Osaka to Tokyo
of a French girl when she traveled to Japan......By Pierre
my father declared that we were moving to Osaka, my heart sank.
Honestly, other than the fact that I had read a chapter on Japan
during High School, I knew nothing about Osaka or
If someone were to throw a map of Japan at me, I would not be able
to locate Osaka, or for that matter, any other Japanese city.
Will I just leave everything behind and go to a place at the other
end of the world, just because my father was going to manage his company's
new lipstick product line for Japanese
My parents spent a great deal of time sitting down with us and
explaining to us what it meant for his career and how we could still have
French and English-speaking friends.
We will not have to learn Japanese
language, he said, and, if we
did not want to eat Japanese
food, we could have all the western food that
a couple of weeks, it was clearly apparent that whether we liked it or
not, my brother and I will
be on a plane to Osaka, and leave everything
behind, at least till all the Japanese women would start using my father's
employer’s lipstick every moment of their waking life.
In fact, as I boarded the crowded plane in
Paris, I was the only
non-Japanese woman on the plane. I
was already hearing the language that I did not understand and it seemed
that this was not an Air France plane in Paris but some domestic flight in
Japan. I tried to calm myself
and buried myself in my book. When I woke up, I was in Japan.
Mother had already fixed herself and she looked so excited even
though I was still feeling sleepy,
depressed, and uncomfortable.
tried to smile as I looked outside the taxi window.
While I was shocked to see rather plain, or even ugly looking
houses, narrow streets, and buildings almost everywhere, I realized that
within hours, my life had been transformed and I was going to be here for
a while, whether I liked it or not. I
have felt like that in the past while watching movies when I almost felt I
was a character in the movies. But
this was real. I was
breathing Japanese air already. I
did not know what to expect once we arrived at our new 'home'. All I
knew was that we would be living outside of Osaka – actually on the
outskirts, closer to the historic city of Kyoto.
met almost every expatriate in the area within two weeks of our arrival
and very soon I was learning little tricks about living in Japan from
those who had been there for varied lengths of time. What surprised me was that I was the only one with a cynical
attitude. Even people my age
gaga over everything Japan.
Almost all of them were taking Japanese
language lessons and talked about
how cool it was to eat ramen and make a slurping noise, or to play
baseball with Japanese players without understanding what they were
20 is so hard! While I was no
longer a teen, I wasn't really an adult either since I had led a rather
protected life. Being the
only daughter of rich (and conservative) parents, I had very little
freedom. While in Paris, I
would have simply found an excuse to move to a dormitory, it seemed that I
was now stuck with my parents for a while.
Other expatriates had told them that Japan was an absolutely safe
country and it was perfectly fine for anyone to be out late at night. So I had to stay with my parents but I could still party
Continued on next
How to introduce my Japanese boyfriend to my parents