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As usual I'm late to my own Japanniversary, and my eighth year in Japan as already begun.
But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate, right?!
Done *heehee*
That's what I wanted this video to be about
But the more I thought about it, the harder it seemed to put my experiences into little boxes
and tie them up neatly with a ribbon.
I've shared so many of my experiences here in Japan with you guys
whether through video, or pictures on Twitter and Instagram
and back when I used Facebook
and the thing is I don't like boxes, I don't like labels, and experiences can easily become generalisations.
or even play up to stereotypes.
So I turned to Google to check in on what exactly Japan....is.
"What is Japan?"
Okay so that didn't really help. So I tried Japanese as well,
and what struck me was that many of the searches that showed pages about how Japan was perceived over-seas
and through the eyes of non-Japanese.
Eureka! Here it is!
Everybody is interested in everybody else,
and generalisations are the framework that helps us to understand things that would otherwise be strange or weird and foreign to us!
Maybe it's not such a bad thing to put things in boxes once in a while...
Even if I'm really bad at it.
I turned to Twitter and I asked you guys to ask me questions
specifically about my life in Japan
and you guys turned out!
So I'm going to do my best to answer these questions
and there might be a few Q&As that come out after this video because it's a lot to cover.
"How were your first three months in Japan" "Did you miss your family and home?"
and "was it hard to adjust to living in Japan?"
So the first six months here were super-duper hard, and partly that was due to working in a really horrible job!
And the company just was *uugghhhhh* so bad!
So bad.
Food was really hard to figure out at first
I had to learn *so* many kanji
I felt a lot of culture shock just walking through the super market and not knowing what the best brand for this or that was
and not being familiar with anything
and having to read these things really carefully like,
I didn't have, like, Google Translate app on an iPhone. I didn't even have an iPhone!
So I couldn't just take a picture and like translate stuff.
I had to learn a lot of kanji and I would just like avoid stuff if I didn't understand it
so there was a huge steep learning curve and it was a very tough time for me
You know, my Japanese wasn't great and I was super shy, like just horribly shy!
So it was really hard for me to even use the Japanese that I had.
So the situation I was in was very bad, and um...
just a bunch of things added together to make for a very toxic situation
where I was quite depressed and I would ring my mum every night and I would basically just cry every single day
and yeah, but I got through that
It wasn't like I was hating Japan, it was just like a really rough situation for me.
Thanks to that terrible situation I learnt so much!
I overcame so much and I moved on and up!
Like that really helped me to never get in a bad bad job situation again
and to not be afraid to quit if things get really bad.
So like, I've always been like a stickler for rules and contracts and stuff
but like, at the end of the day if you're in a really crappy work situation or housing situation
and you can see a way out, take it! You won't regret it!
I got out of that situation and it was honestly the best thing I could have done for myself
and I moved onward and upwards! Yaaaaay!
So yeah, the first six months were super hard though.
I was asked 'what are the differences between Japan and New Zealand?' but that's going to be a separate video
because it got loong.
"What do I miss about New Zealand?"
Mostly I miss the beaches, I miss family, and I miss my friends
and I feel like I've lost a lot of my friends because I've just lost touch with them
like, people can just watch my videos and know what's going on with me
but like, I can't do that to any of my friends
so I really don't know what's going on with most of them
it's, you know, it's really sad!
'cause I still love them! But I feel like I've lost them.
I've been here a long time.
Tove asks; "how welcoming is Japan towards people from other countries? Did you feel accepted or stared at when you came there?"
So first of all I stick out, I mean I have blue hair, I have tattoos, I have...I'm white!
So I stick out. So people do look at me.
and they do look at me curiously and sometimes they stare.
When it comes to feeling like an outsider, being able to understand Japanese culture and language helps a lot
being able to speak Japanese will break down a lot of those walls
and I find that generally people are very kind, and very very curious
and sometimes people will be frustrated by the kinds of questions people ask
and they'll ask the same questions over and over again, and they'll make certain assumptions
but I actually just think of that as a like 'small talk', and especially after spending seven years here
it's just, you know, it's just small talk, getting to know you
and they're just showing an interest most of the time.
What has helped me a lot is making videos in Japanese on YouTube means that people who watch my videos
will often come up to me and just talk to me in Japanese very naturally
Maybe I'm not the best representation of what a 'foreigner in Japan' is
but I feel like we need to break down some of those stereotypes
especially that TV really loves to portray a very certain image of what a foreigner in Japan is and what they like
and kind of sometimes plays to stereotypes
whereas I think on YouTube we have this opportunity to kind of break that down a little bit
Making videos in Japanese has a really great side to it and a really dark side to it
like some of the stuff that people have said to me has been absolutely horrible
and like, really out there, and not nice and has made me, you know, feel kind of like
I really hope that, you know, that when I'm walking down the street people aren't thinking this about me
but at the end of the day, mean people exist everywhere
like I don't think I've experienced any level of negativity higher than what I would have experience in New Zealand
except online, and that's just a whole, a whole other thing.
