My friend Billy and I went to Oishi Q Manchester a couple weeks ago and enjoyed some authentic Japanese food. I can tell when food is authentic or not, cause I used to live there. And believe me their Katsu curry sauce tasted exactly like the one I used to get in the staff canteen of Tokyo Disney Resort.
It got me thinking. It’s been 5 years since I left japan, and just over 6 since I arrived. I like to think I’ve had a lot of life changing moments in my mere 27 years, but my year spent in japan definitely tops them all. One of those “I came as a girl and left as a woman” type experiences. Although looking back, leaving at 21 I was still so so young.. but way more sure of myself than when I arrived.
I’d previously spent 6 months working in Paris, which was an experience that taught me how to work alongside people of other cultural backgrounds. However, this was on another level. I remember our first day of work, we all gathered in the function room of our apartment building.. and wow. I felt like I’d stepped into an American movie! I’d never heard so many American accents in one room before (or in person for that matter). And of course the Japanese way of life was all so brand new to me.
1. Living in Japan taught me to look inside myself, I became much more calmer and even spiritual.
2. It actually taught me to be more confident and proactive and think outside of the box. The Japanese are so SO polite and calm, sometimes I’d find myself at work having to take things into my own hands to get sh*t done.
3. It taught me that I’m allergic to seaweed. Tad awkward in a country of sushi.
4. That I need freedom. Towards the end of my stay in Japan I my mental health took a struggle, suffering heavily with anxiety, leading up to daily panic attacks. I still don’t know the exact triggers for the anxiety but I can narrow it down to feeling trapped and claustrophobic. I soul searched and with great friends I learnt about the power of our minds and how amazing simple affirmations can be. Maybe I will do a separate post on mental health and mindfulness. Lemme know in the comments if this is something you’d wanna read?
5. It taught me that sometimes the best things in life include a bottle of £5 wine, a room full of friends and a card game.
6. It taught me respect. Have you ever seen those signs on public transport that tell you not to eat or drink on the train. Have you also ignored those signs before? I had too.. until I landed in japan where EVERYONE follows the rules. I find that so beautiful. Everyone has respect for each other. And Japan’s crime rate it one of the lowest in the world.. they go hand in hand.
7. It taught me that you never need a reason to jump in a “sticky pic” photo booth. So KAWAII!
8. …It taught me that everything in Japan is kawaii. No, seriously, cute things everywhere. Everything has a cartoon on it. Including the milk carton from 7/11.
9. My Lancashire accent is/was virtually impossible to understand for the average American 😂 I ended up coming home with a totally different accent after having to refine the way I speak so my friends could understand me. Pros: I now have a very convincing American accent on my list ✔️
10. Chu hi’s. Oh Chu Hi’s are so delicious and so dangerous. A gorgeous sparkling pineapple drink in a on the go can…oh and 8% alcohol. These babes were the start of some hilarious nights out! And even a few summer days down by the sea front! They bring out new flavours every season!
(FYI I highly recommend Oishi Q if you’re ever about in Manchester and want some authentic Japanese food! The only downfall for me is there’s no alcohol on the menu!! ha!)