I am 100 per cent Japanese – I’ve lived my whole life in Osaka. I was born there, worked as an artist there, and in other hospitality jobs. Some friends moved to Japan from other countries, and I loved speaking English with them. I’m also really interested in the art culture in other places, so I decided I wanted to live somewhere else.
I met some people from Melbourne in Osaka. I also searched the internet for artists I liked, and many of them lived in Melbourne, too. I thought, I should go there! I’d never been to Australia before. I was so nervous, because I’d never lived anywhere except with my family.
When I moved here nearly two years ago, the biggest hurdle was the language.
It’s hard to understand the Australian accent – in Japan, we learn with an American accent. I was very confused at first. My friend here introduced her friends to me, and I was so lucky, because I found a sharehouse in just five days. I was worried I couldn’t live with other people, but it was so nice, because I got lots of information from my flatmates, and they were really kind and funny.
I found a job at a local café. It was hard to communicate, but I’d worked in hospitality before, so I knew what to do. My co-workers asked about Japanese culture; they were very kind. I taught them some Japanese and practised my English, so we had an exchange. For me, food was the most foreign thing. Japanese food here is so expensive! I’m really interested in vegan and vegetarian cooking – it’s hard to find in Japan, because people eat everything.
I was most excited about starting from scratch as an artist in another country. In Japan, I was doing work by myself; Japanese people like to be alone. Here, I collaborated with my friend – it’s a new way to work for me. It’s more relaxed and easier to communicate. Many people understood my work, I was surprised.
I’m proud of my life here. I have lots of good memories, like going to the river to swim and feeling part of nature. I’m a student now, studying business and marketing. I got more confidence in myself, and had many challenges. Sometimes I feel homesick, but not often. I miss my friends and family, but we keep in contact by the internet, so I feel better these days. The best advice for someone moving somewhere new is to be positive and expect good things. It took around a year, but Melbourne feels like home.