Bouncing Back

“When I was 17, I had brain surgery for pituitary tumor. Luckily, it was benign. But it affected my day-to-day life. Before, I was very active in sports, like soccer, and was basically a jock, even though I don’t look like it. My memory also got messed up. I don’t remember certain things in my life that I’m sure I could recall prior to the operation. Worse, I would get seizures if I’m in the shower for more than five minutes. These episodes lasted for about five years. Then when I came to Japan at age 26, it started affecting me again because of the cold weather. By then all the seizures were supposed to be gone already. But with all the weather changes from different seasons, my body got confused.

“I come from Guam, a small island that’s a U.S. territory. I was here originally to study but things didn’t work out so I took a gamble and decided to live here anyway. My dad’s Japanese while mom’s Chamorro (native of Guam) and I wanted to see if I can fit in with the other side of my culture.

I started working at an izakaya (Japanese bar restaurant), which was a nightmare. The staff picked on me and the manager would punch me in the stomach whenever I made a mistake.

“I quit after three months. Then I became a contract employee for a haken place (temporary staffing agency), testing software for PCs. It opened my eyes to the harsh reality of non-regular, part-time employment system in Japan. It’s puzzling because all the rules are different. You’re part of the company but you’re not. They don’t really care about you. I did pretty good but the company was downsizing so of course they let us go.

“Today, I finally found a company where I feel at home and more appreciated. They look after me while I look out for them. I’ve also made some really good friends at work. So I’m happy. They’re very supportive and considerate of my health situation. I used to be dispatched to clients for onsite support. But now they give me more back-end, internal assignments. I’m more active giving ideas to management, spearheading projects, and equipping engineers with tools they need because I’ve been an engineer for a long time myself. I know the ins and outs.”_DSC3205.jpg



【翻訳:Tomomi Yuri

Talkin’ Loud

“I’m from Madrid
 and I came to Japan to work as a journalist. My first week was pretty hard. I got depressed. Maybe it was jet lag or not being able to speak the language. At first I was afraid of human interaction, ‘What if they didn’t understand me?’ ‘What if we couldn’t even communicate?’ I was excited about visiting Japan because it’s always been my lifelong dream. So, I didn’t want to get a bad first impression due to my mood. I didn’t want to ruin my first experience of Japan. I had heard from people who lived here before claiming it’s a lonely country. One Spanish girl even packed her bags and went back home because she couldn’t stand the loneliness. So I stayed in my apartment and didn’t go out for the first couple of days.

“But once I got over my fears and started exploring the city, I realized how wrong I was. People are nice, polite, and willing to help even if you don’t understand each other. Plus we share some similarities. Izakaya (Japanese pub) food is a lot like tapas. Spanish people are loud, I’m loud and all my friends are, too. The Japanese speak very loud at restaurants and even shout when ordering. They forget all the social pressures of life while they’re out drinking. They’re more relaxed, which is similar to people in Spain, and that makes me feel at home. Of course, there’s the excessive drinking after a long day at work. Because of this, it’s normal to see drunk people lying on the streets of Tokyo. But people are so used to it, nobody cares anymore. It’s sad to see others pass them by without giving a hand.

“Still, life here is good. I mean I’ve only been in Tokyo for over a month, but already I feel like I could live here for the rest of my life.”


Harajuku’s Cat Street


ここでの生活は好きです。まだ1ヶ月しか日本にいないのに、もう”一生ここで生活してもいいかもしれない”って感じているんです。【翻訳:Loving Life in Tokyo