“Why did you come to Japan?” I don’t know if I’d written about this before and I just forgot or it’s just the almost-daily repetitions of this question that make me feel so bored of it. I just realized that I didn’t really elaborate on this part when I wrote about how I learned Japanese earlier.

Of course this is a question I get asked all the time. Well, not really all the time, but pretty much every single time I meet someone new. Which, considering I just moved to a new place and started a new life in a whole new environment, feels quite close to “all the time”. And while I have some stock answers prepared suitable for various situations (happens when you get asked the same thing for five years), it all comes down to one thing: there isn’t a reason.

I didn’t come to Japan because I cared so much about Japanese. Hell, when I got the phone call telling me that I got accepted, I hadn’t worked on my Japanese for almost a year – and I think that if that phone call didn’t happen, my relationship with Japan would now be limited to casually watching anime every now and then.

I came to Japan because I got the chance. I found out about the MEXT scholarships and I thought that I’d regret it for a lifetime if I missed that chance. Sure it still wasn’t an easy decision. At the time I applied I was a happy high school senior with top grades, a girlfriend and a vague idea of the future as a programmer or system engineer. What gave me the push then? I asked a friend of mine if I should apply, and she told me I should. So I did.

I don’t regret it.