For many, a hobby is what makes life worth living. It’s that moment of Zen at the end of your day or the relief you get after dealing with work drama, bad bosses or any of the myriad of challenges that life throws your way.

One of those challenges? Living in Japan. Well, living anywhere outside your native country, really. When you live abroad, you leave behind friends and family and pretty much start from scratch. Cultivating a hobby, whether old or new, can make that move easier: something I realized when I came here in 2017. In my case, the hobby — the passion — was theater.

I’ve been an actor since I was 5 years old. Granted, I’m an amateur actor but a performer, nonetheless. Growing up, evenings and weekends were dedicated to drama, singing and dance lessons, and I took part in countless local productions. At university, I immediately joined the drama club, acted as its president during my second year and performed at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I cannot be kept away from the stage; if I go without it for too long, I feel restless, itchy almost.