5 Weeks Left, 5 Things Missed, 5 Lessons Learned

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Since study abroad students have only five more weeks left in Japan I decided to commemorate my remaining time with a few lists. To be specific, two top-five lists. Although I’m sure these lists can go on and on until the cows come home, for the sake of time (and sanity), I’ll keep them to my top five. Ready? はじめましょう!(Let’s start!)

Top Five Things I Will Miss About Japan (no particular order)

1) Punctual Trains

2) The Convenience Stores

3) Seeing Japanese Artists in Concert

4) The Food

5) The People

1) No need to worry about being late or fear that the train will be late. Unlike in the US, if the platform board says the next train will arrive at 2:23, at 2:23 the train is there. I won’t miss the chaos of morning rush hour, but I will miss such punctuality.

2) I’ll miss my friend, the conbini. I’ll miss being able to pay my bills at Lawson and being able to get concert tickets at the Loppi machine.

3) Speaking of concerts, as a person who loves Japanese music, I’ll miss being able to see my favorite artists in concert in their own country. Miyavi, Shiina Ringo, BACK-ON, etc. These are artists I would’ve never been able to see if I didn’t come to Japan and I’m beyond ecstatic that I had the opportunity.

4) I’ll definitely miss the food. I cook Japanese food for my family in the US, but there’s something special about eating Japanese food in Japan. Even something as simple as ramen has a different taste in Japan.

5) And of course, I’ll miss the Japanese people. I’ll miss their politeness. I’ll miss Naito-san, who would give me a free cream yaki when I pass his どらやきshop. I’ll miss the children I pass on my way to school. At first they would just stare and point, but I would bow and greet them with おはようございます (good morning) and continue walking. For the past month now, they greet me back, saying おはようございます and my mood is instantly lifted.

I always look forward to seeing Nagito's smiling face.

I always look forward to seeing Naito-san’s smiling face.

He knows my face so well that he saves a cream yaki just for me!

He knows my face so well that he saves a cream yaki just for me!

Top Five Lessons I Have Learned in Japan

1) Have An Open Mind

2) Experience All Parts of the Culture

3) Make Friends

4) Try to Overcome Language Barriers

5) Take Risks

1) I think it’s the most important because it opens the door to everything else. Before coming to Japan, I had to be mentally prepared. Japan is not my home country and as such, I had to have an open mind and be prepared to adapt.

2) I sought out all aspects of Japanese culture, not just what is popular. Not only did I go to Akihabara and Shinjuku to partake in the anime and fashion of Japan, but I also went to Osaka and Kyoto to visit the temples and got a first-hand look at the more traditional side of this wonderful country.

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My friend and I went to Maica in Kyoto and she was transformed into a Maiko!

Even though it was raining that day, you have to appreciate the beauty of Japanese shrines and temples.

Even though it was raining that day, I love the beauty of Japanese shrines and temples.

3) I can’t stress how important making friends is when you’re abroad. Whether they’re 日本人か外国人 (Japanese people or foreigners), the friends I have made in Japan are a big reason why I didn’t spend every day in my room.

If I stayed inside, I would have never met these lovely ladies.

If I stayed inside, I would’ve never met these lovely ladies.

She always provides me with a little fellow-foreigner comfort and I love her for it.

She always provides me with a little fellow-foreigner comfort and I love her for it.

4) A language barrier should not prevent anyone from enjoying Japan. I took the opportunity and used Japanese as much as I could and met a lot of great people because of it.

5) To make the most of my time in Japan, I pushed myself to do things that I wouldn’t have the courage to do back home. Through taking risks I learned that I can reap the benefits and this newly found courage I like having.

Looking back on these things, I realize something….

FIVE WEEKS ISN’T ENOUGH! I’M NOT READY TO LEAVE JAPAN YET!

(Time to find my TARDIS)

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