Diary Post: Goodbyes are Bittersweet – Reflections of the Past 4 Months in Japan

After I have posted this entry I will have been all packed and ready to leave Japan or have gone home.  The last thing I am doing is going to see Wild 7 with two really goods friends on the 21st.

What can I say? I hate goodbyes. Everyone does. I really don’t want to say goodbye to this country that has given me some of the best memories of my life and saw me grow as a person. As I am writing this, I am on the Shinkansen going back to Kyoto after being in Tokyo for the Kanjani8 concert.  I am feeling a bit sad, so I guess I will reflect on some of the good and the bad things, as well as some of my favorite things that I will miss from my study abroad here in Japan in these 4 months.

  • The Transportation: I will miss the transportation here in Japan so much. Even though a bit expensive, I love the convenience and how you can get most anywhere on a train or a bus. It’s so convenient.  Especially in the Kansai Region of Japan, I could get to Kobe from outside of Osaka in about an hour. Even though I don’t like bikes that much, I will miss riding my bike to my university everyday or to the supermarket to get food.  I will also miss the Shinkansen. I love riding it, even though it is expensive.
  • The Customer Service: Even though people call the Japanese two faced sometimes, I can’t help but to love the customer service. In America, it’s always so rushed. In Japan, they take the time to package your items nicely and to say welcome to the store.
  • Shinsaibashi and Osaka: I will miss Shinsaibashi so much. I have so many memories of going to Shinsaibashi with my friends; memories of the Johnny’s shop, Mandarake, getting my Hair Cut, Purikura, clothes shopping and so much more. I will always remember my first visit to Shinsaibashi with my roommates and how much fun it was. Osaka in general I love so much. It has such a personality and I wish I had more time to explore it. My heart will always be in Osaka because it is where I have spent the most time here in Japan and I feel the closest to. I honestly feel like an adopted Osakan at times.
  • The Friends: I will miss the friends that I made here so much, especially my Japanese roommate, my Johnnys buddy and amazing friend at my university here, Meghan, and last but not least my “older sister” Ci. I am going to miss you all. I really am.
  • The Concerts: I was so lucky to be able to see three concerts here in Japan and they were amazing. I am going miss Johnnys concerts so much. I am going to miss listening to my favorite music live and feel apart of something amazing for once in my life. It’s not just the actual concerts, but the memories that were created from them with my friends. I was so lucky to be able to make these amazing friends that love the same things as me and have the same goals as me.
  • The Bad Times: It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies everyday. I struggled a bit in this foreign environment. Even though I had been here for 4 times before, I had a hard time at some points. Some of that had to do with me going to graduate in May and not knowing what I want and I still don’t know what I want. I struggled with some cultural difference between me and the Japanese people and I have started to get used to it. Just as I am starting to get used to this environment, I am being pulled back into my home country. I wish I could stay longer, but I can’t.

This is only a small reflection of a wonderful 4 months. I can’t describe what I am feeling right now and what I have experienced the last 4 months in just one entry.

Goodbye Japan! This is not the end, though.

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Becoming More Social, Pandas and Shark Tanks?

Lately, I have begun to force myself to hang out in the international student lounge more than I have before. The reason? Because I want to become more social. Not really to make more friends, but learn how to interact with more people in general. I want to become more of a people person and know how to act in many different situations. Why is this? Because I tend to talk about myself a lot in conversations with people. This is because I don’t know how to start a proper conversation at times.

Something that I found interesting lately was the subject about Japanese girls and interacting with foreigners. Japanese girls love to come up to you, talk with you, croon over you, and call you cute all in a whirlwind of questions being asked to you. After that, you don’t really develop a friendship with them. My friend’s teacher described this as the “Panda affect”. Basically, the Japanese girls want to treat you almost like a panda, “play” with you “croon” over you and then leave you when they are done; meaning that you don’t really develop a deeper relationship than that with them. Of course, this doesn’t describe every Japanese girl, just a generalization that I have noticed at my Japanese university here.

Actually, the nickname of our international student lounge between the international students here is the “Shark Tank”. This is because the student lounge is incased in all glass and the Japanese students will stand out in the hall for a really long time, looking into the lounge to get up the courage to go in, and then more time to actually go to talk with the international students. They also come up to us and ask us survey questions that their English Professors have asked them to do. It is quite annoying when you are trying to work in the lounge or you are getting ready to go to class that starts in less than 5 minutes and a Japanese person comes up to you and asks you to do a stupid survey.

I really wish there was a better way to foster international language exchange between the international students and Japanese students that is more comfortable for both parties. I bet it is tough for the Japanese students to get up the courage to come and talk to us, but at the same time its annoying when you are working on work and you have a stupid survey that is being asked to you. Afterall, this is a Gaidai; Gaikouku Daigaku (Language University). There should be a better way to foster language exchange bewteen both parties.

Do you guys have any ideas?

Peace out and Much Love ❤

Lauren