One of the main things I get asked quite regularly is on the topic of homesickness. Quite often this usually more comes from coworkers than students but there have been a number of them who have inquired after themselves spending some time overseas for study or language exchange. So….
What do you miss about your home country (Canada)? Do you get homesick?
This is a bit of a difficult question to answer without rubbing people the wrong way but I will be pretty straight forward. Not so much. For better or worse this is the truth and not just a look at Japan with rose-colored glasses. Canada is a wonderful place filled with many opportunities for a lot of people and a place they proudly call home. I think that it’s a very beautiful thing and I have absolutely no qualms to highly recommend it to students here who wish to study, work, or live abroad. Ultimately for me though it has always felt like a transit point than a home and that probably has a lot to do with the frequency at which I moved around as a child combined with my deep interest in all things Asia.
I miss good friends. The difference in culture and language barriers create some difficulties here when it comes to deeply connecting with people and sharing likeminded ideas. It’s a surmountable obstacle and given the right amount of time I aim to overcome. However, there are certain people I have spent a lot of time growing up with in Canada and those cannot be replaced.
I also miss being able to be in a place that’s cold and isolated. What a strange notion. What I mean by that is the shear vastness of the country provides an environment where you can jump in a car and travel, quite easily, to a point where there is nothing more but the stillness of night, the cold biting at your feet and the brilliant sea of stars above your head. It is a serenity I enjoyed in Canada that is lacking for me in Japan however the gap that was left has been filled with the unrelenting waves of the summer ocean tide.
I miss the greasy (and delicious) pizza. Japan has some fantastic food and some halfway decent pizza (although a bit expensive at times). A guilty pleasure back in Canada was getting some Pizza 73 delivered on a Friday night, cracking a beer or two and enjoying some music and internet surfing. For better or worse it’s not something that carries the same kind of satisfaction here. It lead to me consuming more pizza than a I probably should have but all the same it was a rather satisfying experience.
I don’t really get home sick to be honest. That strikes people as rather odd when I admit to it but perhaps it’s because I never really felt at home while in Canada. It’s also quite hard to find people who identify with that view point. I went through a period of frustrations in my first year here that brought to mind the differences between the two countries and every now and then you get a night where you miss the simple life of Canada, often looking back not unlike we would on childhood days. They are rather rare though and my view has always been optimistic. I enjoy my life here and the opportunities it has provided me.