日本੧[ ⁰ o ⁰ ]ʋ

So Japan. Nihon. にほん. 日本. Yeah, that’s a thing that’s happening.

See, every time I’ve gone to write this post, I was never exactly sure what to say. So, I figured we would just list the facts, and then inevitably end up rambling a lot. Let’s begin, shall we:

  1. In October of 2016, I applied to my school’s Osaka, Japan abroad program (run through USAC [University Studies Abroad Consortium]).
  2. I was excited when I applied, but I also didn’t think I would get in (nor did I really think it through as much as I should have).
  3. By November 2016 I had been accepted into the program.
  4. There was a long period of nothing. But then came January.
  5. Holy Hell. THE PAPERWORK.
  6. There was a lot of paperwork and fast approaching deadlines. Somehow though, by April, it was all done.
  7. There were departure orientations throughout the entire semester (I learned a lot).
  8. More nothing until June, when we were accepted into the Host University (Kwansei Gakuin University).
  9. I have recently bought my plane ticket and will be leaving on September 5th and arriving September 6th in Tokyo, then heading for Osaka on the 7th.
  10. As for whether this is all very brave or very stupid? Well. The jury is still out on that one

BONUS:

  1. It will cause me to graduate a year late (which is fine. I’m still graduating).
  2. There’s no turning back now.

There is no denying or questioning that I am VERY excited to do this. I have always wanted to study abroad (though as an English major, I always figured I would end up in London or just Europe in general), and I think this experience will be life changing. It’s more than just taking classes in a new place and taking some tourist photos along the way. It’s an entire new language and culture that I know little to nothing about. Yes, I have done some studying here, bought some culture books, took Japanese 113, and am continuing to study over the summer. But, studying and reading. Hermione Granger said it best:  “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things.” I don’t think any amount of studying will really prepare me for the journey ahead, because actually experiencing something is different than just reading about it. Even when it comes to learning or speaking a new language. Reading and writing it is very different than actually having to speak it out loud.

So yes, I am extremely excited, thankful, and truly blessed for this opportunity. But. I am also scared out of my mind (though truthfully, I don’t see anything wrong with being a little fearful). Before I had moved to Nevada (where I have been for almost two years now), I had lived in the same house with the same friends for 18, almost 19, years. Moving, for me, was really hard. I missed my friends, I missed my old home, I missed my old coast (because you know, my family couldn’t just move like one town or state over. We had to move across the country from New Jersey to Nevada. Go big or go home, right?). It was challenging, but I also think that in moving,these last two years I have learned a lot about myself, the person I am, and the person I want to be.

Going abroad… It’s not going to be easy. I’m going to miss my family, my dog, my friends, my job. I’m going to be uncomfortable, but that’s okay because I’ll also adjust, adapt, and learn.

Though originally when I applied I may not have thought it through as thoroughly as others, I did make a conscious decision at the time about what I wanted my study abroad experience to be. I wanted to learn a new culture, learn a new language, and be thrown outside my comfort zone. I wanted to be pushed and challenged.

Well, I can certainly say in deciding to go to Japan, I’ll meet these goals.

I have about 76 days left until I get on a plane to Japan. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m happy, I’m anxious, I’m confused, I’m overwhelmed. I’m a lot of things all at once, and I didn’t know it was possible to be so many contradicting things at the same time. 76 will soon turn to 75, 74, 73, and so on. Regardless of all the things that I feel, I truly can’t wait to see what is in store.

It’s going to be one Hell of a ride.

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