Life In Japan As An Introvert

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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44 responses

  1. Great post. Contrarily to paralysing shyness, being an introvert is an asset since it allows you to deal with time alone without being lonely, and filter the company you want or not. It helps being creative and be inside a great network of people in which you include yourself. Being an introvert who can act like an extrovert is a powerful skill.


  2. I love that you have identified your niche and that instead of feeling lonely you’ve turned it into solitude. Something I think most people really struggle with. It is even sadder if someone feels lonely in a sea of friends. I admire you!


  3. I’m an introvert too❤️ I didn’t realise it until very recently… I tend to enjoy myself when I’m alone and share less… Mingling and making new friends is not my cup of tea.. Very relatable post and wonderfully written!💗


  4. “A wall with a door that I can only open to certain souls.” You described it SO perfectly. That’s exactly how I am, and how I feel. Even if I could be perceived as an extrovert with my online presence…I am anything but. I work at a radio station, most people there are extra-extroverted, so it can be a challenge. Have you ever read the book by Susan Cain, “Quiet: The power of introverts”? It’s really good imo. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  5. I love a total introvert…I love being alone..but I fo enjoy people and company too..just for shorter time frames..wuiet serenity is where I feel free and can be at peace and hear my soul speak.


  6. Really an interesting social observation with regard to Japan. If anything, many Japanese will express the emotional crush of constant social responsibility and interaction required of one’s work and community. And yet, pathological extroversion isn’t seen as a social asset… unless you’re maybe from Osaka.

    It seems to me that most bloggers tend to classify themselves as “introverts” (though I don’t). So perhaps blogging allows for a little of the social interaction required of keeping the larger circle of acquaintanceships who can help to keep a bigger picture in perspective. Regardless, I think it’s entirely normal that a person has but perhaps one truly close friend. Developing a shared sense of understandings and of values also requires a great deal of shared experience, regardless of the relatively superficial images of life promoted by the likes of Facebook or Twitter. And we shouldn’t underrate friendships with ourselves, either.


    • I keep hearing about how different the locals in Osaka are. So I guess that may be true. I’ve only visited the place once so I can’t really tell.

      I didn’t mean to be that introvert blogger. It just so happens that I blog. I’m glad that you know how and what you are. Some people lack self-awareness that may lead to something terrible.

      The social interaction in the blogging world gives me less reason to be anxious. I don’t know why, but I like it as it is. Like I don’t need to worry about being committed to someone that I have to keep mingling with.

      I think the best friendship we could ever have is between you and yourself. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your genuine thoughts! Appreciate it, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am also an introvert. The way you described being around people outside of your small group of known friends, like having to take a test and getting all jittery, I get like that too when I’m around people. Honestly, it can really stress me out and make me anxious. But I love being alone and having time for myself to do things the way I want to do them. A lot of my friends have moved away to different countries mostly, and initially it was a struggle because I had gotten used to seeing them once a week or so to break up the introvertedness so I wouldn’t begin to feel lonely. I sometimes do have moments where I feel lonely, but that’s mostly associated with family, and not friends. I think I would enjoy living in Japan alone because it would also be a wonderful opportunity of self-discovery and time alone to really figure stuff out and grow as a person.


  8. I feel the same as you in that I find peace and joy when I’m alone. I’m happy to hear that Japan is a good and suitable place for you. 🙂 I have to bus to go to shops/school/anywhere and I don’t live near any friends. I kind of like it though because life is pretty chill and I feel comfortable this way.


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