Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Japan?

Life is crazy. It's been about a year since I decided to come to Japan. And I'm not sure which part is crazier; it's already been a year or that just a over a year ago, I wasn't quite sure if I wanted make the leap across the little pond they call the Pacific.

The question I get asked the most that still intrigues me the most is, "Why did you come to Japan?" It's a question I was asked before I came to Japan last April. A few months ago one of my sixth graders who had never talked to me asked me this question in perfect english after she aced the annual English test. Before I left Oklahoma, I'll never forget the 11 year old neighborhood native Okie boy who asked where I was leaving to, I told him Japan, and he confidently and abruptly proclaimed, "That's about the craziest thing I've ever heard." I think I laughed. I wasn't sure whether I should agree or feel sorry for the kid. A couple of weeks ago, a cousin asked me why I came to Japan and I thought it would be interesting to reflect upon and compelling for friends and family to read. Hope you're compelled :)

I heard about the opportunity in December, fifteen months ago. Japan seemed cool. The Nagano olympics put it on the map for me as a child and I love animation, so, I decided to come!!

...Okay, not exactly.

There were various people in my life who had come to this same program before (including my cousins, Shawn and Rachel Phelps) so I knew it was a good program.

I think the biggest reason I came was because of the always fair, yet sometimes painful devil's advocate voice whispering "why not??"

I knew, if I so desired, I could have my American, Oklahoma life back the following year (at that point I was working a fun job at a specialty running store and interning as a bond analyst). I also knew, I likely would not have this opportunity again. It seemed like a good opportunity to explore the world while also working a job, allowing me to save money for a year.

I also had this dream of running in the mountainous, radiant beauty of Japan. And in general, exploring the outdoors of a foreign and distant land seemed fascinating.

I thought it might be a tough year, but I couldn't imagine it would be something I'd regret when I was old. And in fact, many older, wiser people were happy for me as I decided to make this leap. Their encouragement, maybe your encouragement, certainly strengthened me.

It was incredibly difficult leaving some amazing friends and family (and many of those feelings still remain), but I thought it was interesting, when I realized none of my friends or family, were placed in the situation I was to be able to take up this opportunity. Reflecting back makes me wonder about events not working out which really disappointed me, and in some cases almost devastated me. Those things not working out set up the table to be able to come to Japan. It's fascinating where our stories take us. Many of you probably know my adoration for Donald Miller, and his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand years, made me think about living an exciting story with purpose. I knew Japan could fill that desire.

Japan was an adventure calling my name; To turn it down without a really good reason, would have been to take the safe route, something I have tended to do too much. Maybe it was crazy, maybe it was faith, maybe it was some of both.

If you've had a similar event or decision to make, let me know about it!