It’s been real. It really has. I enjoyed the roller coaster of emotions we went through together and your shaping me into a better person. Thank you for introducing wonderful friends who molded me into the semi-decent human I am now. Meeting them taught me about different cultures, points of view, and opened my horizons. I’ve learned about myself, the world around me, and I can do anything even with a language barrier. Thank you for allowing me to travel all over and learn how beautiful and unique you are. The world is still my oyster and I know how to live in it much easier. But Japan, we need to talk…
We have to break up.
I’m not talking about forever. We just need to go our separate ways for a while. You gave me the privilege to teach and educate your young generation. Thanks to them, I have high hopes for the future and I see a brighter Japan taking hold in a few years. Japan, you will always be the country I fell in love with because of your quirky nature and interesting way of doing things. I will continue to admire you from a distance. After all, you, above all, were my first love. There’s just some things I won’t miss about you like…
I really, really, really dislike a lot of Japanese food and in particular Okinawan food. Okinawa’s food has a lot of strong flavors like goya and ginger. The food on Okinawa is too oily, too much meat, and there’s not enough vegetables. It’s enough to leave me in Jack Sparrow’s rendition of, “Why are the vegetables gone?”
Not being able to take pictures at concerts
If you want to boil my potatoes, this is the way to do it. I can’t take pictures at concerts, really? I paid a lot of money to see my favorite artist and I want pictures to remember the concert by! Getting sword arms telling you not to is enough to make anyone’s eyes roll. Good luck on promotions, buddy! Social media is the easiest and cheapest way of promotion.
Dating sucks here. There. I said it. Okinawa is and forever will be remembered as a dating wasteland for me. You think it would be easy to meet people, but it’s not. Dating is exhausting anywhere and I just can’t even here. Tinder is not magic and people are constantly coming on and off the island. Everyone has an expiration date, including myself. Dating Military on Okinawa, I learned that a lot of guys want a tour guide or they start to fetishize Japanese girls. I’ve had Japanese guys lie to me about their girlfriends and spouses and guys ask me out for free English lessons. My experience was terrible, but I know other girls that have had great experiences dating. I’m just one person, and I’m sure not everyone feels the same way I do.
Being called too fat, too tall, too dark
I’ve written about this before in Cultural Fatigue in Japan. I’ve talked to others about this and I know I’m not the only one who has had a plummeting self-esteem. Even the most beautiful women have body issues including Texan in Tokyo who has a fit body type, has broken down because she couldn’t fit into jeans. I feel you, girl. Jeans in Japan weren’t made for girls with any sign of a nice butt. I won’t miss people telling me to cover up with UV sleeves or commenting on how “burnt” I am. (Since there is no word for tan in Japanese. You’re just “burnt” if you have tan or actual sunburnt skin.)
The weather in Okinawa is awesome to look at, but not to survive. Sometimes we have humidity up to 99%, bringing the heat index up, and it’s not even raining. I’ve had the worst skin of my life living here. Every day is a constant struggle to keep my pores clean and the oil from my face. The only thing that ever seems to help is a cool dip in the sea and the sun afterwards. Even people with good skin have problems and it’s enough to take away your self-confidence with breakouts and pimples in strange places.
I’ve been to a few countries (Hong Kong and Mexico to name a couple) and I have to hand it to the Okinawans. They are the WORST drivers on the planet. Like the island life, the driving is slow, the speed limits are slow, and the Kei trucks are slow when trying to pick up speed again. If you like driving slow, good for you, but I do not. No one seems to be in a rush here. From driving here, I always have to be on the defensive because people stop for no reason, fail to put on their turn signals, or drive between lanes. The military has been notorious for driving drunk, hitting people and getting into numerous accidents. In addition, Okinawa has the highest record of drunk driving in Japan. Can someone please explain to me why everyone in Japan backs up into their spaces? It seriously takes forever. I gotta hand it to the Okinawans, they take the cake over the Mexicans.
I’m sorry, Japan. We have to part ways. Your ways don’t match with mine. Thanks for being there for me when I needed it the most in 2012.