I am a Haafu.

There it is, my blog about my trip to Japan. I spent some of the best months of my life there, so if anyone is interested in going there for a long time, or just in the culture, I truly hope you will find some useful information here. Leaving for this journey was for me a big decision to make : it became kind of a turning point in my life and brought me so much emotionally. So first, I would like to write about my personal background.

I grew up in the French part of Switzerland, but French isn’t the first language I learned. Since my Swiss Father was most of the time at work, I spent the first four years of my life with my Japanese mother, who at that time only spoke Japanese and English. So when I first arrived at school, my knowledge of French was very limited, which made the process of making friends quite complicated. Along with that, mixed cultured families were still few in the 90s, which means children around me were not familiar with people who look different. A lot of my classmates would make fun of me by asking if I was Chinese, as if it was something terrible.

I had a really hard time fitting in. Even with my French getting better – and sometimes even better than Swiss people because I had really good grades at school-, I still never felt at home. But that was the same thing in Japan, because when we visited my family over there, I also got weird glances and people talking to me in English as if I was a foreigner. All my childhood, I wished I could be normal. But what does it really mean? I wished I could have had a lot of friends, and above all communicate with them. I wished there would have been a place for me where I wouldn’t have been the different one. It took me a really long time to understand that being normal wasn’t the answer.

As I grew up, I eventually found friends who could accept me for who I was, but there still was something missing: a huge lack of self-confidence. I started questioning my future during high school and in the mean time my grades were slowly getting worse. Then it happened, the first big failure of my life: my attempt at going to university. Instead of getting my life together and actually do something to put myself back on track, I started dreaming of a better life. What if the me in Japan is the successful me? This may sound stupid, but at the time, my brain preferred feeding me with irrealistic illusions to put aside my anxiety, stress and eating disorders.

Before it could get any worse, I eventually found a job and decided to take a step forward. Make a decision, even if it meant I could fail again, at least I would have changed my current situation. So I sent my application to study tourism and bought my plane tickets to Japan since I still had 6 months until the first day of school. I would finally get to discover the other part of me. That part that made me different.

In conclusion, if I had to summarize what I’ve learned there in some words: What makes me different is and has always been my strength. By discovering this new part of myself, I realised that if you take the best of every opportunities in your life, you can end up with not only one but two places that you can call home.