I’ve been living in Japan, this time, since 2006. A time of change to say the least. I say “this time” because there was another time (duh), in the 1990’s. But that’s another story. Being outside your home country means you miss a lot of things. In both senses of the word. I miss home. I wish I had better access to my friends and family. But it also means that I don’t see things, or I’m not aware of them when they’re happening.
Back in 1989 ( I know, I was talking about Japan, bear with me), I spent a year abroad in Taiwan. That was the year after the Tiananmen incident, and the only place to study Chinese at the time. I go there in the early summer, and by the end of the year, the Berlin Wall had crumbled. When I came back to the states, the Cold War was over.
And The Simpsons was everywhere. You couldn’t go down the street without seeing a Bart Simpson T-shirt. Cut to now, and The Simpsons is the longest running animated show in America. But I wasn’t there when it started. I had no clue the what a cultural phenomenon it had become.
And that’s what it’s like to live abroad. You miss these things. Some are important and earth-shattering. Some are just the end of the Soviet Union.
One thing I’m glad I missed was the Trump era. Of course the country and the world are still dealing with the aftermath, but I’m glad I was away from the hate, and didn’t need to experience it first hand.
I missed the Kardashians, Kanye West, lady Gaga’s meat dress, Fifty Shades of Grey, Girls, The Ice Bucket Challenge, Hamilton, Caitlin Jenner, Me Too, and Black Lives Matter.
There’s a lot I’m glad I missed, a lot I wish I hadn’t. I know about it, of course. I wouldn’t know to write it here other wise. But there’s something to be said for being a step removed.