[Written on paper 17/07-2009 – edited now]
Two countries that in the last 10 years at least have represented so much for me!
Let’s start with some highlights, from the top of my head:
JAPAN – Aikido (martial art that I practice since ’95, first point of contact with Asia, Japan); Iaido (practiced for a shorter time but reason for the firstunlucky trip to Tokyo); Mami (Japanese ex-gf and good friend); sushi and Japanese food; manga; anime; shodo; Tokyo-Tanabe-Osaka 2008 (great Aikido experience and meeting with Kaori and Michiko, many years pen friends); nihongo; many Japanese people met here and there; the mixing of tradition and modernity..
CHINA – Wang Ting Ting (first Chinese pen friend, reason for my first trip to China, Wenzhou – Feb.07); Han Xu (first girl I loved to the point to get close to propose); Beijing – Aug.08 (Olympics, a wonderful city and a great family experience, even if the family is more happy for her present younger cooler husband); Shanghai (many fiends, one special, Arielynn); Ningbo (a wonderful friend called Psydee); Hangzhou; zhongwen; many new close friends; kao ya and amazing Chinese food; traditions and modernity as well..
Parallel to these 2 main poles, I got other Asian interests:
Vietnam – that is actually my first contact and reason of Asian interest, because of course of a girl. Next I met and appreciated several Vietnamese girls, maybe the most beautiful Asian type for me, even if I haven’t had a chance yet to share more than chat with any of them.. not even a kiss.. But I don’t give up!
Thailand – after the break up, got interested in this country maybe just for a different Asian vision, more toward the South East. Met and closely known for some time a girl from there.. interested in visiting the country. It must be amazing. And knowing more of the pretty girls around there, being aware of th famous “lady boys”, “girls” with extra surprise ;-)
Indonesia – a new friend here in Stavanger made me interested in this country. Mostly through her words. A pity she got too fast a bf and a serious relationship. But we share the same dream with opposite “directions”: I dream East, she dreams West..
Singapore – a few pen friends from there, one an amazing photography artist, Chen Xi.. another place I know through friends and that I hope to visit..
Hong Kong – same as above, I also know this place only through very pretty friends and a short transfer on my way to Taiwan.. I want to see more.. especially of the gorgeous people!
Philippines – I know only a little through photography contacts on Flickr: too sexy to be true! Until now, not too interested..
South Korea – that is place I have heard very much worth visitng, especially given that in Asia, both China and Japan are nowadays taking a lot from there, from South Korean culture, television, etc. One of the most beautiful girls I have ever met in my life, a girl that was perfection, is from there..
TAIWAN – last but not least. I left it here on purpose, especially after I was there in Oct.09. Very very very nice people. Nice country, great life, especially night life, beautiful places, gorgeous women. A person I knew introduced me to Flickr, she visited me, I visited her. I had a good time. A new/old contact will meet me in Christmas and new year, Italy and Norway. Lots of Taiwan in my year! I wish there were more openings there, but all the foreigners I met were English teacher.. and of course English mother tongue.. boring! (and almost all male ;-) )
In conclusion Asia is mainly represented for me by Japan and China, with an increasing interest in Taiwan. Japan had the “pole position” for many years, but even if my love story ended badly (as expected), lately China has taken a dominant position in my thoughts. Thoughts, dreams, goals, that in practice converge to a serious search of a new working career.
That is not because my present job does not satisfy me. Quite the opposite. Unfortunately, right now (since Nov.08) I would love to be anywhere else in the world than in Stavanger! But the challenging and interesting job I have here it is the only reason why I have not moved, yet! But the sudden death of a close friend of mine, close in age as well, pushed me to stop thinking about Asia as a dream but consider it a goal! And try to make it reality, because you never know what can happen tomorrow. I cannot and do not want to keep on postponing.
The good thing of my work is that it is project based. With a realistic deadline. Deadline that I can make it my own as well for moving to Asia, job or not! Feeling that I properly close my life here, the project in my work and start a new chapter.
So, Asia.. but what does it mean? Move where? I started asking myself the past weeks taking then a realistic decision: I am focusing on.. CHINA!!!
Am I betraying Japan? Why? The answer to the first question is partly yes, But the reason is very practical: Japan is badly suffering the world economic breakdown. Almost no job vacancies. Except for software or experienced managers. So, not for me. The choice of China as focus for my future efforts has not been easy. And not only for the betrayal feelings. Chinese language is far more difficult than Japanese and I think in China there are much less English speaking people than in Japan. In China, Shanghai is my main interest, also because the great Aikido club they got there! Beijing would be of course also a good place, not for Aikido though (the leader of the club where I practiced in Aug.08 was hitting on my ex gf before she became ex.. He got her email when she came there with me for introducing me to them.. and we were clearly together.. yeah, I know, she actually did give him her the email!! ;-) ). Any other place in China would be without Aikido, more special then (to start my own club!). But any other place would be a first step to Asia. And once there, focus on Shanghai, Japan or Taiwan..
Searching for a job in China, from Europe, and with only basics of Chinese language, is not easy, even with a strong CV as mine, and even stronger motivations. But this is just a little part of the main challenge of living in China after getting there. I regret I did not learn more Chinese from my ex when I had a chance. But on the other hand, I learned quite a bit about the Chinese way of thinking. That will help me for sure!!!
Wish me luck!