Today is our 1 Year Anniversary of moving to the remote island of Ikijima. (More on Why Iki here →)
We have enjoyed clear blue water, white sand beaches, stunning sunrises, windy days, typhoons, unexpected snow, cancelled flights and boats, new friends, tough days at Japanese school, trips to the mainland, and much more.
Living in the countryside of Japan was a first for both me and my wife. I actually think she had more of a culture shock than I — she is a big city girl while I grew up in a small town. There are some things about rural life that are universal. It is almost as if the cultural distance between urban and rural life in Japan is further than rural life between Japan and Canada. Maybe I am taking it too far.
One of the major reasons we came here was to give our kids the opportunity to connect them more to their Japanese heritage. They certainly got that, and we were able to foster better connections with us as well.
Going to Japanese elementary has been transformative for my kids. My wife gets teary-eyed thinking about how the kids will now sing a song they learned at school and she can just join in! This is not an experience she thought she could ever have while raising the kids in Canada. I too have been able to make a nostalgic generational connection with my kids. Out here in the country they are able to experience a taste of my small town childhood experience: randomly running out of the house, looking for any friends to play with, diving into the bush to catch bugs and whack things with sticks, all without having a parent helicoptering over them or formally scheduling “play dates.” Very different to city life in Canada or Japan.
It is delightfully surprising to think that moving to a remote island in the Tsushima Strait could satisfy the parental sentimentality of both parents in an international marriage.
Despite all the terribleness of the past year <gestures at everything> it has been a good one for us.