Kassie: Mr. O & Mrs. O
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Japan, etc.
I’m Kassie! I’m from the United States and have been living in Japan for nearly three years. Specifically, I live on a small island called Okinawa. It’s a beautiful sub-tropical island south of mainland Japan that allows for easy travel to all of Southeast Asia.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I, initially, started blogging many moons ago. Most recently, I started blogging about my time in Okinawa for my friends and family to keep up with my adventures. It has grown since the big move and I’m happy to say it’s become a useful resource for those living and moving to Oki.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Probably my birthday post. My friend and I went around the island and did 28 Random acts of kindness for my 28th birthday. It was awesome!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Japan differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Well, life is different here in Japan because I don’t speak Japanese. This makes it difficult to communicate at the grocery store or at restaurants. Nevertheless, I didn’t really have a hard time getting used to our surrounding here. As a matter of fact, I’ve had “reverse culture shock” when I went back to the United States to visit family.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Japan? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think there’s a way to be fully prepared for Okinawa. It’s an island with a very rural vibe. You can drive from one end to the other in just a few hours. I’m happy to report that I’ve never gotten “island fever,” but it is a small place! Learning languages has always been a struggle for me, but looking back, maybe I would have invested in Rosetta Stone.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Ah, man! I know I have some, but I can’t think of them at the moment. I play a lot of charades to get my point across — I’ve even been known to snort like a pig when asking if the meat that I’m about to eat is pork!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Japan?
- Be kind, you’ll get much further in your adventures.
- Download the Hyperdia app, it will navigate for you.
- Travel to other parts of Asia, it’s much cheaper from here!
How is the expat community in Japan? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The community in Okinawa is a unique one. We are all alike and very different at the same time. I love to travel alone, but not many people here do. My best times have been meeting local strangers through my travels.
How would you summarize your expat life in Japan in a single, catchy sentence?
My time spent in Japan is like a strong drink, satisfying and the reason for all my entertaining stories.