I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. While I was young, I spent lots of time on the Sunshine Coast, a seaside resort of Vancouverites. Our home on the Sunshine Coast was in a small town surrounded by forests and wild animals. We would often see deer, bears, and raccoons in our backyard. Once in a while, there were even cougars and elk.
Throughout my childhood, I regularly went back to Vancouver for schooling, violin lessons and orchestra practice, as well as for doctor and dentist appointments. So, I have a love of both rural and urban life.
I heard about the JET Programme when I was a child, and I always imagined that I would one day become a JET and teach English in Japan. When I was 16 and 17 years old, I visited Japan two times in a row, for three weeks each. It was at that time that I became determined that I would live in Japan once for at least a year. That was my dream.
When I was 18 years old, I entered the University of British Columbia, and started living in a condo in downtown Vancouver. I double majored in Psychology and Japanese Language and Culture, and then went on to complete my Master’s Degree in the Department of Asian Studies.
For my Master’s degree, my research and thesis focused on the presence of ancient Indian narratives in classical Japanese literature, folktales, and mythology. I looked into the way that ancient Indian stories became integrated into Japanese culture, unearthing the long-standing exchanges that occurred between Japan and India, even thousands of years ago. During that time, I took a three month break to go to Dehradun, India, where I taught Japanese at Doon University. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life.
After completing my Master’s degree, I taught English briefly at a middle school in Ibaraki, Japan. Then, I took a couple years off to work on my research and translations, during which time I published two books.
I began the application process for the JET Programme in 2018, and after almost a year of waiting and telephone calls and interviews, I was finally accepted in the summer of 2019. After accepting the offer, I was informed that I would be stationed in Suginami, Tokyo. I was ecstatic! It was exactly what I had wanted.
So, at long last, I left to Tokyo on August 17. Of course, I left all my packing until last minute, it not yet having set in that I was actually moving to another country for a whole year. I just sort of threw myself into it, not knowing what to expect, but just hoping that whatever came my way, I would somehow be able to handle it. I had no idea what I was in for…