There is a website that I love it is called "WTF Japan? Seriously" ( WTF Japan? Seriously ) and it is full of reasons to love or not love this unique country. People ask me why I live in Japan. I usually answer them with the reason why I came to Japan, or if I am feeling snippy because the person has begun to delve into too many personal areas, I just say "because I have an 85 year old mother-in-law" and they stop asking me questions (usually).
Why I came to Japan and why I am still here are two good questions and they have both different and overlapping answers. The "came to" reason is pretty simple: I needed a job and I needed to get away from Utah for a while. During university I began to dream about getting out of Utah--actually I had vivid day/nightmares about becoming trapped there. I developed an unreasonable fear of station wagons which I still cannot shake and was sure that if I stayed I would end up like the freaked out sister (not Holly Hunter) in "Home for the Holidays." Anyway, I got myself certified as a teacher (rather than certified as a mental patient which is where I might have been if I had not left UT) and found a job as far away as I could. Initially the intent was to just stay for a year, get some experience and and put another year between myself and the seniors that I thought I would be teaching when I returned home. Yeah, well, that was 22 years ago last month. I go back to visit, but not to live. So that takes us to the "stay" part...