Written by: Valerie Taylor (me!)
(This is the English version. For the Japanese version, please click here:≪日本語≫
It’s been a while!
When you hear “travel,” what comes to mind? Where do you think of? Without a doubt, for me, “travel” means “Japan.” But right now, there’s a huge distance between me and that land.
When I lived in Tokyo (up until a few days ago), I gathered amazing memories, and so right now my heart and soul are still in Japan. I’m sure there’s people who are thinking, “So why come back to America?” I’ll explain.
The Visa Problem
I got into Japan multiple times on a student visa. In 2011, I was awarded the study abroad visa and for about a year and half I studied in Shinjuku with it. Then in 2015, although it was a short time, I was allowed to use that visa again—though I opted not to. At that time, Immigration told me that student visa was still usable.
But when I decided to use it again, I was told that within 1 year (February 2017), I would need to renew or change it. However, on a student visa I couldn’t find financial stability, and so I sought out a work visa. I don’t have a Bachelors yet, and I don’t have 2 years of performance experience. Getting a work visa is difficult in this case.
More than difficult, it’s impossible. Immigration would have nothing about it. No matter what I tried, the answer was, “Go back to America and try again.”
With much deliberation, I decided that belaboring the parting wasn’t smart.
But There Was Time!
If you think that, it’s actually the opposite. February 2017 is indeed written on my registration card, but take a moment and remember that the application for renewal and changes begin around 4 months prior. In reality, no matter what I’d do, I wouldn’t be able to do anything.
So I’ll get my Bachelors. I’ll keep dancing.
Besides, I’ve made the promise to go back to Japan in December. Afterwards, in 2017, I’ll be moving back again. I can finish my Bachelors in about 6-9 months, so I can still broaden and accomplish my dreams.
Before Returning to America
I thought I’d create some awesome memories. That way, I could board the plane smiling and meet my parents smiling. Somehow, I did just that. But now, I’m lonely.
I am not happy in America. Nor am I comfortable. I look at my photos of Japan every damned day.
I had a party with Y-de-One. Every day—every single day—I wake up and think, “I want to see them.” Are they well? What kind of performances are they appearing in? What choreography am I missing out on?
I experienced ninja training. Also, I saw a festival at Sky Tree. In America, ninjas are limited to TV shows like “Ninja Warrior” and “Naruto.” When searching for a decent dojo, I’ve yet to find any. Ah, I want to continue studying with the Musashi Ninja Clan.
And I want to keep taking classes at the Ninja Club Shinjuku Gym.
I even did some sightseeing in Chiba city. It’s really quiet but not all that interesting. The castle was cool, and the architecture is just wonderful (for a nerd like me).
My body made it back to America safe, but my heart and soul aren’t well. I’m happy to see family, but there’s friends and family waiting for me in Japan.
I look at the calendar and sadly think, “God, it’s so long.” December, next year… no matter you look at it, it’s not really that short of a time.