Shinjuku Stories -- Episode 1

I've wanted to do an interview based segment on my blog for a long time, but I got hit with inspiration recently to interview fellow international students regarding their perspective on Japan, their struggles, what life is like for them here, etc. This is episode 1 of what I hope will be a long series.

I think with interviews it's harder to convey the person's emotions with just their words, because delivery is so important. That being said, I tried my best to capture her spirit while transcribing. I hope you enjoy this post, and hopefully more of them will come popping up soon on my blog.
For some background on this particular story, and as a trigger warning of sorts, I'd like to state that the interviewee recently lost a parent, and that this is discussed during the interview.

What's one piece of advice you want to give to other people? 

I would say to not care about other people's personal problems....don't try to touch other people's secrets.

Because in China there are so many people who do this. For example, if a person doesn't get married, you don't need to ask them why. Don't be so curious. If your friend breaks up with their boyfriend you shouldn't ask them why.  If she wants to tell you then she will let you know.  I feel like, in China, people ask me a lot about my personal problems but I don't say anything because I don't want to say anything, and that's not really acceptable there.

What is your biggest struggle right now?

I think I'm kind of special. Not everyone has had this kind of experience like me. Before my mom left me, my biggest struggle was between doing things I really like or finding a practical job like translation. Basically: should I do a job that I like to do or one that I already have the capability to do? But now I've decided that I have to do whatever makes me happy. I'm no longer afraid of anything.

So now that I know that, my biggest struggle is that I'm kind of afraid to go back to my hometown. When I talk to my family members they hear my voice and they think of my mother so just hearing me is heartbreaking for them. That's why I don't want to go back. I feel like I have to stay in a place where no one knows me or my background. That's how I live right now so it's kind of lonely.

Do you feel like you want to stay in Japan or that you have to stay in Japan? 

I would say about 60% is that I want to stay in Japan but the rest is that I feel that I have to.  I would like to stay in a place where I can learn new things so I definitely don't think I should stay in China at this point. I don't think I can ever live in China like I did before. In China people ask about your family a lot and I really don't want to be asked.

How did your mothers passing affect you, being so far away and living on your own? 

I think the most heartbreaking part is... not that moments that you lose. It's the moments that come after. The moments when you realize you've really lost them. I don't know how to deal with these feelings... maybe that's why write stuff down and sometimes just cry.

Is your journal a part of that?

Yes, exactly. Because you have to talk to yourself. I always talk with my mom in my heart because I know what she would say to me and I always feel like she's just there with me so I don't feel afraid at all.

What's your plan for the future?

I'm just going to live a very happy life and I'm not going to let other people hurt me. I will be as kind of my mom but I will not be as pure. My mom got hurt too easily... I will be very careful about the people I surround myself with.

But at the same time, I'll try to be kind and be grateful for the world because that's what my mom taught me. But I just want to live a happy life, just like she'd want me to.


  1. This is really kind of heartbreaking to read, but beautiful at the same time. Thank you for sharing her story. Stories like this need to be told.

    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed this piece

  2. How interesting! I'd love to see more artwork xx.

  3. What a story. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. That’s so true and honest and beautiful. Thanks for sharing x

  5. My heart goes out to you. I think you have a great outlook on life though. Happiness in your job is one of the keys to having a fulfilling life.


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