At the time of writing, I found myself on the top of a small hill on the Japanese island of Tsushima.
Even though it’s a not such a high hill, from it you can see pretty much the whole island. I can see the only school on the island with some children playing football, I can see the ships coming and going, probably on the way to Korea, some other hills and a few roads with almost no cars and no traffic.
It’s a very quiet island indeed, I’ve only seen a handful of people in the last few hours.
And I remember it was in 2010, the last time I was in Japan, since then I had forgotten all those conflicting feelings and what being in Japan represents for me.
All my life I’ve felt lonely, that’s nothing special I guess, everyone feels lonely, but for me Japan represents my true nature, the one I can’t escape from, the one buried deep in my mind and the one that makes me understand, that it’s just me, there’s no one else.
Before I came to Japan for the first time, I had spent the last 10 years preparing for that moment and had probably spent more time into Japanese stuff, manga, anime, video games, music, books, etc, that I had spent at school or with friends. So in my mid 20’s I knew more about Japanese culture, art, and history that I knew about any other country.
All my life I felt like Japan was calling me, it was drawing me, but for some reason I didnt make it there until recently, mostly because I was afraid. I was afraid that it would be expensive, that I wont be able to find a job, I thought maybe my japanese wasn’t good enough, afraid of the discrimination foreigners face here but mostly I was afraid of what I could find here, something I knew it existed, I knew it was here waiting for me, but I didn’t quite understand yet.
I was afraid of my true nature and to understand that it was the end, that that was it, Japan was the end of my journey, the place where everything would make sense for me.
All together I spent only 6 months in Japan, but it sure felt like 6 years. And pretty much every day during those 6 months, the country reminded me in countless ways, that
I’m on my own.
Wouldn’t say I found what I was looking for here, but I sure found what i was meant to find, the last piece of the puzzle that would help put everything together, so that I can move on.
Japan taught me that solitude doesn’t mean not having love, friends or family around you, it’s something deeper. You can feel it in the air, on the trees, on people’s faces, on the buildings, it’s everywhere, you can’t escape it and everyone there knows it.
It’s not a coincidence that Japan has by far higher suicide rates than any other country.
It’s not about the stress in the working life or the pressure and competition everyone’s exposed to, it’s not about having to support your family and live up to whatever crazy expectations they have, it’s not about people being shy or afraid relationships.
Death is in the air and you can feel it the second you set foot in Japan.
And even though, while being in Japan I’m in touch with my true self, my true nature. I understand why I exist this universe, I can understand and accept my destiny, I’m actually quite happy to know, that I’ll be out of here soon.