Life in America

Note: although I am now a Nintendo employee, my postings should not in any way be interpreted as being on behalf of or condoned by Nintendo. They are my personal views only. And now that that's out of the way…

It's been a whirlwind month. I left Okinawa on March 10, just one day before the Tohoku earthquake. By the time I had recovered from my jetlag, I saw on the news that the earthquake had hit, but I was unable to get through and check on my family for a nerve-wracking day. (My family is staying in Okinawa for a few months so that my son can finish the school year, and my wife can work on the move from that side.)

When I first got back to the US, I experienced a bit of reverse culture shock, which is to be expected after living in Japan for nearly 12 years. Over that time, you forget some things, and other things change, so returning to my home country was like entering a slightly different dimension resembling home but not quite it. Having to find a house, buy a car, get a driver license (my US one having expired), etc. in the space of a month made it even more of a challenge.

But I'm pretty much used to being an American again, and although Seattle locals like to complain about the rain here, this really is a beautiful place. Mountains, rivers, lakes, forest, ocean — it's a nature-lover's paradise. Combine that with great coffee and beer, good music and art scenes, and friendly, cosmopolitan people, and I probably could have chosen a worse place to repatriate.

It sucks being away for my family for this long, but with modern wonders like skype and email, it's a little more bearable. The last time my wife and I were apart this long, it was before we were married, and we had to make do with letters and the occasional phone call (remember how expensive international calls were way back when?).

I definitely plan to keep on blogging, so now that this status report is out of the way, please stay tuned for more of my inane blather about programming, translation, and Japan.

6 comments to Life in America

  • Welcome back to the States! I hope your friends and family are safe. The things that happened and are happening in Japan are heartbreaking.

  • Kevin Kirton

    Well, Ryan, you may call it “inane blather about programming, translation, and Japan,” but I’m still going to read your blog, and I’m unapologetic about that.
    Great to read about your reverse culture shock. I got that for ages coming back to Australia. I can’t wait to visit the U.S. someday. It’ll be like visiting the lost, ugly uncle with a drug and firearm problem who happens to do well at the stockmarket. Or something (unlike that).
    Can’t wait to see what you do at Nintendo. I still think they’re lucky to get you.

  • Andy Heath

    Hello, this was an interesting post to me. I had a similar experience of “reverse culture shock” (and culture shock) when I spent a mere six months in Puerto Rico ten years ago. I remember coming back and being fascinated that everyone was speaking English. Still, I can empathize with how annoying both culture shock and the reverse kind can be. Welcome back to the US. I hope you find it hasn’t changed too much… although I’m sure it has, some things never really change.

  • Hi Ryan,

    Although I’ve been using Felix and Count Anything for a few years at work, this is the first time I’ve really read your blog. This post jumped out at me because my wife and I just recently decided to repatriate to the states as well. The growing unease about the reactors here in Japan, lack of response from the government and increasing earthquakes have made us realize that my hometown of Boston is probably a better place to raise our infant daughter. I’m worried about reverse culture shock as well and the plunge into full time freelancing (I’ll be buying a copy of Felix for my own use soon!). Working for a large Japanese company (which will remain nameless until I leave) has been an educational experience, but I’m looking forward to less beurocratic chaos when working from the comfort of my own home. I’m glad to hear that things are working out for you and it’s also nice to know my concerns of finding a home, car ans all the necessary stuff aren’t mine alone. Take care ans keep writing, I’ll be sure to read from now on.

  • Long-time reader

    Umm… so I guess this blog is now over and out? :(

  • @Long-time reader:

    No, it’s not! In fact, I have five posts already written, and a few more half-written, but I’ve been needing a kick in the pants to get them posted. So thanks for the kick — and thanks for reading. :)

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