So I’ve been in Japan now for a little over a month, and I can’t deny that there are times when I miss home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving life here at the moment, but something might happen that reminds me of my friends and family back in the States. Or I might have a very specific craving ( Jimmy John’s) that can’t be fulfilled here. With all of the fun and interesting things you can do and see here, it’s easy to keep your mind occupied, but then when you get back home and you have down time, sometimes you reminisce and miss the things you’re more familiar with. For instance, I miss the effortless communication. I’m somewhere between intermediate and advanced Japanese, but there are times when I’m completely lost when talking to someone. When I’m shopping, buying food at the convenience store or trying to ask for directions, there are some words that I don’t understand, or misinterpret. I miss being able to completely understand others. And of course, my kanji skills are pretty terrible, so I think I’m buying one thing, but when I get home I realize it’s something completely different! But for the most part communicating with the people here isn’t too difficult for me.
Mostly I miss the people, comfort food, and everyday things that we take for granted. I have yet to find the hair and skin products that I normally use, but thankfully I brought enough with me, and it should last until I go back home. But there are times when I could really go for Taco Bell, or times when I want to ask my mom for advice about something, or show my friends from back home the cute bag I just bought, but with more than 6,000 miles between us and a 12 hr time difference that’s not always possible…..
…..But I am here to offer some advice to cure those lonely days!! It’s 2013, and people have never been more “connected.” Facebook, skype, Line, Google+hangouts as well as a plethora of other free apps have been a godsend for me, and many others abroad. I usually set up a time to skype with friends and family on facebook weekly or biweekly. It’s a great way to catch up and see what’s going on in each others’ lives, as well as share fun and interesting news about Japan with friends and family.
Before I left for Japan, I took lots of pictures!!! With friends, family, co-workers, everyone! You can print them and bring them with you, or even make a collage and use it as your desktop photo. Bring your memories with you so that you can always look back at them…
, even as you’re making new ones!
As for the food problem…there are a couple solutions for that. One is make it yourself! Tired of eating rice all the time? Craving a PB&J sandwich? Then go make one! Bread and peanut butter here is a little pricey, but if you’re craving it that badly there are grocery stores and import stores all around Japan that might even carry the brands of food you love!
The second solution is to bring snacks from home. Any candy, cookies, crackers or chips that you can’t live without…pack it up and bring it with you, although if you do bring chips they will probably end up as mere crumbs by the time you arrive in Japan. Better than nothing right?? My favorite candy bar is Snickers, and luckily enough I’ve been able to find them in convenience stores here, but if you like uncommon snacks, they may be impossible to find. So make sure you bring enough!!
The third option is to try something similar. I really love Chipotle, but of course there aren’t any here in Japan…but there is a close second. It’s called Frijole, and it’s very popular among the students at my university. Pricing is about the same…taste is a little different, but delicious! And they’ve got chips and guac! What more could you ask for?
Another option is to have your parents or a friend send you your favorite snacks in a care package, although this can be a bit expensive, not to mention it will take time to get to you. But if you have the time and the money it is an option to consider! For now, that’s all I’ve got. Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading!