“I got really sick last summer. I had bronchitis, a lung infection, and stomach flu. The whole ordeal, which lasted four months of anxiety and nonstop coughing, was terrible. They did lots of blood tests on me. They also did ECG tests to make sure I didn’t have heart problems, which is something you don’t tell a hypochondriac such as myself. I can’t be on the internet, googling sicknesses, let alone be told I might undergo heart surgery. What if I die? I called my mom who said get off the internet and stop worrying. But what else can you do when you’re all alone in a foreign country?

“Good thing I found a good clinic and I’m much better now. Although it wasn’t easy. It’s like trial and error. One clinic’s website said their staff speak English. But then the doctor was using Google translate and didn’t seem to really care. This experience made me rethink my priorities in life. I was in graphic design before coming to Japan. But I’ve set aside my professional goals in order to live in Japan. I became an English teacher because it was the easiest job I could find as a foreigner. And now I’m so busy in this line of work to pursue my other dreams.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all my wonderful experiences in Japan. But here, you’re just by yourself. You can’t afford to get sick because you won’t be able to go to work and make money (at least in my case). And my health insurance in Canada is no longer valid since I’ve been away for too long, and you need to stay there for at least six months to get it back. I haven’t told anyone yet, but maybe it’s time to head back to Quebec. I’m thinking of going back to school to study nutrition so I can help other people.”

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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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