My name is Gina I’ve been infatuated with the Land of the Rising Sun since I was young. After graduation from uni, I was accepted as an English teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. My feet were itchy left no second thoughts as I jumped on a plane and never looked back. The end! Just kidding. All stories have a beginning.
So Where did the story start?
Well, I’m glad you asked. To be frank, I’ve been on a plane more times than I can count. I spent the summers of my early youth in Mexico hiking La Baranca in Guadalajara and watching Dragon Ball Zeta and with my male cousins. They’re most likely the reason my favorite Spanish words are puto and pendejo, but I digress.
One particular summer, I was trolling the internet when it was actually becoming a thing, (yes, I’m dating myself here) and I saw a recommendation for a book about Nihon. Whoever said books weren’t dangerous lied because I fell irrevocably in love with a country 7,000 miles away from the Windy City.
Now that I ponder it, I was always a third culture kid brought up in the United States. My mom was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico, my grandparents were from Italy, and every colorful word I learned in Spanish and Italian was thanks to the influences around me. 😉
Alas, the beginning of my expat journey started on a small island, 300 miles off the coast of mainland Japan once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Although not mainland Japan, I had the opportunity to travel around the Land of the Rising Sun and dive headlong into the world I desperately wanted to be a part of for so long.
Before I knew it, my three year staycation in paradise passed in a blink of an eye, and destiny lead my heart to the Land of the Morning Calm where I now reside.
Why did I leave Okinawa? You know when you just see that one place and you’re like, “OH YAAAAHSSSSS!” That’s what Korea was like for me. It clicked. It made sense. It was an addiction and I wanted more. The mountainous terrain, the food,
the hot and well dressed guys and the culture mesmerized me to the point of drooling. The travel bug bite got bigger and I hopped the pond to start another adventure.
Is this story over? No way, it’s only just begun. Cue cliche music.
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