Week 17 – The End of the Line

By the time this is posted, it will be Sunday night here in Nagoya. A few friends will have already left to return home or go on further travels throughout Japan. I’m not sure how emotional I will be by that point. Like with arriving here, I wasn’t sure when the weight of departing would hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’ve elected not to give a shit. After all, the unknown has been tamed. I spent four months in a foreign country alone and I killed it. In less than a week, I’ll be home, eating American food and catching up with friends I miss like crazy. There is nothing to be afraid of now, except when I’ll get to see the friends I met here again.

We are a pretty spread out bunch as far as origins. Some of my best friends are in Canada, and one of them is even further north in Alaska. Reuniting will be a future endeavor that we are all anxiously awaiting. However, if I’m honest, I’m not that worried about that either.

Circumstance is a big factor in how people connect. The friends I have back home became my friends over years of seeing each other in school, learning about one another and slowly realizing we tolerated each other enough to actually enjoy one another’s company. The way I feel talking with my friends here isn’t a whole lot different.

Granted, we all share that desire for friends given that we are out of our shells and we all live in the same building. Plus, I would argue seeing all your friends naked at a hot spring and just goofing around will accelerate the bond of any friendship tenfold, as weird as it may sound.

So what are my thoughts on going home? I’m excited to see my friends back home, I’m disappointed I’ll be leaving the ones here, and I’m only nervous about the 12 hour flight. I think I’ve stated this before, but if the biggest worry for the past month has been airport check-in, I’d say I’ve been doing pretty well.

I still can’t quite believe that I of all people went to my parents one day and said “hey, I think I wanna study abroad.” If there is a lesson for the end of this journey is that when you get that voice in the back of your head saying “this would be a great opportunity for you,” maybe you should listen. Because once you take a leap and try some crazy and awesome stuff, you can rest easy knowing you got there because of you.

This is the end of the line, but since all of this was technically a blog for a class, expect an epilogue next weekend. A more research-based conclusion that sums up what I learned. However, for now, consider this the true ending to this cool little story.

Thanks for reading.

Week 16 – Making the Most of It

My friend Chris came to me this time around for one last get-together before I returned to America. It was a long and fun day bringing one of the last two weeks to a satisfying close and actually ended up being a lot more than initially planned (which is always a pleasant surprise). Ever since I first met up with Chris in Nakatsugawa, we talked about him visiting Nagoya, but now here we were, with me playing the tour guide.

Continue reading “Week 16 – Making the Most of It”

Week Four And A Note About Future Posts

This will be a short(er) post, as in the middle of my second week of classes, I realized that I really didn’t have much to talk about. Understand that the purpose of this blog is to document my journey through this semester in a foreign land, charting the big landmarks along that journey. The particular angle I decided to tackle in particular was my emotional journey as this is my first time alone out of the country.

If what happens in a given week doesn’t particularly challenge me, immerse me in the culture, or even give me reprieve from homesickness, I don’t want to just ramble on every week. So Sometimes the posts will be short and sweet and sometimes there won’t be a post at all. As long as I have photos I will try to post something but worst case scenario, any small details I skip over in one week will be incorporated into the next week’s post.

All that being said, I can give a couple of notes on the goings on this week.

First, the biggest shocker. My budgeting was a HUGE success. I aimed to only spend 10,000 yen a week and I was able to last with that for about two weeks! If I can keep that up, I’ll be saving a ton of money this trip, but that depends on what merch I buy and what new hobbies I potentially pick up. Speaking of which…

I might be getting into Magic the Gathering? It’s a slim chance but hey, if I have the free time, why not get closer to the guys in my dorm who play it too. I’m either gonna stick with it and get super into it or I’m gonna lose a lot, get frustrated and never play it again. Last night I literally had a game where the whole time I was thinking “I don’t think I can commit my time to this.” Maybe I’ll be wrong.

The same night though I think I started to get a lot closer to the dudes in my dorm, though, cause we played Smash Brothers on the Switch and ranted about all kinds of junk. It’s the kind of night that I’m used to experiencing with my pals back home, so if I have more like that going forward, I’m gonna be really happy. It certainly was better than one of the ore official social gatherings the school ran.

A welcome party for new students? Free food? Group activities? The first two sound fun, though group activities always make me feel a little awkward. I had so much more fun talking with Japanese students after the activities were over than when we were participating in a scavenger hunt. Mainly because of the language barrier, but also because I probably missed some icebreakers on account of missing the first part of the party. Still, I got to meet a few new people that I was happy to talk to, so it was worth it.

All in all, this week was business as usual and flew by. That may sound boring but I take that to mean that I’m feeling at home, which is the best thing I could have hoped for.

Week One – The Weirdest Week of My Life

Before we begin, fully prepare for the titles of these weekly blogs to get progressively less creative with each week that I report what has happened. God knows around week 12, I’ll be struggling. However, if that’s the full extent of my struggles, I’d say I’m in a pretty goood place.

Last year, I wrote a lot about all of the expectations and wishes and whatnot for my trip to Japan, but now I’m actually here and wow is it… something. It’s definitely as I imagined it, yet my experience within the culture is not at all what I expected, probably beause I didn’t mentally prepare in my final days in the united states. Regadless, let’s go through my first solo trip out of the country.

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