Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Start of Something New (Ethan)

I’ve been in Japan for a few days now so from a geographical standpoint, my journey in Japan has already begun.  From a learning standpoint, though, my journey is just now starting.  Aside from a day trip to Niagara Falls, I’ve never left the United States before and the farthest places I’ve been from my home in the Chicago suburbs are Puerto Rico and San Francisco.  Being in such a new and different country, I have a flood of different feelings and emotions. 

As I set out on this journey I’m (sorry for sounding cliché here) both excited and nervous.  Currently my excitement outweighs my nerves and I can’t wait for all the experiences I’ll have here but there are still a few experiences that I’m nervous about.  I’m fairly self-conscious when I speak Japanese with fellow American students, so I’m very nervous about adapting to speaking with Japanese natives.  It also makes me nervous when I think about the fact that I’ll almost definitely have several experiences involving cultural misunderstandings.  Of course, these experiences will be the most valuable part of my journey and will be what truly helps me to explore and understand this new culture, so, while these coming experiences do make me nervous, I’m excited to learn from them.  I’d be lying if I said learning was all I’m excited about though.  I’m excited to meet people, to experience various aspects of Japanese culture and pop culture first hand, and to try tons of delicious food.

Coming from a background with very little foreign experience, I think that over the next semester I’ll learn some of the most valuable lessons in my life.  I’m nervous but I feel ready for what the next few months throw my way, and come December I hope I’ll have grown much more as a person.
View from Where I Will Be Staying the Next Four Months


Hannah said...

Making mistakes is the best way to learn, and hopefully Japanese people will understand that we're trying.

Emma said...

I'm also worried about talking with Japanese students, but once you embrace the fact that you're gonna make mistakes (even if you're 99% sure it's textbook perfect) everyone I've met in Japan has been so appreciative that I'm trying.
At the same time though I know i've had interactions in Japanese that are basically my miming things and confusing everyone involved.