Becoming an independent adult in a foreign country was quite the adventure, but I’ve had to spend the last year adjusting to the work culture and expectations as an adult in the U.S.

1. My living expenses had to be adjusted. I pay less for fruits and vegetables but more for cable and internet. Electricity is cheap but healthcare is high. (At least now I can use the air conditioner in summer without breaking the bank.)

2. I can’t pay bills at the convenience store. I have to actually remember to write a check or pay online. And the late notices are less polite than in Japan.

3. Work doesn’t come home with me anymore. I don’t have an entire bookshelf dedicated to work materials.

4. Going to a Japanese restaurant/marketplace within the first few months of returning is not as fun as going about 6 months after returning. One year after returning is even more fun. It’s like going back in time.

5. I have to hold back the constant stream of “one time in Japan….” anecdotes. The struggle is real. I hope I don’t annoy too many people with stories.

I do have times when I want to go back to my old life in Japan, but those moments fade away quickly. Japan isn’t going anywhere, and when I get the vacation time, I’ll definitely visit again.