This was an older entry that was written but never published. I’ll be posting a few here and there overtime.
Summer is here and with it, outside the usual, a lot of time has been spent on introspection and self analysis. August will mark about the half way point of my second year in Japan. It is both exhilarating and amazing how fast that time has passed. Without a doubt the time has been peppered with amazing memories and stewed in worthwhile experiences, something that I come to appreciate to greater effect upon flipping through the photos I’ve taken here. There’s a lot to taken in, looking back. Travel consequentially is a time of change and growth and something that comes recommended in spades, no matter the destination. One cannot even anticipate how it will change you but there is no denying the fact that it will.
As such, looking back I can hardly recognize myself. Often times it does become hard to notice of course. You are you. However, you begin to see the new face you adopt when you step out of the current situation you’re in and notice how differently you react to your old environments.
I’ve lived in a number of countries leading up to now. Those that have done the same can likely attest that at times it can be difficult to have a true sense of identity or culture. I was born in Poland and spent my early childhood there. Despite moving to Canada at the age of 7 I still spent a lot of those early years surrounded by Polish culture through school and family and at first language barriers. Of course as it is, you adapt to the country you live in and over time my cultural identity shifted. While Polish by blood I didn’t identify myself so much as Polish as I lost a lot of interest in the culture itself. I listened to western music, watched western shows, met western friends. My identity at that point was quite Canadian, and at the same time I developed a lot of resentment for my Polish roots. Perhaps that’s a strange thing to say but a number of factors in my life contributed to that phase of my life. Even though these days I don’t have that sort of contempt for it I still don’t really identify as Polish either.
For a while that identity stayed at Canadian and for the most part that has continued. However, in the early teenage years of my life things began to shift once again. This was spurred more by an interest of the the unknown and un-understood that asian culture in general brought to me. If I had to try and pinpoint how it all got started I still wouldn’t be able to do it. Quite simply, it took over and grew, reminiscent of an infection. From there on out it continually snowballed into where I am now. I had spent the majority of my time with friends from Asia, taking interests in asian music, pop culture, life style and various other aspects that filled my days. As it is though, I was still living in Canada and while it felt a bit weird to attach myself to some sort of cultural identity I was still of course quite western and Canadian.