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Why did you come to Japan? どうして日本に来ましたか?


People often ask me what motivated me to come to Japan. I usually give two reasons, both of which tend to surprise people. Firstly, I've been studying Japanese for more than 20 years, and in order to be as fluent as possible, I knew I would have to live in Japan for at least a few years. Even after living and working here for a total of more than four years, however, I realize how much further I have to go. As is true of knowledge in general, the more Japanese you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.

外国人として、何のきっかけで日本に来ましたかとよく聞かれます。たいてい、二つの理由を言い、それが日本人を驚かせがちです。第一は、日本語を20年間以上勉強していて、出来るだけ流暢に喋れるように日本に少なくとも 数年間住む他ないと分かりました。ただ、通算して4年間以上住んでいるのに、まだ先は長いと気づきました。知れば知るほど、どのくらい理解していないかということに気付かされます。それが日本語の理解にも当てはまります。

Secondly, I find Japan to be an incredibly easy place to live. Many people, including myself, are attracted to Japan for the obvious reasons: a deep history that includes delicious cuisine, beautiful architecture, and a wide variety of unique cultural practices. But having lived in Japan for a while now, the things that keep me here have less to do with what's interesting than with what is practical and convenient on a daily basis. As someone who prefers public transit to driving, for example, Japan is the perfect place to be. In fact, I once told someone that heaven is a window seat on the bullet train. I said it half-jokingly, but it's truly how I feel.

第二は、僕には日本はかなり住みやすい場所です。自分を含め、たくさんの人々が勿論おいしい料理や素敵な建築、様々な独特な文化の習慣の影響で日本に惹かれます。ただ、しばらく日本に住んでいる僕は、住み続けたい理由が文化の面白さなどよりむしろ、日常生活に便利で実用的な物事に繋がっています。例えば、運転する事より電車に乗る事が好きな人間として、日本が完璧です。 冗談半分に友達に新幹線の窓側の席が自分の天国だと言った事がありますが、そういう気持ちが本当です。

The world-class public transit system is just one of many things that make living in Japan enjoyable. Talking about the others would probably take several more blog entries, so I'm going to end it here. Thank you for reading!





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