Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Attendants, Please Be Prepared for Departure (Hannah)

As I set out on this journey, the most prominent thought in my mind remains the Japanese Language Placement Test. I worked all summer, and subsequently did not have as much time to study as often as I had originally planned, and therefore worry that my score on the test will suffer because of it. I also worry about the flight itself. While I’ve been abroad before, it was always with my family or a group of people with whom I had already been acquainted. I will have never gone so far and on my own. While I won’t be the only student from Beloit studying at Kansai Gaidai this semester, I want to try and tackle as much as I can on my own.

I’ll be participating in a homestay program during the semester, and I often speculate what the family will be like. I’ve hosted a Japanese student before, many years ago, and the homestay program was one of the reasons I chose Kansai Gaidai in the first place. Who will be members of the family? Will they have pets? Children? Are the rules of the house similar or completely different to those of American households? What little I know about Japanese home life comes from watching Japanese television in preparation for my journey, but I don’t give it too much credit since every house is different and television is often over dramatic for viewer pleasure.
Gifts for my homestay family.
As a segue, I’m not worried at all about food and alterations to my usual diet. As a Jew, I grew up without eating shellfish (like crab, lobster, shrimp) or pork, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that Japan, being an archipelago, eats a lot of seafood. While I’m sure I’ll be able to avoid pork fairly easily, I won’t avoid things like shrimp and octopus, and I’m okay with that. I’m not allergic, and I’ve come here to experience Japanese culture in all its forms, and I think I can be forgiven for that.

I’m prone to getting lost, and I can only hope that either my ability to read maps (Japanese and English) will magically improve, or the GPS on my phone will connect and not let me end up on the other side of the city! I have no idea what to expect when I arrive, and even in the first week of orientation I’m planning to keep an open mind so that whatever may come I’ll be at least somewhat prepared for it.
First sunset in Japan


Janet Epstein said...

We are so proud of you and excited for you to be able to fulfill this dream. We will forever remember dropping you off at Beloit your freshman year... knowing full well that you were know longer that little girl in pig-tails and an oversized backpack skipping in the front door of elementary school, not wavering in the least and certainly not looking back to see if I was still standing there (I was). Now, off you go to Japan - not looking back and certainly not wavering in the least. And... I am still standing there.. watching you go off into the world and I couldn't be more proud of you.

It's your dream come true - - You are in JAPAN!

Love and Miss you!!

Dr. Epstein DABVP said...

Everything that Mom said - and we look forward to living vicariously through your adventures. Love you and Proud of You!
- Dad

Millie Fan said...

HAHAHA, I think the most difficult part for preparation is we need to review the Japanese Language Placement Test. I almost forgot everything in Japanese during this long long break. And at the beginning of the class, there is a test coming ~~~~~ so nervous about it.

Emma said...

The Japanese placement test was definitely the worst for me, I just can't test well under stress!!!!! But (at least at Rikkyo) the placement test seems to be pretty accurate to my level.