by Joseph Bonney
Since a young age I was always interested in Japanese culture, even before I knew what Japan was. I played their video games and watched their animes: Mario, Final Fantasy, and One Piece to Studio Ghibli films like Howe's Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke, Bayonetta, and other fascinating pieces of work. With the crazy technology that I would see on TV, tied in with the amazing sushi, ramen, and taki I consumed, I wanted to explore more.
Like the nerd I was (am?) I ditched Spanish and took 3 years of Japanese in high school and then 2 more in college for my degree. After college though I had nothing to do. I applied to probably almost a hundred jobs, but nothing took form. So I settled at a factory job while pursuing other creative endeavors on the side like art and writing. It wasn't till a friend of mine brought up the idea of teaching abroad that I said “fuck it" while moving random items at the factory.
After months of searching and applying I got a teaching job! Something I wouldn't take up in the U.S., but it seems more enticing because I will live in the land I've always wanted to visit (along with better pay from my current working situation).
As to what I hope to gain in Japan. I really don't know. Teaching doesn't feel like a long term goal for me, but I intend to sell art, explore the Japanese hip-hop scene, and write (And hopefully find a gym in the process…). Maybe even stay in the country a couple years.
Either way that's a long time from now and I'm just excited to have this opportunity, stay tuned for updates on my journey to Japan!
Joseph Bonney is a contributing writer to Human Influence. Originally from Central Texas, he now lives in Japan where he teaches English.