Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying. It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though! But after a couple of months of being back in England […]
Back to England!
It’s been 9 years, 3 months and 19 days since I landed in Tokyo, a little bleary-eyed but eager to see what the Land of the Rising Sun would hold for me. The plan was to stay here a couple of years and then go back to England and start a career in my real passion: IT. As we all know, life rarely goes to plan and it’s taken me almost a decade of amazing experiences and life in Japan before I’ve felt ready to return to the UK. But that’s exactly what I’ll be doing at the start of 2014.
After a difficult year teaching in the Maldives in 2003, things turned around and I was lucky enough to teach at one of the best high schools in Okinawa. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that throughout the 5 years I was working there I never had a bad day at work. Weekends were things that gave me a little chance to dive before going back into school, full of energy the following Monday morning. The principal with a strong idea of where he wanted the school to go, and the staff worked hard to get there. Combined with some of the most diligent and hard-working students you could come across (many of whom are now experiencing success in life and work throughout Japan and beyond), it created a recipe for success.
Since then I’ve taught at a kindergarten and junior high school, worked as a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, and a copy editor for an Okinawan website and magazine. But over the past couple of years I’ve been thinking about a return to England, and have been studying a lot to get a foothold in the IT industry. Cisco, CompTIA and Microsoft exams have been taken and certifications obtained, as well as taking work on and watching online webinars throughout the night whenever I could in order to expand my skillset and experience. And then I heard that in early November, following a series of interviews, I’d was offered a dream position working in cybersecurity for a multinational business services company.
But a start early in 2014 means that I’ve now got around 7 weeks to tie up all my loose ends (I didn’t even know any of them were loose a couple of weeks ago!), and get set up for life back in the north of England. There’s a huge amount to do, on both sides of the world, and since I got the news I’ve been running on little sleep; I’m going by the mentality that I can sleep on the plane in late December! Things to sell, things to buy, people to say goodbye to, workplaces to leave etc. It’s a lot to do and a lot to think about. It’s going to be a big change and very challenging, especially in the first couple of months, but I’ve got one chance to make a success of this, and there’s no question that’s what I’m going to do. Whatever it takes.
So Big in Japan is going to relocate somewhat, but the site and name will stay the same and my fondness for the country (despite my constant cynicism about things) will remain. I’ve been here almost a third of my life, and right now Okinawa is almost entirely my life.
I’ll write more if I have time over the next month about the things I’ll miss in Okinawa, and of course some of the things I might not miss so much. For now, thanks as always for reading.