Strange Lands: First Steps (Episode 1)

litokyoA little over six weeks ago I stepped onto an airplane with almost everything I owned and a brand new passport on a journeythat was terrifying, unbelievable, and completely shocking. I moved to Japan. Recently single and completely alone venturing to a country drastically different than my homeland. I was shocked by how much I hadn’t thought of and how utterly different the world was a mere eleven hours away from where I had been born. I felt utterly unprepared the second I stepped off the plane and still catch myself in a state of shock. I am utterly in awe of the beauty of this culture and the beauty that has emerged in a country that remained untouched and free of the influence of other cultures for so many years. I also cannot see an end to the possibilities that await me here.

I am scared. Constantly scared to offend the nationals by my tattoos being exposed or my voice being too loud or my complete lack of learning the language. I am also in love, in love with the kindness that is constantly showed to me when I am lost or confused and by the tradition that has remained intact in a country of so many people. I am so in love with the food and the spirits that are always new and different around every corner. My pallet is starved and refuses to be quenched until I have tried it all! I am a kid in a candy store, overwhelmkikied be the difference of sight and sound and the mixture of historic and modern that flows and ebbs seamlessly.

Mostly, I am thoughtful. I constantly look for the meanings of this society and what I can learn from them. I look at what I wish and hope they could learn shintobridgefrom us. I think about what the time here will produce through my hands. What I can do with this amazing opportunity. I am lonely. Often I spend time inside looking out. Never before have my differences been so blatantly apparent. But I remind my self to embrace that and rejoice in it. I am looking, seeing, tasting, feeling everything that is here for the taking. I am in Japan. It is an unbelievably strange land.

My whole life I have asked for adventure to be opened up to me. Now here I am in the midst of my biggest one yet. I’m not sure that my experience will be typical or entertaining but, Im going to write about it. I think that being in such a vastly different culture than my own has put a spotlight on my true self and turned this journey into one for the inside as much as the out. I am interested to see where we end up…