‘I can change my life whenever I want to.’

When she was fifteen Sari moved from Hong Kong to her grandmother in Osaka, to try living in Japan. 

What does happiness mean to you?
Having relationships with other people. I have a younger sister and brother, so I was thought to be independent young and I always tried to be. But nowadays I realise that you can’t live alone. Connection with other people is really important to me. When I feel happiness it is always when I am around other people.

What is your background?
My mom is from Hong Kong and my dad is Japanese. I am born in Hong Kong. When I was five years old, we moved to Osaka for one year. This was the first time I learned Japanese. When we came back to Hong Kong, I went to a Japanese school and made a switch in language from Cantonese to Japanese. Nowadays I am more comfortable with Japanese and I only speak Cantonese with my mom on the phone. When I started high school I moved to my grandmother in Osaka, because I wanted to experience life in Japan. I went to the university in Kyoto and studied business. When I did an exchange to Hong Kong for one year, the city felt completely new to me. I explored Hong Kong from a Japanese point of view which made me realise, life was always easy in Hong Kong. With less structure and rules. I live in Japan for seven years and got used to the Japanese culture. I have a full-time job in international sales in a Japanese manufacturer of electronics. Although I really like my job I don’t work much overtime, like a lot of people do in Japan.

Where do you stand in life?
I feel happy and never regret having moved to Japan. I do miss Hong Kong, but my parents visit me sometimes. I enjoy my life in Kyoto and made a lot of new friends. I live in a dorm with 30 Japanese people and have my own room that is about 9 m2.

Are you familiar with the 30 years dilemma?
Yes I’ve heard of it but I am happy with my life as it is. I don’t worry about what’s next, I can change my life whenever I want to.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you have a dream?
I think I will go back to Hong Kong, but first I want to achieve something in the company I work for. I want to obtain new business from new countries. I dream of traveling around the world, starting with South Africa. I like meeting new people and going to new places.
I never desired to get married, but now that my friends around me are getting married, it made me realise I would like to have my own family once as well.

What wise lesson did your parents teach you?
Just live as you want to, my parents didn’t really control me, that’s why I could be here. They support me in my decisions.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would still have chosen to move to Japan, but I would take care more about my family. I didn’t have a good relation with my parents before I moved to Japan. In Japan I got homesick, the distance made me realise how much my family means to me.

When was your last moment of happiness?
I can find small happiness in every day, mostly when I am with my friends. Like last night when I went out with my friends in downtown Kyoto.

Under The Same Sun is een lang lopende reisreportage die je kunt volgen op onze reis- en lifestyle blog Meet You at the Bridge. De reportage laat overeenkomsten en verschillen zien in wat gelukkig zijn betekent voor vrouwen tussen de 25 en 35 jaar afkomstig uit diverse culturen.

Lees hieronder voor alle interviews.