Okay, if I had lipstick on my teeth for any of those questions I'm really sorry
Kittycat mob asks; "has it gotten easier to be vegetarian/vegan in Japan or is it still difficult to find restaurants/cafes?"
I think yes if you live in Tokyo, I still think it's quite limited and that it helps a lot if you can read Japanese.
One question I really like was; "If you could put all those seven years into one kanji, what kanji would it be?"
And the kanji I would choose is 'ai' or 'love'
When it comes to taking on a new adventure, you really have to go in to it with love
and you will find love!
"Funniest experience with a foreigner?" this got a lot of favourites.
Okay, I've got two!
So there used to be this Indian restaurant me and Duncan would go to a lot because it was like *amazing*
we love Indian food
and I would take a lot of friends and family members there
and then one time I took my friend from New Zealand there.
The waiter came up to me and pointed at my friend and was like 'mama?'
*cringe* oh my god! It was so embarrassing! We're like the same age!
I felt so bad but it was hilarious!
There's this guy I knew when I first came to Japan
and he'd come to Japan because he'd really wanted to see in real life
scenes from the movie 'Life of a Geisha'
and that was the reason, that was it...
Kenji asks; "Did your JLPT level help you get jobs in Japan preYouTube?"
I like the assumption that like I don't need a job because I do YouTube, but...
I've never been asked to show anyone a JLPT score
I don't think that anyone in like the fashion and make up industries really thinks to ask 'hey, do you have JLPT level one?!'
Whereas if you're doing something very very like 'professional' where a language is very very important
like a slip up can cause big trouble
like for instance law, I'm pretty sure someone would ask 'hey! show me your JLPT score!' but, yeah!
Bronwyn asks; "what is your happiest moment ever whilst in Japan?"
When we got Latte and when we got Cinnamon. Those were super happy moments.
The birthday party that my friends threw for me this year was very special to me
Meeting Duncan. Obviously! Because, I mean, you guys know what he means to me.
Doing free hugs. I think the feeling that I get after I do free hugs is the most special feeling in the world and I really need to do it again soon.
Being able to show my friends and family around Tokyo has been a really happy thing
You know that happy feeling you get when you discover a nice cafe?
I get this feeling, it might not be happiness, but just such love when I look down on Tokyo from a high place.
The feeling I get after I release a video. That's usually a really happy feeling.
When someone on the internet says 'I love you Mimei!' ....it's pretty happy!
The world is not an easy place, it's tough! It's tough to deal with it.
But there is so many happy moments, and I'm so grateful for all of them
And remembering them, it's giving me warm fuzzies.
Oh and the moment I decided to move to Tokyo, and I made the leap and move to Tokyo.
A lot of you guys might not even know this but I've actually lived in several different places in Japan
and it took me a while to work myself up to living in Tokyo. Like I kind of worked my way up to Tokyo.
and I'm so glad I did! This city is just like endless, gorgeous, crazy, beautiful, wonderful, lovely!
"Did you have a difficult time making friends when you first moved to Japan? What did you do to meet people?"
Short answer: yes I did have a difficult time making friends when I moved to Japan
and doing YouTube has brought me together with a lot of people.
"How do you battle the fear of speaking Japanese? and the fear of possibly messing up?"
"I get anxious and forget basic stuff"
Oh, I still get anxious and forget basic stuff!
Like, even in English! If you guys could see this video without jump cuts it would sound like a mess!
A very big mess. See I just did it there.
So basically you just have to keep doing it.
That anxiety isn't necessarily going to go away
I know, it's not fun! But it might not go away. You just have to keep doing the thing.
So no matter how scared you are, keep doing the thing and laugh at your own mistakes.
and don't take it too personally if people laugh at your mistakes
just let go of that, let go of that! Be a little bit shameless
and like, just laugh at yourself because mistakes are funny!
Mami asks; "There are many earthquakes in Japan, what are you gonna do if the big one happens in Tokyo? Back to New Zealand or stay?"
So I wanted to talk about this because when I was thinking about this video
one of the major events that's happened in my life in Japan was the 3/11 earthquake here which was huge
It was when I'd just moved from Gifu to Tokyo and I was in my apartment alone
and it was very scary
Let's face it! If a big quake hits the Kantō area, I could die!
