Tuesday, June 25, 2013

6 months in Japan

Hey gang. Here we are. 6 months in. And you're still reading my (rather sporadic) updates. Yay! Or at least I hope you're still reading them. Hmmm... If you're reading this, give me a shout out in the comments down below! It would be nice to figure out how much of my stats are my mom and how much are spam!

Anyways. Six months. I really honestly can't believe I've been here that long. Feels like just two or three weeks ago that I felt like I had all the time in the world do do what I want to do in Japan and now it feels like my time is almost up! Yes, six months to go, I know, but it's going so FAST!

Before I move on to my updates, I just want to say that I'm really, REALLY glad I chose a year long program. Yes, there have been times I wish I had chosen a different program, but overall I am very happy with where I have ended up. (Being honest, sometimes the Waseda University kids make me うらやましい. Seriously, why do I have to pay club fees and you don't!?! That's just crazy!) Seriously though, I feel like now, at six months, I've finally settled into how everything works here. Yeah, I don't get it all the time, but, for example, taking a bus somewhere I've never been without making extensive maps and directions ahead of time isn't a panic inducing nightmare. It's more of a day-to-day thing. Besides, if I get lost, which happens frequently, I can ask for directions.

I have also in the last couple of weeks become amazed at my Japanese skills. I'm not ubberly fantastic at Japanese, but I know enough to get by in my daily conversations. I can write out responses to people without having to look up every word or kanji that comes up. I'm not constantly triple checking my Japanese (which may or may not be a good thing. Jury is still out.) because I have become more confident in my ability to speak to it. Not to mention, I feel like my friendships are starting to solidify. Not because of time, but because I am confident in putting the time and effort into them. I'm no longer terrified of screwing up my Japanese majorly or having anyone decide I'm like an extra suitcase because I understand so little. It has really helped me start taking steps forward in realizing the confidence I have and that I am not just at this basic basic level like I thought I was back in the united states.

My recommendation for anyone planning to study abroad is to do it. I've said that. If you have the opportunity and the resources, always go for the longer option. Not only does it give you time to reach that "Wow. I'm decent at this" and gain your friends and confidence, but it also allows you to move on past that. I'm excited for what comes next. I'm not saying you can't do it in less, but really, at six months I'm feeling like I'm just now really getting things.

I do get questions from friends from time to time, so I'm going to address those quickly. Yes. I do miss home. I miss it terribly and there are still some days where I would sell my soul for a steak (6ヶ月ぶり *drools* ) or to be able to take the hour and a half drive to my best friends house or to hang out with my family and my, I don't think I've quite mentioned this, SUPER adorable beyond belief 3 year old sister and the rest of my family (Even you butt nugget. You know who you are.) or to be able to see my other friends who live in my home town. There have even been days where, given the resources, I would have uprooted and gone home. But you know what? The days that I love being here, even if it means spending the entire day in my room studying (Seriously 先生, why so much 宿題?) far outweigh the bad ones.

Homesickness. It doesn't go away. Here is how the homesickness roller coaster worked for me.


Month 2: I hate Japan. Everything's different. You're doing it WRONG. In America, we do it the RIGHT way.

Month 3: Hey. Okay. Japan isn't all the bad. Come on. Look. Some things are the same. Some things are different. Just work with it girl. You're okay. (Wow, felt like I was channeling Briana there. Sorry Briana.

Month 4: Perfectly fine about 68% of the time. Why 68%? I liked the number. That's why. And it was more than half the time.

Month 5: Fine about 75-80% of the time until my breakup. At which point I reverted to Month 2.

Month 6: Happy 90% of the time. Sorry to those of you I constantly bug the other 10% of the time.

My advice to anyone going abroad? Well I asked my friend if she would guest post for me since she's totally boss when it comes to everything. She's yet to agree. Maybe I'll buy her cake. Hey. If I buy you cake will you blog for me? Pretty please? I'm even asking in my blog!!! But something she said to me the other day is "don't settle." I didn't realize how much of my problems were because I had done just that. Up until I moved to the dorms I was moving every week at first and then knew I had another move coming in two weeks. I never really unpacked and besides, there was too much to do. I was always off on an adventure.

Once I moved into the dorms though, I settled into a normal pattern. School, clubs and unpacked. Now, I'm not saying don't go to class and don't join clubs. Some of my best times have been with my clubs! I'm not saying don't unpack either. Just remember. You are here only for a limited time. Don't get stuck sitting around in your room every day. Like Katie, my other friend, said, you're here for an experience. So don't forget to experience it. You don't want to be kicking yourself when you go home because you didn't go out and do things when you had the chance.

Next rule, also kind of from Briana. You didn't REALLY want to go there, right? But wait, that doesn't sound like a rule. Well, it's more of a statement that you aren't always going to end up where you want to be. Here's where I quote Doctor Who. Doctor: "You didn't always take me where I wanted to go." Tardis: "No, but I always took you where you needed to go." It's kind of just how things work out. Sometimes you get lost, sometimes the place has shut down long before you've arrived or you're there on a day when the place is closed. Things happen. Don't let it get you down. You'll find another adventure. Just look around, go of your itinerary and have fun. I need to take this advice more often.

If you don't know what it is, eat it. Even if you know what it is, and you really, really, REALLY don't want to eat it, try it anyways. You never know what you might like. While I might despise nato to the core of my being, namatamago (raw egg) is actually okay with some things. Like mom used to say. How do you know you like it if you haven't even tried it? Erm.. Maybe that was from Brave. Anways, I'm sure my mom said it at some point.

I apparently can go on about this for days. And yikes! This is longer than I planned! I'll have to include my updates in another post it looks like. I promise to try not to take too long about it, but I have a speech presentation tomorrow! Speaking of which, I finally pick up my bow tomorrow! So! Excited!


Anonymous said...

You looked backwards, but not forwards! <-- neither spam nor mother to anyone

qwacksalot said...

hey mom here and do go get lost everyone should you may have the time of your life ..and I did say that a lot I still say that as it goes for life how do you know you don't like it if ya don't try it ,have fun experience all you can
Huggs from home

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