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  • 執筆者の写真Mutsumi Gustavich

Between Two Worlds: My Recent Journey from Japan to Los Angeles

Hello, everyone!

I recently returned from an impromptu trip to Los Angeles, America.

Unlike a typical tourist visit, this was a personal endeavor where I immersed myself in the daily life of Los Angeles while continuing my work as usual, just in a different location.


Living Like a Local in America

This experience was more wonderful than I had imagined.

Though I've been to the United States before, living there like a local was a first for me.

It made America, which once felt distant, seem much closer to my heart.

However, I'm aware that what I experienced is just a tiny part of the vast American landscape.

My husband is American, and we've spent 12 years together in Japan.

Despite his efforts to adapt to Japanese life, I realize now that I didn't fully understand the American way of life.

This trip gave me a glimpse into the resilience and mindset needed to live in the U.S.—though it's just a tiny insight!


Juggling Time Zones and Work Ethics

One challenge was managing the 17-hour time difference between Los Angeles and Japan.

My days involved spending time in LA and then working with Japan from late afternoon PST until about 1:30 AM.

It was tough to manage sleep but an enlightening experience to realize that it's doable.

I also had the opportunity to engage in discussions with people who have been working in the U.S. for decades.

The work culture and thought processes are distinctively different, especially in terms of technology.

This made me acutely aware of Japan's lag in certain areas and motivated me to learn more.


The Contrasts of Life in Japan and America

Living and working in two countries has taught me about the good and bad in both.

Japan is safe, and the toilets are clean (which always brings a smile to my face).

There’s a sense of job security in Japan; you don't necessarily have to strive continuously to retain your employment.

However, this also means that lively debates and standing out are not the norms.

In contrast, America has its challenges with crime and, let's say, less pristine toilets—missing the comforts of a washlet can be tough!

But life in the U.S. demands constant effort and learning.

This, in turn, fosters an environment where open discussions and showcasing personal achievements and contributions are valued.


Finding Home in People, Not Places

Both Japan and America have their merits and demerits.

Ultimately, I believe that where you should live depends on the people you want to spend your life with.

Whether in Japan or the U.S., having people around whom you wish to work and live makes that place the best for you.

This trip reinforced my belief that life is shaped by the people you meet.

I enjoy being around people, and no matter where I live, those who value me greatly influence my life.

Cherishing relationships, not just with a partner or spouse but with friends and colleagues, is universal.


The Power of Connections

I find Los Angeles more compatible with my personality.

In Japan, I often feel like an outsider, but that doesn't necessarily translate to a desire to move to the U.S.

When I think of living in America, my mind goes to my family and friends in Japan.

There are still many people in Japan with whom I want to share my life, but there are people in America too. This duality is a blessing.

Some of my friends in Japan, despite not speaking Japanese, have quickly made new connections.

It’s not about being innately sociable; it’s about valuing the richness that relationships bring to life.

Every new encounter has the potential to turn into a lifelong friendship.


Living a Rich Life: It's About Who, Not Where

So, it’s not about where you live, but how and with whom you live your life.

Keeping clear on what you want and the kind of people you want to share your life with is crucial.

If you’re not focused, you might miss out on meeting the right people.

When you do meet them, cherish them with all your might, as much as, or even more than, you cherish yourself.

This approach will not only assist you as you navigate new environments and work, but it will also bring immense happiness.

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