It's no secret to some that my wife and I, along with Faye of course, will be leaving Japan to relocate to Hawaii. While it is something that Ai and I have been talking about for the last year, we weren't expecting things to move so quickly. There are a number of challenges that will make this a long and difficult process, but the first step is underway and goes into effect mid-April.
I'm not originally from Hawaii. We chose to go there because of its physical location (a compromise for both our families), because of the degree of Japanese culture available, because of the weather, and because, ultimately, that's where I hoped to retire (like millions of others, I'm sure). I'm not retiring. It's a new start for all of us.
I've spent the last 10 years in Japan and there are things that I will definitely miss: the convenience, being close to my wife's family, my friends, and the simple novelty of living somewhere so different from where I grew up. When asked, I always said I wanted to stay in Japan forever, or at least as long as I could, work allowing. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the options for work ran dry. I could no longer work for Interac in good conscience, which was truly unfortunate since, for where I lived, I was giving up what was potentially the best salary I would be able to find. In Japan ex-pat English teachers can teach, of course, can possibly get into a management position with a company supplying English teachers as I did, can get lucky and find a position with a private school, can go into the sometimes questionable field of head hunting, or can get extremely lucky finding something that they really want to do versus something that they have to do. ALT positions are abundant, but they don't pay enough and I don't have confidence that gyoumu itaku will last much longer. When gyoumu itaku dies, so does that abundance. The fact that all positions are located in Tokyo, the pace, and the slightly amoral nature of headhunting are unappealing. I'm selfish in that I would like to spend a little time with my daughter every day, something the Interac Yokohama Branch Manager couldn't acccept or would't believe.
Here are reasons 2 and 3 for a permanent change of scenery--just two examples, really.
I won't overstate the issue of turning 40 this year, but as the main support for my family, I thought it was time to go home, to be able to exploit my native language, and use the skills I've acquired while away.
Wish me/us luck!