There is something important I have learned in the 6 years of my life in NY. It was maybe my second year there that I realized I do have some families in NY, not genetically or legally related or anything but there were some people who I lived my life with. Feeling of having families at somewhere I originally do not belong to made me feel "home."
I think I should say that I love going to new places but until very recent, that "new places" did not include my home country Japan. To be honest, I was really scared to come back to Japan even I knew that it would be less than a year that I stay here. When I traveled, I always tried to make the places my "home" in some ways even when the duration of the stay was not very long. But since I came back to Japan on Dec 31st 2013, even when I was living in Tokyo for 3 months (April- June,) I was not allowing myself feel "home." I was too scared that I could not stop myself to think that I cannot belong here. I think I am kind of a perfectionist. I say that because I know the reason of my feeling of homelessness was the fact that what seems generally considered good in the Japanese society had conflicted with my own thoughts of good. I had never been able to be my own self in Japan until recent. Or at least, that was what I always had felt.
I have been "living" in Komagane Training Center (KTC) in the prefecture of Nagano since July 10th. I did not want to come here at all because I would have to deal with other 200 Japanese trainees and staff members. I only came here because it was an obligation for me to complete before starting to live in Burkina Faso as JOCV (Japanese version of peace corps volunteer.) Now, after about a month and a half, I have realized that I have some people here who I am considering as someone who I live my life with, which I call families. Then I finally came to realize my biased ideas for my own people.
I've always said that nationality is only nationality and it does not tell any other things. Nationality does not show me one's personality, religion, culture, or anything. I always wanted to see the person him/herself. As there are many spoken and unspoken rules in the Japanese society, it maybe made it difficult for me to look at the person him/herself because unlike NY, here people try not to be unique in order to live in the society.
As I have lived at KTC with many other people whose nationalities are Japanese, I have communicated with many of them who I would normally do not even bother to talk to. I had always found Japanese- standard politeness as false. But I guess it was just that I had been strikingly impatient. After a month and a half of spending time with someone who did not seem interesting, many of them have became my important people. Of course I still get tired almost everyday from so much of the energies of different people in the space. But now I am very glad that I came here. I think I had to come here to realize that Japan is just a name of a nation which I am from and Japanese is just a nationality.
I would like to thank all the people here for being here and for kindly dealing with someone a bit complicated like me. Now I know that I don't have to be scared of Japan because there are many individuals who I truly feel connected with and because I know that I will find more and more famillies of mine in anywhere in the world, including Japan.