Twenty two years ago today

17 Oct

Today is 2012 October 17th.

I came to Japan on 1990 October 17th…twenty-two years ago today.

I was twenty years old when I came here, so I’ve lived most of my life in Japan now.

Four years ago, I wrote a post about some of the changes I’ve seen in Tokyo since I came here.
(Click here to read it.)

1990, the year I came to Japan, was the year of the “first” Persian Gulf War, and it was the year that the Berlin Wall was torn down—reuniting East and West Germany.

Berlin Wall being torn down, 1990.

I believe that Boris Yeltsin was elected the president of Russia that year, and Ireland elected their first female president then too.

I can remember 1990 very well because it was a big year for me…I began my life in a country completely different from the one I was born and raised in. Twenty-two years ago today.

Can you remember what you were doing in 1990?

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16 Responses to “Twenty two years ago today”

  1. Jens October 28, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    22 years is indeed a long time – I also changed my habitat in the autumn of 1990, but not as drastically as you did – moved only 70 miles to the nearest bigger city, Malmö. So I’ll also always remember that year very well.

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 28, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      Sorry I don’t know … where is Malmo?

      Like

  2. David October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    > the year that the Berlin Wall was torn down

    Depends what you mean.

    The wall was *physically* torn down in 1990, but politically it was actually in 1989 when the East German government gave its citizens permission to visit West Berlin and West Germany.

    Gah, I can’t edit my comment. (I edited it for you. -T5)

    Just wanted to say, congratulations on sticking it out so long. I’ve only been here four and a half years; at this point I can’t really imagine myself being here another 18.

    In 1990 I was still in high school 🙂

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      >Depends what you mean.

      Well, I was only using it as a point-of-reference. I mentioned some of the major world headlines that were in the international news when I moved here.

      >I can’t really imagine myself being here another 18.

      I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Especially after all these years—I’m more used to Japan than America now.

      How much longer do you plan to stay in Japan?

      >In 1990 I was still in high school

      Well, you’re not too much younger than me. I graduated from high school only two years prior.

      Like

      • David October 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

        > I was only using it as a point-of-reference

        And I was just being a tireless pedant. Sorry 😉

        > Well, you’re not too much younger than me. I graduated from high school only two years prior.

        You say you were 20 when you came here 22 years ago, so that puts you at 42 (six by nine!) now, which is 5 years older than me.

        > How much longer do you plan to stay in Japan?

        We’ve just bought an apartment, so it’s likely to be for a few more years at least. No fixed plan though; plans always change. I only planned to be in Germany for 1 year but ended up staying there 9 years before I moved to Japan.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

        You bought an apartment but don’t plan to stay long-term?
        Seems just renting would be a better decision (financially speaking), in that case.

        Like

      • David October 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

        > Seems just renting would be a better decision (financially speaking)

        You would think so, but we thought about this for a while and it turns out not to be the case.

        – Interest rates are incredibly low in Japan. They have been for some time, and there’s no indication that they will rise significantly in the coming years.

        – I currently receive contributions towards rent from my employer, but that’s for a limited time. When that stops, paying the full rent for my apartment will be unfeasible.

        – We’ve bought an apartment that’s almost exactly the same as the one we rent (in the same building). The monthly repayments that I will pay for the loan are significantly lower than the full monthly rental price.

        – There were a number of fees that we had to pay related to purchasing. We calculate that we will recoup that with what we save from the loan repayment being lower than the rent.

        – Finally, property prices in the area do not seem to go down very much. It’s conveniently located for schools, shops, doctors, etc and it’s a very easy commute into central Tokyo from two nearby stations. We expect to be able to sell it for not much less than we paid, if not the same price or a bit more.

        > but don’t plan to stay long-term

        I never said I don’t plan to stay long term. I just don’t have a fixed plan 🙂

        In reality that means I’m staying here for the foreseeable future.

        There are many things that could happen though. I might be given an international assignment from my current employer. We might decide to move to my wife’s hometown. I might get an incredible job offer back in Europe. Etc, etc. None of them mean we shouldn’t buy, though. We can always rent it out.

        Did you buy a house or apartment here? I would assume yes, if you’ve already been here so long.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 18, 2012 at 7:12 am #

        Yes, I own my place too.

        Like

  3. bartman905 October 17, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Wow, congratulations on your 22 years in Japan – and many more I am sure.

    No, i don’t remember what I was doing in 1990 – actually, now I don’t even remember what I did last week, that’s what happens when you get old and senile like me :-).

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      Maybe you can’t remember 1990 if not much significant happened then for you…but I’m sure you can remember the exact day you came to Japan—just as I can.

      Like

  4. finorgan October 17, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    It was a significant moment when Mary Robinson became President of Ireland in 1990. She reinvented the role and her successor, another woman – Mary McAleese, was equally progressive and proactive, contributing hugely to the peace process in Northern Ireland. In fact, the two female presidents were so successful, that this year when we elected the first male president (Michael D Higgins) since 1990, it was another significant moment!

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      I think women should lead every country.
      There would be a lot less war and a lot more human rights!

      Like

  5. AstroNerdBoy October 17, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Wow. So we were in Japan at the same time. I was there from April 1989 to April 1991. Of course when I left, I didn’t realize how much of Japan I’d miss. A part of me will always be there.

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Yeah, I guess my first six months here were your last.

      If you came back to Japan now, you’d see that much has changed over the past two decades … and much is still the same!

      Like

  6. Paul (@BlueKutsu) October 17, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    Woot, congratulations! Certainly an occasion for reflection, I guess.

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      Well, I don’t reflect on it too much … it’d make me feel old(er)! 😉

      Like

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