Four Weeks Until Canada: What I Won’t Miss

I’m looking forward to and I’m not looking forward to the move to Canada. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends again, seeing familiar places, going to new places, eating favourite food, and more. I’m not looking forward to packing, cleaning, the whole immigration process, and flying with a four-year-old.

What I will miss about Japan far outweighs what I won’t miss. I love Japan, and I’ve loved living in Japan. There’s so much about it I will miss that I could write a book about it. But there are some things that I won’t miss.

  • Dealing with renewing my visa. That will be nice to not have to do regularly.
  • Japanese banking system and ATMs. The banks in Japan are rather inefficient and slow. They still use a lot of paperwork. Also, the ATMs close for the night and over some holidays.
  • Poor insulation. Every place I’ve lived has been damn cold inside in winter.
  • Stares and comments by people, mostly children. I stand out in Japan. People see me, they look a bit longer than they should, and they whisper to each other as if I couldn’t hear them.
  • City tax. I won’t have to pay that in Canada. Expensive!
  • Health insurance payments. Also expensive in Japan. Far, far cheaper in Canada.
  • Extra cost for cheese at Subway. Cheese is complementary in Canada.
  • Shopping for clothes. It’s not always easy to find my size, even though I find I’m average sized when compared with younger Japanese people. Companies still make smaller sizes, though. Same thing for shoes.
  • Pollen allergy. I hope I don’t have it in Canada.

I will miss the food. I will miss the transportation system. I will miss the seaside. I will miss Yokohama, Tokyo, Kamakura, and Fujisawa. I will miss the temples and shrines. I will miss the gardens. I will miss the hot springs. I will miss hearing the language around me. I will miss Japanese TV. I will miss the atmosphere everywhere I’ve been in Japan. I will miss Mt. Fuji.

I think those things will far outweigh the things I won’t miss. That’s what makes it so difficult to leave Japan. But, we’ll be back from time to time.

Ever move away from a country? What are some things you missed and didn’t miss? Leave your comments below.


10 thoughts on “Four Weeks Until Canada: What I Won’t Miss”

  1. When I was 17 in 1981 I moved to Maryland just outside D.C. after living in Singapore for 2 1/2 years. I missed trivial stuff like my high school friends, but mostly I missed Singapore’s climate, incredible food, but mostly its really heterogeneous population and culture. As a result, I’m comfortable being a minority, with being the only white guy in a restaurant or at a public event. Singapore taught me the real world is an earth-toned rainbow, not a series of ethnically monochromatic enclaves.

    And I lived in Tokyo for 19 months in 1987 and 1988, and I often still regret moving from Tokyo back, again, to Maryland just outside D.C. I miss so many things. If I hadn’t met my wife in the early ’90s in San Francisco (and I can’t thank fate enough that I did), I’d have moved back to Japan a couple decades ago. I miss the food, I miss being a minority, I miss being alone in dense crowds, I miss living next to one of the city’s oldest shrines (Yushima Tenjin), I miss the freedom of personal reinvention, I regret never properly learning to read or speak Japanese, I miss the mixture of centuries-old religious aesthetics with modern video games and pop culture, I miss Japan’s whimsy, I miss natto breakfasts at Yoshinoya.

    If I keep going I’ll drive us both nuts. But there you go.

    1. High school in Singapore, huh? That must have been interesting.

      I’m sure I’m going to miss Japan a lot the first few months. I’ve been told from someone who’s experienced moving back to Canada that he felt incredibly awkward for the first six months. He eventually moved to Japan, but is planning on moving back to Canada in a couple years. So many things I’m not looking forward to.

  2. I’ve never changed countries, but I go between Nova Scotia and Alberta every month and there are plenty of differences there. When I’m in Alberta I miss the salt air of living by the ocean (the air doesn’t smell right to me out there) but I don’t miss the rampant flora of Nova Scotia (allergies). I miss Nova Scotian food (sorry Alberta, you just SUCK at pizza, there’s no two ways about it), but I don’t miss how goddamn expensive some things are (I eat free while I’m at work). There are plenty more, I’m sure, but I definitely miss more things than I don’t miss, and on the alternate side there aren’t a whole lot of things that I miss about Alberta when I’m not there (then again, I’m in a work camp, so it’s not like I have access to anything that would be worth missing).

    On the topic of the things YOU won’t miss, I definitely wouldn’t miss the stares and comments, and I’ve heard from several different people now about how bad that kind of thing is in Japan. Luckily I don’t think your wife and daughter will experience that NEARLY as much in Canada. There’s racism here for sure, but for the most part we’re such a melting pot that most people don’t even look twice. 🙂

    1. I love Panago’s pizza 🙂 I miss the smell of Alberta’s forests. Sometimes, I can remember the smell, and it makes me want to wander through a forest in Alberta. I’m sure I’ll miss the ocean air, though.

      The stares aren’t a really bad thing. I hardly notice it anymore. My daughter looks “white” enough that she won’t have much trouble. Her hair is the same as mine. But in Edmonton, it’s such a big city with a large Asian population, no one will care.

  3. Moving from Mid-Atlantic US to Nova Scotia wasn’t that big of a change for me. Different country, not quite as much diversity, but still very much the same. Colder winters and more snow. Though I went to university in the Appalachians so I was used to all the snow already. The food is the same too. With the exception of putting gravy on french fries. Groceries seem outrageously expensive here. $7.50 for a gallon of milk!

    1. I think the diversity depends on where you are in the country. Nova Scotia doesn’t make me think about diversity. Big cities do. Toronto is about 40% foreign-born. Edmonton has a pretty good-sized Asian population, and then you have Vancouver with it’s very large Asian population.

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