Jun 19, 2014, 10:15AM

Goodbye Japan

Breaking up with a country.

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This is not an easy for me after all we've been through together. Trust me, I’ve thought long and hard about what to say, and I don’t mean to offend or hurt you in any way. Just know that what I have to tell you is very important to me, and I’m glad I can finally express it.

It's been a long, rocky ride together, hasn't it? From the moment I first gazed into your LCD eyes, I was hooked. I’d never seen anything like you before, and you opened up a world of possibilities too rich to resist. I loved hearing stories about your past, learning all the little quirks and habits, seeing the world through your eyes. The high-speed embrace of your trains and breathtaking euphoria of mounting your huge, volcanic cones were novel, and your cooking was always a delight. And so I took the plunge, moved in with you, and tried to make a life with you.

Unfortunately that was the beginning of the disillusionment. Seeing you for limited periods of time on holidays or the Internet made it easy to focus on your strengths and attractions, whereas actually being there with you all the time meant I couldn't escape your weaknesses and dark side. I thought we were equal partners in this equation, both offering something to the other, but I quickly learned what you really thought of me.

I tried to deal with your arbitrary rules and snap judgements, the superficiality of everything you based your life on. Time after time I ran headfirst into barriers and rejections, and no matter how I tried to negotiate with you I could never get anything more than a cop-out excuse and a shrug of the shoulders. I grew tired of how you belittled me for my sex and tried to wedge me into a rigid gender binary while praising men and letting them walk all over both of us. I can't even count the number of times you overtly discriminated against me based on my skin tone and nationality, let alone age, and the absolute lack of compassion and understanding for my sexuality frustrating to say the least. I came to know that our definitions of love are not even remotely the same, and I finally have to admit to myself that you can't give me what I need and deserve.

I'm tired of raging silently and trying to smooth things over on the surface, and I can't make you change; you have to want to change. You're not a bad country; I’ve never felt so safe as when I was in your arms, and I'm going to miss that a lot. Your integrity and drive are so powerful, the things you create are amazing, and the flashes of kindness and warmth you show are positively beautiful. But I think we both know that we are fundamentally incompatible.

I need a country that can give me the freedom to be myself, someone who values diversity and acceptance and charity, that appreciates me for who I am and not solely because of my appearance and mother tongue, and many other things that I cried myself to sleep over your inability to provide.

I’d like us to be friends. We have so much history together, we still like a lot of things about each other, and I think moving away would give us the distance necessary to make it work without asking too much of either of us. Canada and I are going to give it another try, so I'll be moving out as soon as I can. In the meantime, let's try and enjoy the time we have left here together and figure out how to move forward.


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