Uncertainty is “the state of being uncertain”, according to my handy dandy laptop dictionary. It’s quite a useless definition actually, if you don’t know what “uncertain” means in the first place. Luckily for me I do, so I won’t go any further.
The word has two significant meanings to me:
- That annoying thing in physics labs when you have to account for errors in measurements – I had to go through that last night, and it wasn’t very fun
- My life next year – I have no idea where I will be going for university/college next year, and frankly it’s starting to frighten me a bit.
I mainly wanted to write about the latter in this post, but I remembered the former as I was writing so I decided to include it in the beginning (it was probably completely unnecessary).
Being a third culture kid (or TCK as some would like to refer to) has its perks: you get to live abroad and interact with people of nationalities, cultures, religions and backgrounds that are completely different from yours. You learn to coexist, tolerate, respect, and you become a better person, a global citizen – that’s what international schools teach you, at least from what I know. But where do TCKs end up? Do they keep living abroad, or do they return back to their “homes”? And what is home anyway, it seems like TCKs lose their homes over time as they continually lose touch with their home countries. So where do we “belong” eventually, or will we never?
That’s exactly the dilemma I am having to face now. Being a full-Japanese, I felt like I had an obligation to return to Japan for university, catch up on my elementary-level Japanese and work in Japan – for a few reasons, but the main one being the simple fact that I am Japanese. I can already sense what’s going to happen if I do return to Japan, I’ve got a “glimpse” of it from the yearly summer trips back to Tokyo. Three words, one unusual phrase: reverse culture shock. I haven’t lived properly in Japan for over 12 years now, and I’ve only lived there for six. There are definitely going to be problems re-adjusting to the distinct culture of Japan and Japanese people. I never found myself to fully get along with Japanese people in the first place – I always felt a little different, or displaced when I was surrounded by them. Sometimes I don’t feel Japanese at all compared to everyone else – the way I think/talk/do everything doesn’t align with the “norm” (and trust me, those are important in Japan). Learning in Japanese on top of that will be even tougher, and quite frankly a bit of a waste considering that I’ve learnt all these things in English and will now have to re-learn everything in Japanese (it is a vital skill and important part of being Japanese though).
There are of course things that make me want to go back though. There’s the food – although the famous quote is not “home is where the stomach is”. There’s also my love towards the city in general. Tokyo is a lovely place, even though I strongly detest the effects of overpopulation, which is ironically epitomized by the city. There are just too many people in this one small city, and everything is fast-paced (sometimes this is good but I guess it can be overwhelming). But from what I’ve gotten so far it seems that the cons outweigh the pros.
The other option, if I decide not to return to Japan for university is to study abroad. There are other factors that could influence this decision though, but I feel that this post is quite long already, and you as a reader probably don’t care anyway.
Basically I am uncertain. I hate being uncertain. It might be a quality of mine being a Virgo (and being a semi-superstitious believer in astrology), but I have never been fully content with the concept of “come what may”, although I have tried to embrace the ideology a couple of times. It’s always nice to be certain about something though, especially something that concerns the next four years of your life and possibly influences the rest.