I must confess, though, that I didn't like them very much at the beginning of my life in
9 years later the situation has completely changed.
The great thing about this country is, if you make the effort to get to know their people (and learn their language of course), most people treat you well.
People start seeing you not just as a foreigner but YOU as a person.
Most of the time I don't even feel like a stranger anymore, certainly not at this op-shop I work for. We have about equal numbers of Australians, second generation Australians and migrants and I'm just one of them.
People here show their strong emotions more freely than our people (Japanese) - that reminds me that here in this country I don't have to wear a brave face and hide my real feelings.
Once you are away from the corporate environment, you can unwind a bit and stop being too polite. Because people here are less likely to take things seriously and get offended by your jokes. Actually, the more jokes you crack, the easier it seems to break the ice with them.
People often tell you something like 'you're so nasty' or 'oh, you're in big trouble now by offending me so much' and you know they're just kidding.
And I know that I can crack jokes and make laugh out of our little faults or problems.
When I'm down, I feel so much better by just talking to them like that.
There are so many lovely, affectionate people down here who have accepted me and helped me out in my tough time, and I want to say thank you to all of them.