4 Things I Learned from Living and Studying Abroad

And, finally, to round things off are the things that I learned while I was studying abroad. These are less relating to Japan specifically and more to do with the experience as a whole, but I’m sure anyone who has studied or will study abroad might be interested to read them!

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4 Things I Miss About Japan

Fear not, friends! Not everything about living in Japan was all doom and gloom; quite the contrary. It’s an amazing, really unique country filled with wonderful people and places and things, and in spite of the things that annoyed me during my stay, my heart is still full of wonderful memories that I’ll carry forever.

So, here are four things that I miss about Japan.

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4 Things I Don’t Miss About Japan

Living in Japan was a great experience, but as people who have followed me since I left to live there will know, I do not like everything about it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still love Japan and that I didn’t enjoy my time there, just that there were certain things that annoyed the crap out of me, or problems that I personally couldn’t make myself ignore.

It should go without saying, but everything that follows is just my own personal opinions and experiences. I make some generalisations, but recognise that they are generalisations; I don’t mean to invalidate anyone else’s alternative experiences of Japan and I also don’t mean to frighten anyone away from studying there! These are just things that bug me (they might not bother other former gaijin at all), from my point of view, and while some might be indicative of wider problems that might affect a lot of other people, please don’t take them to mean that Japan is awful and you should rethink going, because it’s really not! Studying in any country will always have its downsides.

Anywho, here we are: four things I still don’t miss about Japan. Be warned, it’s long!

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Hisashiburi!

It’s been quite a while now since I arrived home from Japan - about five months in fact, yikes - and I’ve neglected to post due to a variety of reasons (personal, short attention span, being busy to name a few).

In the spirit of rounding off my experiences properly, I’m finally going to post what I mentioned ages back: posts about my most and least missed things about Japan, and one about things I learned from my experience studying abroad. After that, I don’t really intend to use this blog all that much any more as I don’t have much to blog about with regards to Japan, but anyone who wants to is welcome to follow me on my personal blog. I’ll still leave this one up so that people can use the existing content as a resource if they’d like, but I won’t really be posting or answering questions here any more.

That said, keep an eye out for my next few posts! ♥




残響 ~Reverberations~: The Darker Side of Japan →

Ending the ‘comfort women’ euphemism

What are the right words to describe Asian women who were forced into sex slavery for Japanese troops during World War II? Should they be called former “comfort women” as they have been so far, or be referred to as just “sex slaves?”

The terminology has…

(Source: view.koreaherald.com, via turian-chocolate)







toshibu:

If you have an hour and a half to spare, take time to watch this film about foreigners living in Japan. It’s quite interesting. It really hit home on a few things.


Very accurate, in both the positive and negative discussions.

(via fuckyeahnativejapanese)




Being Gay in Japan

This has been shared by a few people I know, so I thought I’d share it with you guys, too.

The existence of things like yaoi and shounen-ai makes a lot of people who’re interested in Japan but have never visited think that it must be super positive about homosexuality, but actually, it’s quite the contrary.




iamthequene said: Hi! :D I've been following your blog for a while so I was thinking you could help me... I'm 21 and I'm going to apply for a scholarship to study in Nagoya University, so I've been reading some articles about life in Japan, which have made me realize studying abroad is not as easy and pretty as I though it was. So please, based on your experiences, how difficult do you think life is for a foreign woman living alone in Japan? I'll be VERY grateful for your help <3
Hi, I sent the last question :3 I forgot to add something— my japanese is at a basic level D: Even though the postgraduate course is completely in english, the language barrier would make daily life more difficult isn’t it?
Generally speaking, life can be pretty difficult but whether or not it has an effect on how much you enjoy life here depends entirely on the person! Experiences vary greatly; there are some people who came here with basic language skills last semester who had fun at times but mostly couldn’t wait to go home, and there were others who absolutely loved everything about Japan and living in Japan and didn’t want to leave even though they could barely understand a word of Japanese. Even with people who know their way around the language and culture, there are those who feel totally at ease here and others, like me, who don’t and never will feel comfortable or at home. Those of us who don’t feel at home tend to be a minority, though.

I guess it’s a difficult question to answer, since I don’t personally know you, and even if I did, you can’t always tell how well someone is going to cope with the change of cultures and the language barrier. Someone might be an incredibly resilient, adaptable person who adores Japan and is near fluent in the language, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll breeze through their time here and love every second of it.

Personally, I find the language barrier one of the easiest things to deal with - it’s the little differences like costs of items, lack of availability of certain things, being treated differently because you’re non-Japanese, different teaching styles at uni etc. that can be the hardest to cope with. Language can be an issue, but there are ways around it, like making friends who know a little more Japanese, or getting creative with other means of communication like gesturing. Most people who are at a basic level can still get around fine, because they know most of the really important stuff (like how to order food or ask for directions), and even if you can’t speak well, after a while living here your listening and understanding skills will improve a lot.

Anywho, it’s just important to remember that studying abroad anywhere is almost never easy. Even in places where the language and culture are basically the same, people still get culture shock and they still get homesick. You’ll be living thousands of miles from your home and friends and family, so of course it has it’s moments when it’s hard! You’re entitled to find it difficult.

But, just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean that it won’t be enjoyable or rewarding. Even though I have days where I feel awful and want to go home, I’ve also had plenty of days where I’ve experienced things that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I’ve done a lot of things that I’ve dreamed of doing since I started studying Japanese. Has it been difficult? Hell yes. I’ve had some really shitty days and hit some all time emotional lows while being here. But, when you put everything in perspective, when I go home it’ll all have been totally worth it.

I hope that’s useful, I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. ^^;