FinalIy! I am graduating in language school in Japan!

After one and a half year, finally I am graduating! It has been a crazy ride but it was all worth it. There were ups and downs but as graduation comes closer, I just want to breathe a sigh of relief.

2 years ago when I went to Japan, I risked everything I had back then. A good paying career, an “easy” life and my friends and family. I accepted the fact that I will be alone on this journey. The first 6 months were the hardest for me. I was living on this share house with inconsiderate housemates who do their laundry at 1AM in the morning (my room is beside the laundry area). My then place was 15 minutes away from the station so I need to be walking by 5:40 so I can catch the train at 6-6:15ish and arrive in the bus terminal in Shinagawa by 8AM. I prefer to be early because Japan train schedules in the morning can get unpredictable.

My first work in Japan was with Yamato transport as a luggage sorter. I worked in warehouse because less Japanese is required. The problem with working in warehouse is, it’s an open warehouse. It was winter season and it was so cold. I was standing for 5 hours straight and can’t even have a pee break because everyone is busy. After a month I decided to end my job with them as I was getting sick. My foot started to hurt as well as my lower back. Because of that, I had to go to therapy because I couldn’t walk properly.

My second job was with Motivist Japan. Yes, my school agent decided to hire me as I can communicate in English and they wanted me to handle their English market. My school agent advised me to move from my share house to a decent apartment in Chiba since Motivist is located in Makuhari, Chiba. Chiba is one hour away from Shinjuku. The rent is cheaper compared to Tokyo so basically I will just pay the same rent plus my utilities but I will have my own place.

So by January 2019, I moved to this new prefecture. Registered my address to the city hall and it was one of the best decision I made. I usually work in the morning in the Motivist office but the hours were not enough to cover my expenses so I decided to work in a Tonkatsu-ya in Makuharihongo at night. Working in Tonkatsu-ya opened my eyes to a new perspective in life. I washed dishes, I cleaned toilet, I cleaned tables, served tea and made miso soup. I have never done any of this when I was in Philippines. I know it was a downgrade of what I was doing before but I enjoyed it. It is the reality of life. The staff in Tonkatsu-ya are Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese. I was the first Filipino to work there. But then after two months, I needed to leave. The store wanted me to work in different branches which I cannot do because that would mean carrying my uniform and shoes everyday on top of the books for the school. My back was not yet ready for it so after 2 months, I left. Also, the Vietnamese girl there was pissing me off so it’s better I leave before I lose my patience.

With some luck on my side, I was asked to work at night in Motivist Japan. I was so thankful because that would mean I will be SITTING in a chair in an OFFICE. I don’t need to wash dishes or clean toilets. Fast forward to today, I am still a part time worker in Motivist Japan. We are about to move office to Kaihim Makuhari which is a little far from my place but hey I can take a bus now! I had helped students like me wanting to study in Japan from various countries. Every time I have a student wanting to study in Japan, it always take me back to my humble beginnings.

I had the best teachers in school, though I cannot say the same for my classmates, I learned to zone out the negative and focus on positive instead. I passed my N3 exam and now I am preparing for N2. I can speak in Japanese (though not yet fluent) but I will get there.

Lord, if you read blogs, please know I am very thankful with what you have given me. I know it will get harder from here but I know you and my uncle will be watching over me. I made bad decisions sometimes, but I try to face them and correct them. Please do watch over my health because 1 year and a half of work and study made me a bit weary.

Here are some of my snapshots from 2018 and 2019:

From 17 students, we are down to 10


How is the life in Japan as a student?

Studying in Japan gave me so many lessons in life and I felt even more mature as a person.

First, life is not easy. Yes, I’ve been here so many times. But as the day goes by, the place you once considered beautiful will no longer attract you. I visited Disney Sea again for the second time as part of our filed trip and guess what? I thought the whole trip was boring. I went home around 3PM.

I have never been a store clerk in Philippines but here, I am now on my second job as a store clerk. I am not very good in shouting “irrashaimase” or “arigatou gozaimasu” to customer so I need to put an extra effort to raise my voice.

Japan is a fast paced country and everyone is always tired. You can even feel it inside the train. Part time worker and contractors are paid by the hour so every hour counts. That means working on weekends is normal.

Even if you work 7 days a week, you will feel what you earn is not enough. I pay 40,000 yen monthly for my place and 26,000 yen for my monthly pass. My phone bill is 4,000 yen monthly. This means I need to earn 70,000 monthly to cover for my bills and 20,000 for my food. Working 26 hours a week will give me around 100,000 yen monthly. I only have 10,000 left to pay for other expenses like water or electricity. If I fail to work lets say for just a day, I will be short of money and this is the reality of living here.

I love studying Japanese. Everyday I look forward to learn. However there are days that I feel like I am not improving at all. Maybe I am overthinking or maybe I have high expectation set to myself.

Is it worth it? It’s a solid yes. I met new friends. I gained some and lose some. I now know who will stay with me even if I am on the lowest of the low. I learned to let go of some things I used to have and adjust to what I can afford. I find ways to earn extra income, compare store prices utilise phone apps to get discounts. I am more cautious now on where to spend my money.

Will I still do it over again if I can turn back the time? Absolutely. I know I am on the right track. I just need to maintain my composure and passion. I need to remind myself that this time I am not here to travel but to master the language. If I succeed in doing that, more opportunities will open. May God guide me on the right track.