous strangers on a 2011 thread of a Japanese message board.

The internet can be really amazing sometimes. Seriously.

Some of the things I learned from this thread:

*I am not alone in becoming a bit of a hikikomori
since moving to a foreign country.

(Wikipedia’s definition of hikikomori:
a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon
of reclusive adolescents or young adults
who withdraw from social life,
often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement.)

*I am not alone in having difficulty coming to terms
with the person I have become in this foreign country
versus the person I was back home.

(Back in Tokyo I was fiercely independent,
working a job that I loved, living in my own place,
and here in Israel even after three years
I still can’t do many things without Yuval.)

*I am not alone in not being able to like the foreign country…yet.

(This is the hardest to admit and say out loud because
I’m talking about the home of the man I love.
And I know very well I haven’t given it much of a chance.)

And the list can go on and on.

I have kept these things mostly to myself up until now,
both online and offline,
because of embarrassment, shame, I guess…
and pride getting in the way.
After all I sacrificed to move here,
I sure don’t seem to have accomplished much,
and don’t try nearly enough to learn or experience
more about this country.

But strangely, by stumbling upon this message board,
(it came up as one of the search results of
“living abroad” and “want to go home” in Japanese by the way.
Yeah, I was in a dark, dark, place.)
and learning that I was not alone,
some of the discomfort started to fall away, little by little.
I didn’t feel so bad about my situation, or myself any more.

It was like having some kind of mysterious illness
and finally finding out what it is.
And that it’s actually not so unusual.

So if there is anyone reading this who can identify
with any of the things mentioned above,
please know that you are not alone either.

Some of the words of wisdom in that thread that have stayed with me:

*A country, city, or town is kind of like people
you meet throughout your life…
With some you instantly click, some may grow on you eventually,
and with some it never clicks.

*It is sometimes wise to lay low and not move
when you know it’s not your time to move.

Moving across the world for one reason or another
can be glamorous, exciting, romantic…
But it can also be really, really, hard.
(I think it can be just as hard to make drastic moves
within your own country as well, going from big city
to remote area for example.)
And if it involves a partner you moved for,
it’s easy to forget that it can be just as equally hard
for the partner too.

I’m still here because the man I moved here for
has stayed with me through the good and bad
and puts up with all my shit,
including my dark phases (and there has been many).
That’s why I haven’t been able to say “fuck it” and go back home.

So does this make me very lucky or extremely unlucky? :)

Now that I’ve put this out there (but have barely scratched the surface)
I’m hoping to expand on these topics in future posts.

But the funny thing is?
Ever since stumbling upon the thread
(which is now a few months ago, I think. I don’t even remember.)
the thick cloud above my head has slowly been dissipating.
Maybe all I needed was to know I’m not alone,
that there are people like me all around the world.
Or who knows?
Maybe I’m finally starting to get used to life in this country.
If so, it only took three years!

P.S. Every time I hear the term “you are not alone,”
that Michael Jackson song gets stuck in my head.
And now it probably has in yours too… sorry! Much love!!

ずっと悩んでいたことが、ある日、
実は他にも似たような悩み事を持つ人がたくさんいた、、、
自分だけじゃなかったんだ!と発見できた時。
このような発見は実にパワフルで、
ずっと抜け出せなかった暗闇からすっと引き出してくれる力があります。

もしその発見が数年前からの「(海外在住)僕の妻が引きこもりです。」
というトピの、全くの他人による言葉からだったとしても。

インターネットは本当に素晴らしい!と思える出来事でした。

このトピから「私一人じゃなかったんだ!」と
発見したことをいくつかあげると:

*海外に引っ越して来てから引きこもり状態になったこと。

(このトピを読むまで自分が「引きこもり状態」
になったことすら実感がわかなかった。
読むまで思いもつかなかったけど、
文章を目の前にして「まさに自分のことだ」と思った。
そして、次々と「私も」「私も」と続く同じく海外在住で
似たような経験をされている方のレスポンスを見て、
「私一人じゃなかったんだ!」という実感がわいた。)

*海外に来てからの自分と、日本にいた時の自分の
ギャップになかなか慣れないこと。

(東京にいた時はバリバリ働いていたし、一人暮らしもしていた。
イスラエルに来てからもう約3年たつけど、
未だにユバルに頼らなければできないことが日常的レベルでたくさんある。)

*引っ越してきた国を未だに好きになれないこと。

(これは一番認めづらいこと。
ユバルの母国だからこそ、好きになりたいけどなれない。
これはもちろん自分の好きになろうとする
努力が足りないのもあるのだけれど。)

全部ここに書こうとしたらきりがないけれど、、、

これは今までオンラインでもオフラインでも
あまり人に言えなかったこと。
恥ずかしいと言うか、話しづらかったと言うか、、、
プライドももちろんあった。
日本の大好きだった生活を手放してまでして
思い切って遠い土地に引っ越してきたのに、
私海外生活を満喫するどころか
この国のことについてもっと学ぼうとしたり、
体験しようとする努力をしてない。
ほとんど何も成し遂げた気がしない。

でも不思議なことにこのトピを発見して
(発見した理由も、「海外在住」「帰国したい」
という検索の結果だったんです。
この時は究極に落ち込んでいました、はい。)
自分と似たような経験をしている人がたくさんいることを知ってから
今まであったぎこちなさ、辛さが、少しずつ、少しずつ、
ほどけていっている気がします。
自分のこと、自分の状態のことが前ほどマイナス思考ではなくなった。

