Life In Japan As An Introvert


Being an introvert isn’t something I wanted. I don’t know why and how I became one. That being said, I recall the time when I had to immerse myself in dealing with people in order to achieve something. Specifically, I’m talking about my university days. At the time, I was someone who had to run errands for my university in exchange for my scholarship. If you must know, I was a Peer Facilitator. Basically, helping around the university’s Guidance Center was my job which includes administering IQ and EQ tests, facilitating seminars pertaining to self-awareness and all, and sometimes counseling my fellow students with minor issues. I have to be completely honest now that signing up for that kind of scholarship wasn’t my deepest intention. It was a choice I had to make for me to continue studying. It was a low time for our family and my mom couldn’t afford tuition fees anymore. So I had to step up and thank God the scholarship was indeed a blessing!

It wasn’t easy for me as I had to face a lot of different people on school days, but it was definitely a fulfilling experience and I have no regrets. In fact, I’m very indebted to my university and the people I was with during that terrible time of my life. I couldn’t have finished college if not for all of them. It was also the time that I learned a lot about myself. One of the many things is knowing that I am someone who doesn’t want to be around people. I don’t hate people. It’s just that I am not in need of others’ presence just to get through a day or two. It’s like having my own little world where I’ve got everything I need.

Talking with others that aren’t in my circle is like taking a difficult school test for me that I get jitters all throughout. Being around people is like working on a massive project that takes a lot of effort to accomplish. It’s hard because, in my career where I have to be with people, I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. However, with time I’ve developed a talent for surviving in times when I have to be around people. And when I kind of like someone, the nervousness lessens but still, there’s a wall. A wall with a door that I can only open to certain souls. I sometimes think if there’s something wrong with me that others may misunderstand me, but I’ve come to the point where nothing matters except for the ones I dearly love. So it’s okay for me when people dislike me for who I am. In terms of friendship, I don’t know if I still believe in one after all the coming and vanishing of the people I used to call friends. I’m kind of tired of that cycle and I know these days loyalty is a luxury.

It’s been 2 years and 3 months since the first day I turned into an expat here in Japan. Coming here was the second biggest decision I’ve ever made in my whole life so far. Life has never been the same since I first stood on the Japanese ground. This country has had a lot of fascinating things thrown at me since the beginning of my life’s chapter in this foreign land. This time I want to focus on the very thing that has paved the way for more self-discovery and a good period of introspection.

I don’t know about the other expats living here, but I like the fact that I don’t have to mingle with people here all the time. When not working, I have all the time in the world for myself. Even around my neighborhood which isn’t in the urban jungle, there isn’t a regular time to talk with others which is totally different from where I come from. In my hometown, you can meet and talk to people almost every day. Bystanders are nowhere to be seen here while in my country, they’re everywhere.

My family, especially my mom is worried about me being alone when my husband goes to work when the fact of the matter is that I’m totally fine with it. Even some people I know think it’s lonely and I must be a very lonely person here. It’s hard to justify but I’m not lonely even if I’m alone. It’s in my solitude where I find peace and joy. Like a bird freely flying on a sun-shiny day. It’s like blissfully listening to a never-ending orchestra with eyes closed. This is how I see life here in Japan as an introvert. How about you?

 

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