Stranger in a Homeland chronicles one (woefully unqualified) American’s experience living and working in Japan. Through his misadventures—and dozens of high-quality photographs—you can:
– Immerse yourself in Japan’s rich, vibrant, and often baffling culture
– Delve into the island nation’s storied history
– Gain valuable insight into the wonder and struggles of a life begun anew
Kyle McCormick’s debut memoir combines humor, culture, and history into one nonstop adventure. From sprawling, city-wide festivals to ancient mountain temples, readers will feel as if they have embarked on a grand journey to a land unlike any other.
Targeted Age Group:: 20-40
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Ultimately, I just wanted to share what I was doing with my friends and—if possible—the world. I recognize that I’m just some small-town guy who took a chance on the opportunity of a lifetime, and I wanted to bring the joy and wonder that I was feeling every day to the people I loved.
I also wanted to show how accessible a new life is. Before moving to Japan, I had never been to Asia, couldn’t speak the language beyond a handful of phrases half-remembered from childhood anime, and had no prior teaching experience of any kind. Quite literally, if I could do it, anyone can.
This book started off as a one-size-fits-all informational guidebook about living abroad, along the lines of “A Gaijin’s Guide to Japan.” However, as I began writing, I realized that I had nothing new worth saying. There was no single nugget of wisdom that I could impart—no matter how wittily worded—that could not be found elsewhere a thousand times over, written more succinctly, and likely for free. As I continued to write about my first year in Japan, though, I realized something: I don’t want to inform you. I want to inspire you.
Any discerning reader may now be asking, one eyebrow raised skeptically, “And just who are you? Why should I care about your life?” The answer is quite straightforward: Within the context of living abroad for an extended period, I’m nobody.
That’s the point.
Before coming to Japan, my life was unremarkable. Like many American 20-somethings, I was staring down the barrel of a future that promised roughly two thousand 40-hour work weeks and then a short break before death, and I found myself dissatisfied. Never one to settle for a half-measure, I began researching alternatives. I stumbled upon a Japanese language school that was hiring native English speakers from abroad and applied immediately.
I had no particular advantage in pursuing this new life. I had never been to Japan before, couldn’t speak the language beyond a handful of phrases half-remembered from childhood anime, and had no prior teaching experience of any kind. All that I did have was enough clothes to fill a suitcase, a high tolerance for failure, and a strong desire to get off my couch and do something with my life.
Anyone with half these qualifications can have an equally remarkable time. Whether you’re a recent college grad looking to explore the world or a middle-aged divorcee on the brink of a mid-life crisis, a new life is now literally just a few clicks away. I chose Japan due to my longstanding interest in its culture and history, but I could have just as easily ended up hauling lumber in Alaska or trawling the Icelandic fjords—and so can you. Today, opportunity is a low-hanging fruit in near-limitless supply. All that you have to do is reach out and grab it.
Another point that I hope you’ll take away from my story is this: The only way to truly understand another country or its people is to live there. Once you’ve immersed yourself in a culture, day after day, and it begins to lose to the mystical appeal that drew you toward it in the first place, you’ve only just begun. Don’t get me wrong—vacations are rewarding in their own right. However, without any investment beyond whatever sum of money you’ve already resolved yourself to spend, there’s no potential for lasting, meaningful change.
So, as you read my story, try to picture yourself in my shoes. Imagine what you would do with an abundance of free time in an unfamiliar land. Picture the adventures you could have and the wonderful, unique, considerate people you might meet.
Then, if you so choose, make that dream a reality.
This is important, so let me reiterate: You can move abroad. Not the generic “you” in the sense of my readers at large, and not at some vague, idealistic point in the future when the stars align, and opportunity arrives at your front door with a wink and a smile. You, reading these words, can do as I have done, and as millions worldwide are doing at this very moment.
From the moment I applied for my program to the day that I stepped off a plane some 6,500 miles from home, the entire process took only four months. Consider that, then make this the moment your adventure begins. There’s a beautiful, brilliant world out there, and it’s yours to explore.
Time to chase the horizon.
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