On the day I left for my new life on the other side of the world I received a card with these words on it together with Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist from my best friend. At the time I had no idea what these words would come to mean to me during my time in Japan.
More than anything I pride myself in my ability to take action (even when I don’t fully understand the consequences), so here I am in Tokyo doing a six-month internship in an industry I have close to no experience in. It still doesn’t feel quite real to me, although I have already been here for a month (close to three actually) and it has been something I have been dreaming of since I came back from my exchange three years ago.
Actually it has been around nine years since my first time in Japan. At the time I couldn’t understand almost anything in Japanese, it was the peak of my awkward teenage years + I felt more at ease with my computer than other people, so the 16-year-old me took quite a step into the unknown by applying for a month-long language exchange in Fukuoka Japan. Thinking back, this might have been one of the biggest turning points in my life; Without this step I would be a completely different person today.
Japan was my wonderland, although I didn’t know almost anything of it. To be honest I had no idea what I was applying for (haha). I think I just needed a new version of myself after being alone and bullied for most of my junior high school years and it seemed like the perfect way to switch over to high school. Thankfully our language class was full of similarly minded people and I happened to meet my best friend during this trip! It was the most exciting month of my life so far and I was left with a longing back to Japan.
After this first contact with the country and the culture, we ended up coming back three times with my best friend in the next three years. Especially the summer of 2012 will always stay in my mind since it was the first time we travelled around Japan by the two of us. That summer I also got admitted to my university in Finland, through which I finally applied for an exchange year in Japan. That year ended up being the best year of my life (so far); I made so many amazing memories and met friends that are going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Going back to Finland after that year I felt like I had gotten another home and another family.
The next three years passed way too fast; I graduated from university, broke up and fell in love again, lost someone important to me and ended up getting my first official job (that I still look back in longing). Thinking back, these years were quite a big change for me. I cried more than needed at this age, but I also made new friends and great memories. I suppose big changes come with big emotions, right?
So last year after all the drama had passed I decided to challenge myself once more and find work in Japan. For me it was the obvious next step, although I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. As usual I didn’t think too much of it. Miraculously enough, on the spring of 2018 everything came together; I applied for this internship in Tokyo through AIESEC, not sure at all if I’d even make it to the interview (On my application I forgot to include my CV and photo, and ended up sending three separate emails…). In the end I ended up getting to the last interview and three days later I got accepted!
At this point a normal person would stay put and wait for the visa, but as I can’t seem to stay put so I decided instead to spend my summer holidays in Japan and surprise my boyfriend by appearing in one of his parties without telling him beforehand. That was all I could think about when getting ready for Japan, but I couldn’t tell almost anyone in order not to spoil the surprise (So nobody knew).
So I bid farewell to all my friends and family, as well as my workplace of two years, and left for Japan at the end of July 2018. And here I am ready for the adventure ahead of me, not quite sure of what I have gotten myself into yet (haha).
But this quote from the Alchemist gave me a lot of courage before my internship:
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
This is a post I wrote at the beginning of August when I arrived in Japan