You surely all know the feeling of falling in love at first sight. Although it is not yet love, but affection. Also a lot of you might have experienced the different stages of a romantic relationship, right?
The 4 (+) stages of love
You know you are in the first stage, when you want to spend as much time as possible with the significant other; you think about that person non-stop, really everything is reminding you of him/her and therfore the only thing you want to talk about with your friends is that specific person. And your friends will be annoyed because of that at some point! (Or they are in the same stage as you, you guys don’t listen to eachother at all, both of you keep talking about their special person and everyone in this friendship is happy…) At the second stage you start to get to know the person of interest a bit better. You start to see (and count) similarities and differences, while you are happy about every single similarity and straight ignore all differences. You are most likely willing to try all sorts of new things, depending on what the partner likes…. And you find out that there are some things you like and other things that you don’t, but you will surely concentrate on the things you both like.
The third stage is when you get more comfortable with each other and when you start to see the flaws of your significant other. Here is when you aknowledge the differences and decide, if the things you have in common and like about the other person overweigh the differences, i.e. if you want to stay together or if it is better to end it before you find yourself some years later stuck with some unhealthy relationship. If you decide to continue that journey, you will eventually enter the fourth stage. There you will start to realize that you really love the other person and that you gain the freedom to have look outside of the relationship. Of course i don’t mean in a cheating way, because you love your partner, but you can hang out with friends and actally concentrate on their lives again. What they are concerned or happy about and what it going on with them in general. You maybe also start to develop new interests or pick up hobbies from before the relationship or you try things with your partner that are new for the both of you. There are probably other stage following, but I haven’t entered these so far… so I also can just guess what will be coming after that…
But what does this has to do with Japan?!
Well, maybe it is just me, but you can fall in love with something different than another human being as well. We usually call that “being passionate about something”, but I personally think it is more than passion, I’d prefer to call this love. Passion is mostly like a straw fire; it’s hot as hell, but burned-out in a few moments, whereas love is a more long-lasting kind of warmth. This love can be towards all sorts of things, like your favorite hobby, your job or like in my case a country. I love Japan and I think I made to the fourth stage. And yes, of course I went through all of the previous stages. Those of you, who know me long enough and well enough, might have noticed my love development already some time ago.
The annoying first stage, when the only topic of my interest was Japan. I was fascinated by basically everything. Like the delicious food, the exotic culture, interesting society and … and… and even political matters… (?!) But this new love was also the first step towards the end of my human relationship at the time. Well let’s say it was simply time for me to move on (Sorry, but not sorry 😉 ). The get-to-know second stage with my new love begann, when I decided to study Japanese studies at the university. And wow, looking back I couldn’t have made a better choice! (No regrets so far) While studying I entered the third stage. I learned that not everything nice and perfect in Japan. That there are things I actually don’t like about Japanese society f. ex. the pressure to be polite towards everyone all the time, no matter what. But I accepted the flaws and chose to still love Japan. And then the fourth stage came around. I finally managed to develop interest for other things again. Thank god, my friends didn’t leave me in between! Although I have to confess, that it is still my favorite topic to talk about and that I still listen up, when someone mentions the word “Japan”…
It is definitely a non-physical relationship, but honestly, this love gives me so much strength to endure the harder times and the power to develop personally in a way that I would never have expected. Although it could never replace a human relationship on the long run, I believe in a peaceful coexistance!
BTW I will travel to Japan next week, so stay tuned for more articles!