Dennis Bagstevold

Blog

DefurInTokyo → ※ Defur

Going home from work.

Going home from work.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to rename my profiles from DefurInTokyo to ※ Defur (or komeDefur) to accomodate for future events. I have been dreading this moment for about two months now after I came to the conclusion that I will no longer be residing in Tokyo.


To give a "too long; didn't read" of my story so far and where I am right now. I came to Tokyo in January of 2016 as a game developer intern for the Japanese game company GAMKIN, Inc. After being an intern for about 5-6 months, I became a contracted employee. As I got my Bachelor in Game Design & Project Management after the internship which is required for a working visa, there was a 2 months process to handle it. When finished I had my "Cultural Activites" visa switched to an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/Intelligence Services" visa. After that I worked as a normal employee until March of 2017 where I resigned.


Right now I'm not even sure what will happen in the near future. To be truly honest it makes me nervous, scared, happy and sad, even frustrated? all at once. There is so many emotions that have been packed into one lately, that I almost feel like a growing ballon, where the air sometimes lets itself out when I'm not ready.

I've written down all of the reasons for quitting my company in a document. However, I feel like publishing everything it would probably come back to haunt me in the future. Some reasons are fair, some are petty and written out in frustration, some highlight both my and the companies mistakes. Either way, I wanted to write a bit about my thoughts to share and for me to reflect upon.

Stopping outside a konbini.

Stopping outside a konbini.

One of the main reasons that I am leaving Tokyo now is because I've felt stuck. Usually feeling stuck now and then is normal in life, we can't always be pushing forward. At least the last part was something I kept telling myself. After a while, this feeling of being stuck started to kept me up many nights, kept me from leaving home when going to work which making me arrive late, it also made me frustrated over the short length of weekends during Sunday afternoons. It was the kind of thing that made me rush to the arcade on the lunches to practice one game over and over so I had something else to think about.

Eventually the thought started consuming me, and gradually started making me lose my energy. I started seeing people less, went to fewer events, stopped working on most of my side projects and also made me stop cooking at home. While this could be seen as the normal process after becoming a full time employee, it was the opposite of who I am, and it was changing at an alarming rate.

 

Why did I feel stuck?
Maybe it was because I lost my way of looking forward.

 

Build them up, break them down.

Build them up, break them down.

Last weekend I attended a story telling event where I told the story about one of my adventures when traveling in Japan. I prefaced the story by describing myself. I explained that I was the kind of person who tried to look into the future way to much, and never stopped to think of the present. It's a description that me and my close relatives have described me with for many years. After I said that out loud it stuck with me the entire weekend. It made me realise that some things about me have changed into something I don't like.

Lately I haven't been able to look forward at all. Which begs the question, if I'm a person who never thinks of the present, and now no longer thinks of the future, then what I am I? Just a clueless being floating about?

When thinking of my thoughts from the past few months they have mostly really been  there to covering up my emotions and keeping them busy ("Wow look at this cool thing I did!", "Man I'm having so much fun right now"), while the truth has been following me around like Boo from Mario.

 

"You aren't ready for this. You are wasting your time."
- My Mind

 

Chin up, eyes forward.

Chin up, eyes forward.

Before coming to Tokyo, people would joke to me and tell me about the horror stories they've seen of Japanese work environments through various media. "They work super late!", "People never go home!", "You won't be able to do anything!". My University teacher jokingly told me that I probably wouldn't have more desk space than for a tiny laptop. I brushed these things of and didn't think that much about them. And most of these statements were things that I didn't really get to experience. I think this was something that eventually caught me of guard.

I was expecting a lot of things to just go wrong and be able to take care of them, but instead things crept up to me over time. They were subtle in a way that when I found out about something it could make me absolutely (de)furious, but I had no one to discuss it about, because it had already been settled. It could me me missing something in a meeting because of the language barrier, then at the day of the deadline I could be questioned about why things weren't done as discussed. Other things was not shown to me in a way that I wasn't sure if it was because if it was not related to me and my work, or if it was because I wasn't trusted with the information. Many times things like these made me feel powerless and outright stupid. Normally when facing trouble it makes angry first, then really hyped to actually learn and change something within myself. Here? It just sank in and weighted me down.

Me a year ago would say "Do whatever you want to do! You're talented and eventually you'll make it work, so stop worrying and just do what you want." then smile and give me a good ol' pat on the back. Now I think of these words with a hollow tone. Almost like my old self shouted it down a tunnel and the present me can only hear the faint echoes bouncing off the walls.

"Huh?... What was that?"
- My Decreasing Self Confidence

With these thoughts swirling about in my head, I eventually had enough and decided that if I continue like this, I will probably be (ghost in) a shell of what I was before I got here. Thought it is important to note that I do believe that I have learned a lot from this experience. and had many great moments. I've met some truly wonderful people, among them being the love of my life. I've gotten to see and be a part of things that would've been impossible in Sweden and that I've dreamt of as a teenager. I'm leaving now, but all of this has made me want to come back to Japan some day, with the condition that I should return with more power to make my own decisions. This by learning the language more, learning more of who I want to be, and get more experience to be able to create a life where in which I can be proud of who I am.

 

 

I look forward to that day.