Campbell Shaw (41) grew up in Timaru and now lives in Hiroshima, Japan. Mr Shaw originally went overseas to work as a ski instructor, liked the country, so began teaching English and has remained there for 16 years. He now works in light-gauge steel-framing. He lives with his wife and has two children. The Courier‘s George Clark caught up with him to see how his life has changed overseas during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Q Hi Campbell, thanks for talking with us. Has life changed for you during Covid-19?
Living in Hiroshima, not much changed at the beginning. I watched what was happening on the news of big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and the main Island of Hokkaido being hit.
Then people became complacent and travelled, continued to socialise and then it hit here quickly. We have isolated ourselves (as the Japanese Government can only strongly urge and not enforce.) So just staying home, studying for my new job, exercising, reading and a lot of TV. All in all a bit boring but not as isolated as New Zealand was. Well done Kiwis!
Q Is living overseas much like home?
It is what you make of it. I have decided to live permanently in Japan and your mindset shifts to accepting that. Making it home. You have to adjust, as nothing you do will make it exactly like back home but you can do your best with what you have. The differences? Everything. The main difference is the culture and language. So many different customs to learn for different situations. Food is not a huge shock. There is a wide selection and choice. The people are great, welcoming and friendly, so it is easy to settle in.
Q How is Covid-19 challenging you?
Physically I am doing well but mentally it can be extremely challenging. Learning to cope and deal with everything in steps, not focusing on a task as a whole. I have learnt that I am great at adapting and creating a new schedule, changing my way of life quickly and continue to do so. As a family we are doing more together at home such as cooking, puzzles and having themed nights. Tonight is Mexico, so Mexican food and tequila. My new hobby is studying more and trying new whisky.
Q What do you want to do when the Coronavirus tension eases?
Just get out and travel! I was supposed to be in New Zealand now but that is cancelled. As soon as it is finished I want to travel somewhere here in Japan. Hopefully make it home to Timaru for Christmas.
Q Do you miss home?
My favourite memory of Timaru has to be the Stafford St Santa parade.
I would go upstairs, in dad’s shop (Mac Shaw Menswear) and sit on top of the awning for the best view.
I obviously miss my family and friends, but really miss the convenience of Timaru itself. It is so accessible to everywhere you could want to go.