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.

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