This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s crazy to think that it’s already been 6 years since I packed my bags and left California for Japan. Who would have thought that a person like me who chooses comfort over adventure would buy a one-way ticket to Tokyo with only 2 suitcases, barely any money in my pocket and some fairy tale-like dreams on the side. It all seems so long ago, yet I can still remember the excitement I felt at the time. In my mind, the future was bright and the possibilities were endless.

日本に来てからもう既に6年が経ったことが、早いようにも感じるし、長くも感じる。私みたいに、大胆な行動をとらない人が東京へのワンウェイチケットを買い、スーツケース2台と大きな夢だけを持って海を渡るとは。昔のことのようにも思えるけど、まだあの頃のワクワクした気持ちは結構はっきり覚えてる。未来はまだ明るかったし、可能性も果てしなく感じた。

 

Fall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up Eight

6 Years Ago

Because it’s been 6 years, I can reflect back and say that those first few years in Japan were the hardest years of my life. Freshly graduated from college, I got a taste of what it meant to “be an adult” pretty quickly. I struggled with the beginnings of my career, away from my family, friends, and home – I barely made ends meet, and it was a process to get used to this new, fast-paced lifestyle in the city. I battled with self-esteem issues due to skin problems caused by my new environment and the stress of trying to adapt to it. I lost my dad after my first year there, then my grandmother 2 years later. I stayed in a toxic relationship for 3 years, not realizing how much it was negatively affecting me until the very end. The list could go on and on, but you get the picture.

6年経ったからこそ、今までを振り返ることができる。日本来て最初の頃は本当に辛かったことも。大学卒業したばかりで、「大人になる」ことがどういうことなのか、すぐ思い知らされた。仕事はもちろんそんなすぐには思い通りにいかないし、家族や友達から離れて生活するのも大変だし、東京でのファストペースなライフスタイルになれるのにも多少苦労した。環境がガラッと変わって肌も人生で一番ひどく、自身も全然なく、ストレスが重なる日々。日本に来てちょうど一年経った頃お父さんが事故で亡くなって、その2年後は大好きなグランマも突然亡くなった。3年間、体にも心にも毒のような関係にいたけど、最後の最後でやっと自分のことを第一優先で考えないといけないことが分かった。他にも色々あったけど、ひとまずこんな感じで。

Fall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up Eight

There was a point during those first few years where I lost sight of my purpose. I was confused whether I should go back to California and start over again or stay and keep doing whatever I was trying to do. Continuous nights of crying, trying to find ways to end my purposeless life but was too cowardly to take action. But despite all that, I somehow stayed resilient and worked past all these hurdles that life threw at me from left and right. Because the people around me believed in me, I decided to try again one more day, and another, and another. And now, 6 years later, I stand here with a bigger mind & a bigger heart.

その色々あった時期は、本当に自分のやるべきことが全然はっきりしなくて、どうずればいいか分からなかった。地元のカリフォルニアに戻ってまたやり直すか、もうちょっと踏ん張っってとりあえず日本で頑張るか。泣いた夜も数えきれない、人生のどん底までスパイラルみたいに落ちて行く自分が怖かった。でも何故か、いくつものハードルを乗り越えて。この6年間私のことを信じてくれた人が周りにいて、だからこそ私もそれに応えてあともう一日、もう一日頑張れた。昔よりもっと大きな器と大きなハートを持って、今ここにいる。

Fall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up EightFall Seven Times, Stand up Eight

“Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight.”

The Japanese learn proverbs from an early age, and one of the most famous (and also one of my personal favorites) is “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Through resilience, one keeps going forward despite repeated struggles and failures. That’s why you stand up one more time than when you fall if you exclude the first time you stand up before the first fall. But this proverb isn’t only about being resilient – it’s also about transformation and what you can learn from being resilient to each hardship you encounter in life. If I had just kept practicing resilience, I wouldn’t have changed so much as a person. It’s because I took each experience in life as a lesson, I was able to change myself little by little for the better.

