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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!!





















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




Much love,

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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