December 15, 2016
By some fluke, it has been exactly one year since we announced we’re moving to Japan. We honestly didn’t plan to publish this kind of video on this date, but it seems befitting. We announced our decision then, and we’re talking more about it now.
It’s been a year since that video and I think a year has been a good amount of time for us to think things over. We thought about it for a long time before announcing that video, and we’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on our lives since. And from every angle we look at it, the answer is the same: this has been the greatest year of our lives.
Saying that, though, is kind of scary for us. Very scary. I don’t know if we’ve been clear about this, but some of you might glean that we’re really uncomfortable with the anger we get from Korean netizens. Any discussion we have about both countries hits a sore spot for nationalists. Yes, we know Korea and Japan have a bad history with each other, as we’re constantly reminded. But the fact is, we don’t share that history. We’re not Korean. We’re not Japanese. We don’t have a dog in this race. We just lived in Korea, and now we live in Japan, and we want to be able to talk about our lives retrospectively sometimes, and to see how we’ve grown.
I honestly think that our time in Japan has been so great specifically because of the troubles we had in Korea. When we tell our friends here the things that make us happy about Japan they look at us weird. And I think if we came to Japan without the context of Korea, we would take a lot of the things we love about Japan for granted. I mean, we grew up in the suburbs of Canada: our neighbourhoods were always quiet. We wouldn’t give a shit about that if we moved to Kichijoji straight from Pickering. But after losing so many hours of sleep in the screams of Seoul, coming to the peaceful nights we have here means a lot more to us than it would have otherwise. Our time in Korea has helped us love our time in Japan more.
I was in the car with one of our Japanese friends recently. We were waiting to turn left. There was a car in front of him that had many MANY opportunities to make the turn, but he didn’t take it. We waited until the driver ahead of us went, and then took our turn when it came up. My friend apologized for being such an angry driver afterwards. For doing what, I don’t know. I actually laughed. He didn’t even honk his horn! He just sighed as far as I can remember. If this was Korea he would have leaned on his horn, and driven around the guy through oncoming traffic and endangered us all. I didn’t feel at all in danger driving with him, or with anybody I’ve ever driven with in Japan.
I’m expecting to read in the comments “but please understand our situation” from people upset with our verdict, but I’m not trying to be a historian or anthropologist here. This isn’t a discussion about the rich histories of both countries. This is a simple video: I lived in both countries, and living in this one is better for me, and holy shit I’m so worried about saying that but hell I should be able to say that. I’m not telling everyone that Korea is hell, which many Korean people are saying themselves. I’m just saying that, by the end of my time in Korea, it wasn’t for me.
This feels almost like breaking up with a boyfriend. We had good times, I know that. But by the end of the relationship I was starting to see sides of you that I didn’t want to experience. It was time for me to move on to my life. Time for us to see other people. I’m sure you’ll find someone that can love you more than I did, and I wish you health and happiness, but I need someone different in my life. And I’m seeing someone new, actually. His name is Japan. We have a great relationship together. And I couldn’t be as happy as I am now if it wasn’t for what I learned with you.
I hope that you, the reader, can also feel comfortable in knowing when it’s time to move on. If you’re dating someone who abuses you, or if you’re at a job that treats you like shit, you have all the right in the world to find a new partner, to look for a new job. And if you’re in a country that makes you uncomfortable, you have all the right to try to move somewhere else. You should be able to express that you feel your country isn’t treating you how you want to be treated. For those of you unhappy with the results of an election, if you feel like you’re jeopardizing your wellbeing staying where you are, if you’ve fallen out of love with your country, find a new love. It’s your life. Please live it how you want to.
And now it’s time for me to unwind with a bottle of wine. Hopefully my ex won’t blow up my phone with angry texts.