Saturday, August 30, 2014

As I Begin My Journey... (Chris)

As I begin my journey, I feel nervous, but also excited. I have wanted for so long to go to Japan.   I realize that in about 11 hours, I will be boarding a plane to Japan.  Specifically, I will be in the city of Hirakata near Osaka and Kyoto. There I will be studying and living Japanese culture. The excitement is there. But, I am nervous. Nervous about normal things such as, “will my luggage arrive with me” or “will I miss my flight?” But, there are other things to be nervous about as I take my first steps in going to Japan. This is my first time traveling alone via airplane, and my second time leaving North America. This experience is new to me, and I do not really know what to expect. When I finally arrive in Japan, will I be able to get to my bus? But, putting all of my worries aside there is much to look back upon to see what has lead me to this point in my life.

First sight of Osaka from my airplane.

My interest in Japanese culture started when I was in middle school. My hometown of Red Wing had a sister city program with a town in Japan. I was selected to go to Japan as a student ambassador. But, the trip to Japan that year was cancelled due to the H1N1 epidemic. I graduated from high school, and went to Beloit College. I decided to take Japanese and further increase my interest in Japanese culture. I have since then studied the Japanese language for two years, took a course on samurai literature, and have done a summer language course to further prepare me for going to Japan. It has been a rough two years, and now I get to see the fruits of my studies and spend a semester in Japan.  I am excited and I know that I will have fun studying, exploring, and making new friends all in Japan. 

1 comment:

glassgourd said...

I can definitely relate to all of the worries about traveling internationally by yourself. Everything is made more complicated by the language differences, even if most of the signs in airports are translated into English. I think it first really hit me that I was in Japan when I saw all the kanji, hiragana, and katakana everywhere. That or the talking toilets.
Of course, all of these things are normal for the people who've grown up here, and experiencing these things first-hand is one of the rarer chances we have to see how subjective "normal" is. Eventually you get past the initial shock and get better (at least a little) at accepting and living in a new normal.