まるで謎の病の病名をやっと知り、
しかもそれほどめずらしくもない病であることを発見したような気分でした。

だからもしこのエントリーを読んで
少しでも共感できることがある人にも、
一人でないことを知ってほしい。

トピへのレスポンスの中で印象に残ったことをいくつか:

*人でも相性があるように、人と国にも相性がある。
特定の理由がなくても、「合わない」場所はある。

*動く時でない時に動かないのも、すぐれた能力のひとつ。

なんらかの理由で海外に引っ越すことは
ワクワクするし、非日常的でロマンチックだけど
そのぶん辛いこともたくさんある。
(海外に限らず、母国内でも全く知らない土地へ
引っ越すのはとても大変だと思う。)
そしてもしパートナーのために引っ越したとしたら、
忘れがちになるのはそのパートナーにとっても
同じくらい大変だということ。

私が未だにここにいるのは結局、ユバルがいい時も悪いときも
全部ひっくるめて私を見捨てないで一緒にいてくれるから。
これでもかと言うくらい私がひどく落ち込んでも
イスラエルに対してネガティブな思いや感情をおさえきれなくても、
決して私を変えようとしたり否定したりしない。
だからまだ「もうやめた」と言って日本に引き返してないんです。

私はとてもラッキーなのか、ついてないのか、どっちなのでしょう? 笑

今回のエントリーではちょっと触れただけなので、
今後このことについて少しずつ書いていければと思ってます。

でも本当に不思議なことに、例のトピを読んでから
(もう今から数ヶ月前になるのかな?忘れてしまうくらい前のこと)
精神的な重さが少しずつ軽くなってきてるんです。
自分と似たような経験をしている人がいる、
という事実が必要だっただけなのかもしれません。
それとも、もしかしたらやっとこの国の生活に
慣れて来たのかも?
そうだとしたらずいぶん時間がかかったな、、、

追伸:参考のために、似たような内容のトピをいくつか:
海外で引きこもり気味で好奇心もなくて。ー教えて!goo
海外で「引きこもり状態」ーYahoo!知恵袋

Much love,
Kaori

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2013 3:39 pm

    Hey again, K. I wa wondering if it would be really strange/weird to invite you to our wedding here in Israel around/on Oct 1st? ….My friend, that I might of mentioned in email or note once, is also coming. She also married a German and lives as expat with him there. She was thinking about writing about this life in a book one day, at least this was a fleeting idea of hers about 8 months ago. Anyhoo, we have thought about meeting sometime and a wedding would be a great and easy type time with little pressure! Although, Israelis don’t really like weddings or going to them, but I love the dancing part.

    I’d love to have you and your husband, if that isn’t too strange! We plan to have it at Rama’s Kitchen in Nataf, hopefully. It is all goes smooth and works out. Invites will come soon-ish hopefully as well. Let me know you thoughts! = ) It should be chill and easy going… nothing crazy nor flashy.

    • July 21, 2013 4:59 am

      Hi kaie! Yuval and I would be delighted to be at your wedding. And I would love to meet your expat friend too. It may be a bit strange but hey, I think we’ve all already been through plenty of strange trying to adjust to these countries we’ve moved to, right? :) Keep me updated!

      • July 25, 2013 11:38 am

        Lol! Yay!! = ) I shall keep you in the loop. We have our meeting at Rama’s this Sat to secure the date. #woohoo

  2. July 19, 2013 4:32 pm

    I like how you moved from one side of Asia to the other.

    • July 21, 2013 5:02 am

      I never thought of it that way, but it makes me feel like, eh, I haven’t moved so far after all. I think I’ll think about it this way all the time from now on!

  3. July 20, 2013 1:41 am

    Thinking of you and wishing you all the happiness possible over there! If you ever need a break, please come visit. We just moved to Miami and the city feels so much like Tel Aviv, only not as difficult to love :)

    • July 21, 2013 5:05 am

      Hi Katie! Wow, Miami! I loved that city when I visited… wow, over 10 years ago now. Any chance you will start blogging again? Would love to see snippits of your life there. Anyway, so happy to hear from you and that you’ve settled in yet another exciting city :)

  4. August 16, 2013 11:26 pm

    I’ve felt the same way here in California which has totally surprised me because I spent my childhood here. Guess it’s not the same as those decades as an adult in Tokyo. I have no desire to move back to Japan but I sure miss being a Super Insider like I was working in media. (Of course, that was an anomaly. My natural state is always as an outsider.) But recently, I have gained many new friends, and becoming comfortable driving has definitely made me feel like I am more of an adult. LOL

    • August 18, 2013 2:09 pm

      Hi CH,

      I am SO impressed that you have become comfortable with driving! That must make a world’s difference for you in Cali. (I still don’t feel comfortable driving anywhere unfamiliar… and cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are out of the question. Perhaps if I’m forced to I’ll get used to it, but I’ll be happy taking public transport as long as I can get away with it.) And hurray for new friends! Seems like you are slowly but surely growing roots there.

      I was surprised to hear you’ve felt the same way in Cali, but I think I also understand. Maybe it’s even harder going back to a place you are familiar with? I always had a hard time adjusting back to Japan after being away for a few years.

      My natural state has always been as an outsider too :) I’m getting comfortable with that, after all these years.

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