“I wasted half my life trying to make other people happy. My family and relatives were totally against me moving to Japan. My stepdad is from the Caribbean and the traditional culture there is you’re not supposed to go against what your parents said. But I didn’t really want to study Spanish or something else in college. And I couldn’t tell my parents because of my upbringing. So I taught myself Japanese, instead. I’d even bring a memo pad to bookstores and copy phrases from books I couldn’t afford. I also made a deal with my parents. I got them to pay for my trip to Japan and either China or Taiwan if I got into law school, which I did. Then when I came to Japan, I realized being an attorney wasn’t for me. I ended up dropping out of law school and pursuing other things while working tech support jobs. The money I saved I used for trips to Japan. Then I finally gave it a shot and moved to Japan. I taught English here for several years and got used to living in Japan so when I tried to move back to Los Angeles, it didn’t work out. Things had changed too much in LA for me. Right now I work as an English teacher in Japan but I see the writing on the wall—this industry is slowly dying. Salaries are going down. No matter how good you are, it’s hard to stay working for the same place long term. So now I’m trying to retool and plan for what I’m going to do next. I taught myself Chinese and have been going to Taiwan a lot lately. I think we should all focus on what drives us, what gives us energy, or what feeds our soul.”

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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