私でも知っていてかつ共感できる四文字熟語は「七転八起」。何度失敗しても、前を向いて進んで行く。どんなに大変で辛いことがあっても、なんとか乗り切る。でも、ただ乗り切るだけじゃダメで、どんどん自分を変えて行くことも大事。昔の自分でずっといたくないからこそ、改善。どんな経験も大切なレッスン。人生これから何があるかさっぱり分からないけど、とにかく自分をもっと磨いていきたい。「七転八起」。

 

H&M top, Boohoo cycling shorts, Adidas x Moussy bag, Public Desire boots, zeroUV glasses, BABY-G watch.

All photos by Mike Smith

21 comments

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I love this post and I love you for writing it. You are such a strong and inspirational woman and I am so happy to have met you. To move to a place like Tokyo with not much but a dream is super admirable. To go through the tough times is commendable. Keep on doing you because good things are in your future, I know that for a fact 🙂 XOXO

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You’re so awesome Marian and I’m so glad to have met you as well <3 Same to you, keep doing you - keep shining<3 xoxo

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^^♪

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Wow I thought you were in Japan for longer! You seem to have really settled in well and are already the “it girl” on the music scene. So cool hun!

Tatyana x

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Keep grinding girrrrrl! Meet ya at the top 😉

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Haha thanks Takumi! Nowhere near the top but will definitely keep on grinding!

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Babe I’m proud of you. You’re a strong woman and you can do it . Experiences make us stronger but don’t shy when you need to cry sometimes. You can change your life and do whatever you want if you can. The life is just one ❤️
Xx
Eva
http://www.themermaidfashion.com

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You’re so right Eva! Thank you for your kind words <3

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Wow, I commend you for following your dreams and not giving up when things got tough. I can’t even imagine the courage it took not only to move out to Japan like you did, but to continue to pursue your dreams even when it seemed like it was so far away. You are inspirational and so brave and I am in awe of you. You have accomplished so much already and there is much more in store for you! I am excited for you for the next 6 years and can’t wait to follow along! xoxo, Christine
http://dailykongfidence.com/

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Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post! Yes, I think the next 6 years will be even more exciting 🙂

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Congrats on your 6th year in Japan Samantha!
It’s amazing to hear about other people’s stories on what brought them here.
I’m sorry to hear of your hardships at the beginning but it’s great to hear how you overcame and grew to be where you are now!

Xx
Siree
http://www.thehiddenthimble.com
.

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Thank you for reading this post! It means so much to me <3

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Wow, congratulations on 6 years in Japan! You are indeed so brave and courageous to pack your bags and leave from California to Japan like that – I don’t think I could ever do that haha. I totally agree with you that resilience is so important – I’m proud of you for coming this far and for overcoming all your hardships. It’s these hurdles that make us stronger as a person! XO

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I totally agree! I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 thanks so much for reading Sharon <3

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I’m so happy that you were strong enough to get out of a toxic relationship. That type of situation literally destroys us emotionally and as a person. You are now a wiser and stronger women!! Everything turns out for the best for the good people like you. I’m proud of how far you have come.

XO
Candace
http://www.thebeautybeau.com

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Yeah it took a while but all in the past now! Thank you so much for reading this post and for your kind words! Means a lot Candace!

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Wow Samantha. This post was so inspiring! I would have never known that you went through all of that if you hadn’t of written this. All I can say is that you’re a very strong woman. Kudos to you!!

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You too, Sam! I always find your posts and experiences inspiring <3 <3 Thank you!

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This is such an amazing post, you are a very strong girl and I admire you for writing this, that is so cool you moved to Japan, I really enjoyed reading this, thank you for sharing!

~xo Sheree
poshclassymom.com

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I was looking up street fashion in Japan for inspiration images for my fashion design class at Cal State Long Beach (near your hometown!) and came across all of your amazing fashion street wear photos. Your fashion sense is stunning and you are so beautiful. I love your story about packing up and starting a new life in a foreign place, I wish I could be that brave. I instantly connected with your story, being half Caucasian and half Asian (Chinese) myself, and hope I can lead a life as amazing as yours one day. I hope it’s okay to use your images in my final project. Good luck in your journey and thank you for being an inspiration!

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