Life in Japan: How Can I Maintain Relationships from a Home Away from Home?

Posted on Posted in Daily Life

This is going to be my first ‘cheat’ post because it’s not specifically about Japan. It’s me, thinking outloud about my relationships with the friends and family who don’t live in Japan, which by the way is about 99% of my friends and all of my family.


Today is the birthday of someone close to me, and whilst he has never celebrated his birthday – ever. I am still feeling guilty about not being in the UK for it. I had planned to write something else today (which would have required going to the library and researching), but it’s already 19:30 and this topic is more important to me right now.



Friendship Takes Time

I commend all of you. Especially the ‘yous’ who manage to hold down a 9-6 job, exercise, eat well, have kids etc. etc. and still have close and loving relationships. I’d give you one of my cutest cat stickers as a well done if you were here. My main outing today was sending a postcard to my Granddad and I still haven’t responded to all of my messages. That Japan-bound Boeing 787 could have been a DeLorean from Back to the Future because time has never moved so quickly since arriving here.


Hours develop into days, and days morph into months.


Friends and Fushimi
Friends at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto (京都)


When I lived in South Africa, all of my UK relationships suffered and that was only six months. I returned home and massive life events had passed me by: babies were born, rings were put on fingers and loved ones were lost. I’ve no intention of returning to the UK until 2018… How can I ensure that I’m there for the people I care about – without moving back to the UK? I guess you have an idea. Speaking to my friends and family has to be a priority. I have to show them that I’m there for them, even when I’m not there.


In the words of Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”


Friendship Travels Through Distance and Time…

So, it’s not just asking questions and listening, it’s remembering what’s happening with people and checking on their progress. It’s about being interested, really interested. And I need to do more of that. I can start by:


  • Being quicker at responding to messages
  • Pro-actively calling people, which I never do!
  • Remembering important dates to my friends/families and checking on them
  • Sending cards/messages on those important dates


friendship japan
Hey it’s us, checking-in… Nikko (日光)


In conclusion, this is a pledge to myself, my family and my friends. I will call you more, make an effort on your birthday and write to you. I will check-in with you. In return, I want you to send me your updates. Tell me what’s going on with you, no matter how big or how small. Just because you’re eight hours behind me doesn’t mean what’s going on with you is in the past for me. If you need more from me – call me out on it.




P.S. Happy birthday to you お父さん, even if you hate birthdays.

P.P.S Love you Ivey :). Remember how long it took us to take that photo in Shibuya?


2 thoughts on “Life in Japan: How Can I Maintain Relationships from a Home Away from Home?

  1. Love you Tam Bam! Haha oh yes i remember but we had to get that perfect shot! But was it as long as it took us to get that perfect shot at Mt. Fuji (in the hotel)… 😉

  2. Hahahah, I think the Mt. Fuji primetime exclusive one-of-a-kind photo shoot session was definitely longer… I would like to say I was better at selfies with the SLR these days but I’m NOT. Thanks for being SUCH a patient friend :P.

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