Why I Have Not Been to Japan
Back when I was still stranded in the West side of Jakarta, when I was young and kiddy, and could not imagine ever leaving the island, the first country that I thought I would really want to go to when I could was Japan.
My wish was not exceptional, every other Asian kid I know is fascinated by Japan in one way or another. For us Japan is the land of giant robots, of manga and anime, from Doraemon to Ghibli Studio, of video games and J-Pop, of crazy pop culture. It’s truly the land of magic.
I thought, as soon as I am able to, I’m going to Japan. It’s my first dream, my last dream, my ever ever dream.
But here I am, 25 countries later, and 15 years after I left Indonesia, and I still have not been to Japan!
The fact is I’ve had many near-misses with Japan. I have almost gone there to do Japanese language study (at the end I studied while working Singapore and passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 3 – now N4). I have almost gone for working holiday — I have even printed out the visa application form. I have almost accepted a job offer in Kyoto forgodssake!
But every single time, things changed at the last minute, and my life turned again in the direction I did not foresee.
At this point I’m still wondering when I would get a chance to go there. Next year hopefully? I’ve been saying that for several years though.
But I think I’m really okay with it. Japan and I, we have a long story, from way back, and will go on for a long time in the future I’m sure. It’s not the kind of story that is short, sweet, and finished in a bit. It’s long, enduring, and worth waiting for. Japan will always be there – like a star in my stormy sea, and I will always steer my sail in its direction.
And when it really happens, it would be perfect.