Well……… this is a little bittersweet because it’s already the last post! This fall semester really has flown by, and honestly it has been a whirlwind of emotion. Everything that the Temple’s study abroad program coordinators talk about in the beginning are true — culture shock, elation, budget, etc. There are so many things that I think have changed many of the students here over the course of just a few months… but I’ll start with some of the little everyday things:
- You’ll start referring to temperature with Celsius instead of Fahrenheit
- You’ll get used to sharing the sidewalks with bell-less bicycles.
- (One way to avoid crashing into them is that you just have to walk ahead with a very focused stare!! As long as you’re not trying to get out of their way, it will be a smooth passing.)
- You’ll carry an umbrella because the weather can be moody.
- Almost everyone uses LINE, and you probably will too. You’ll also probably get addicted to the cute sticker packs on there.
- The conbini (convenience store) food is actually pretty tasty… even junk food here is not that poisonous to your bodies.
- BUG SPRAY IS YOUR BEST FRIEND IN THE SUMMER!!!
- A lot of people wear the same thing… but you will probably pick up that trend because let’s face it, Japan is super fashionable
These are only some of the things that I can think of, but I’m sure there are more. I am absolutely positive you will have mini identity crises along the way and struggles to reconcile cultural differences, BUT these are all necessary to ultimately understand Japanese culture on higher levels. If you’re living on-campus, you should definitely try to meet people outside of the college circle. While it’s also nice to grow together with other people who are feeling and experiencing the same things as you, you can also learn more from putting yourself out there (and chances are, the Japanese people would love to meet you too since they, too, are interested in American culture)!
For me, it was really, really helpful to meet some of the older folk in Tokyo. Specifically, Glenn and Mari from the Japanime internship (offered through Temple’s credit internship program!) because they explained many things to me and were so hospitable!! (If you’re interested in the Publishing Industry and looking into internships, I highly recommend Japanime because you will learn a lot about the process of bookmaking and about cultural differences and Japan in general if you just want to talk!)
Even your teachers here would be good people to talk to, since they’ve lived here for a long time. It always puts things into perspective to see how someone who has come before you has adapted and loves the country they’re in.
Personally, I have learned so much this semester. I can’t tell if my world got bigger or feels smaller, now that I have spent some time in another country… but I am so thankful for all the things I have experienced and all the people I have met while being here!! Truly the end of a year that I will not forget.