As I boarded the plane, I felt the most serious sense of trepidation that I’ve ever felt in my life. Never had I ever made such a leap into the (relatively) unknown and if I’m going to be honest… it terrified me.
Yes, I may have stayed in Japan for a month last year, but here was a potential of 17 months abroad stretched out in front me. 17 months where I would have to prove myself capable of living up to the standards others had set for me. 17 months away from home, friends, and most importantly, family.
If I said that that trepidation magically dissolved over the first few days, I’d be lying.
My jetlag was horrendous, I felt too ill to eat anything substantial, and I’d have my work training for 7 hours a day. While Tokyo does have some similarities with Fukuoka, everything seemed so big and intimidating at first. After living in a small English town for most of my life, I’m not used to tall skyscrapers, crowded streets, and huge national landmarks.
Even though I left my expectations open, Tokyo still found ways to surprise me. Where else would you find a British pub with a rollercoaster on the top? The safety blanket of familiarity had definitely been ripped out from underneath me.
But despite the last week being one of the most intense seven days of my entire life, it hasn’t all been scary.
Yeah, I contended with the Tokyo metro during rush hour, all alone on my first day. But no, I didn’t get lost or turn up late.
Yeah, I could’ve felt lonely, but I’ve met some awesome people so far.
And yeah, everything may seem stupidly overwhelming at the moment, but it’s still the first few weeks and nothing is going to settle that quickly. I’ve powered through so far, and I’ll do it next week too.
And the next week.
And the next one after that.