I mean, it's a possibility, and every time there's even a small quake here I get a bit scared
my little fur babies could be in danger, and I worry about Duncan's safety
and I worry about being separated in a disaster, and I worry about what would happen to the cats
and I also got asked 'do I feel like Japan is a foreign country?'
I mean, Japan is different from New Zealand but it is my home right now
and I have- you know, everything I have here I've built up over the last seven years, and that's a big deal!
Like if I went back to New Zealand I would be starting from zilch!
I don't imagine myself like running back to New Zealand the moment there's a quake
I don't like to speculate about the future because like anything could happen
I don't know what that situation might be, like
you know, what if I was badly injured in a quake
maybe I would decide to go back to a place where I have family
because I don't have any family aside from Duncan in Japan
like, his family won't have anything to do with us, so you know...
There's so many factors and a lot of them are very specific to my situation, I think
and what would happen in that situation, which we can't really speculate about
let's just hope that we all live long, healthy, safe lives!
That was friggin' depressing!
Okay I'm not answering anymore earthquake questions because they don't put me in a very good state of mind.
"What is your favourite place in Tokyo?" or "What is your favourite place in Japan?"
and I've answered the Japan question before, and Tokyo- I show you guys everything in my videos
Literally if you want to know all my favourite places in Japan they're all here
I show them to you guys and also on my Mimei channel
my 'day in the life' videos, I make sure to pack as much good stuff in to them as possible!
"What is the weirdest thing, your interpretation of weird, that you've experienced while in Japan?"
"How many things did you know about Japan before you moved there?"
and "when did you start seeing Japan as 'not weird'?"
So i've put all these questions together.
So, um, one of the things that I did see and think was a bit weird when I saw it
was I saw this tourist walking down the street dressed as like a bunny lolita
and I was like 'oh, weird'
but then I was like 'hey, you go girl!' like...why not?!
I studied Japanese culture, literature, and history academically before I came to Japan
and I also read a lot of blogs about Japan, and all that kinda good stuff
and I consumed a lot of media, and books, and manga, and dramas, and you know, so much stuff!
There's so much stuff.
So I don't think of Japan as inherently weird
and I don't think I've ever really looked at Japan and thought 'hey, weird! It's so, it's so weird!'
I look at myself and think 'weird' sometimes, but I don't really look at Japan and think 'look at this community, it's so weird!'
I don't think I saw it as weird but I probably did exotify it, I probably did see it as exotic
when I first started to become interested in Japanese things
and I do think I saw it as different
like culturally different and very interesting because it was different from my culture.
"How do you do the whole immigration thing? I wanna move to Japan but I don't understand visas or how to become a citizen?"
I will address this in another video, but check with your nearest Japanese embassy and Google a lot.
"If you'd never come to Japan how would you imagine your life?"
I'm not really a person who likes the idea of regrets
I wish I had done a working holiday visa in Japan, that's definitely something I regret
even though I live my life with no regrets
I do wish I had done that instead of just jumping in to working here.
But I don't imagine my life not coming to Japan.
I always thought like maybe I'd go live in Korea for a year because I was super in to Korean culture, and I studied Korean at university for a while
but at the end of the day I came to Japan and it ended up- seven years later and I'm still here
and I don't have any real regrets about that
you know, I've made mistakes, I've made *so* many mistakes
but it's all lead to me becoming the person that I am now
and I'm pretty proud of myself for overcoming so much, and doing a lot of it alone
I mean, now I have Duncan, we have our cats, we have our own little family, but before that I was pretty alone
and I have friends but they would come and go, and I'm really proud of myself for doing this by myself
and I'm really grateful to my mum for always answering my phone calls and dealing with my histrionics
Thumbs up for mums.
If I hadn't come to Japan and managed to overcome some of my crippling shyness
and become more confident within myself, and started to put myself out there on the internet
even with my bad Japanese
and just muscled through some of the bad things that happened
and dealt with a lot of bullying in the workplace and online, and learnt how to deal with that stuff better
and learnt how to be a better person
and really, I think I've really grown as a person, and in part it's really thanks to YouTube and having this amazing experience
and being able to interact with you guys, and having this really great you know, audience!
I'm so grateful for that and that's one of the best things that I feel like Japan, this experience of being in Japan, has given me.
YouTube! I know, it's weird.
If you enjoyed this video please thumb it up. I'm not just saying this, it makes me happy!
And it helps me out!
If you're interested in seeing more from me, hit the subscribe button POW!
Okay! I'm drenched in sweat and I'm going to go now!
If anyone's been following me for six years
You might remember this
You don't remember it, do you?
Duncan's behind the camera and even he doesn't remember
so if you remember a certain video where this might have happened
you're my OG
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652 Folder Collection
Voice published on October 3, 2016
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