As of yesterday, I have lived in Japan for six months, the longest I’ve ever spent anywhere that wasn’t my home town. Since I’ve been here, I’ve worked steadily at a job that gives me a regular schedule and doesn’t require me to clean anything (usually) or sell anything. I’ve made several new friends, found new places to go, and have settled into life in a big city. My Japanese has improved due to immersion. I’m more aware of my native English from teaching it to others. I’ve taken an apartment that was barely-livable and made it much more so (though I still plan to find a new place as soon as I can). I spent Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, and the New Year here. While I miss some of the comforts of my home in the US, I can aspire to someday acquire them. I miss a number of people in the US, but I can speak to them pretty freely with online messenger services.
In addition, if you add up all the time I’ve spent in Japan, it comes to right about one full year. In that time, I’ve gone from Clueless Gaijin With Feeble Japanese to Informed Gaijin With Passable Japanese. I’m proud to say I had a dream — to move to Japan — and achieved it in the span of about three years.
That said, I have a long way to go. My job is good, but I’m on the lookout for a better one. I need a bigger place. I still have to go back to school and improve my Japanese. And if I stay here for ten years or so, I can apply for residency, which allows me to stay here without need for a visa. If you hadn’t figured it out by now, that’s exactly my plan.