Sometimes, being an outsider is all right.
On our many trips abroad over the years, we have always been outsiders. Not so much in the UK, where most people don’t usually realise we’re not one of them, but most definitely in places like India, Ethiopia, Egypt and Japan, even when we dressed like the indigenous population.
In my childhood, I was an unwilling outsider. Like all children, I wanted to fit in but I never did.
However, my outsiderness was never as severe as Martin’s. He suffered in silence, learning behaviours that made life bearable as a child, but didn’t prepare him for being adult.
That all changed for Martin when he was sent to Japan to represent his company, not necessarily in a good way, although ultimately…
No, I won’t tell you the ending of Cultivating a Fuji, the new edition of which is out in one week: 19th January. You can pre-order it now from Amazon.
Nowadays, I’m happy to be an outsider. As an author, it’s helpful to get an outsider’s perspective. And I like being unique, rather than fitting some pattern. What a shame that children can’t see those benefits, or accept differences.