October 1st | 10月1日

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We made it! We are in Japan. Orientation week is over, and now we are on our way to truly living our studying abroad dreams.

Let me just start off by saying our start to studying abroad was less than ideal.

  1. We were told by JetBlue that they could not check us in to our flight because we did not have return tickets. After much protest, they settled on telling us that we would get deported upon arrival, even though we have Student VISAs valid until December 2018. [Who told us this? His name was Wan and he was the supervisor of JetBlue, I still want to say a select few unkind words to him as this caused us much anxiety on our travels, but we made it, so instead, I will just say JetBlue is one of the worst airlines, ever!]
  2. Our flight to NY was delayed. I arrived at the airport at 5:30, did not leave for NY until 9:30. However, we made it to NY in time for our flight to Taiwan!
  3. One of my bags was lost at JFK, or maybe at RDU. Not entirely sure, but I have my bag now. The one person dealing with baggage that spoke English, was dealing with a very disgruntled passenger, so I had two very nice Japanese women helping me. I tried speaking in Japanese, but… That was difficult. Eventually though, it all worked out. Thank you, Yoshi!

I think that was really all of the difficulties that we experienced, a less than ideal start to the studying abroad experience; however, if this is the worst thing that happens to me, that’s fine.

Our flight was very helpful in allowing us to not have Jet Lag, yes we were tired everyday, but I think that is mostly due to the fact that we are not used to being surrounded by Japanese. It is an exhausting process having to adjust your mind from one language to another. Basically our flight put us arriving in Japan at 12:00pm. Then, we waited for the shuttle bus to arrive at 3:00, but with my lost bag debacle, we only were sitting around waiting for maybe an hour and a half. We arrived at the school around 4:00, had some quick run downs of rules and how to get into the dorm room. A group of international students that have been here for a year already took a group of us new arrivals to Kawachi-Kokubu and showed us Daiso a 100-yen store, where we could do some shopping for things we wanted.

(This was my third time ever riding on a train– I think I was able to look calm, but on the inside I was nervous! I rode on the subway once before in NY which was most like this experience, but it is scary doing things like this with a bunch of strangers, I will definitely admit that. However, it was not that bad, at all! Since that day, I have ridden on the train A LOT more than I would like to admit, as I have gone out everyday, except for today).

Our placement test put us in the lowest level of Japanese classes offered, Pre-Intermediate, which was a bit disappointing, but I know we will learn a lot and we are excited for our classes to start! In general, I am really enjoying my study abroad experience thus far, and I am so grateful for the chance to be in Japan with two of my closest friends. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we get to go through all of these emotions TOGETHER. That’s not something just anyone can say and I think that it is great that we can be each other’s support system here in Japan. However, we will also have to push each other to not just speak to one another in English even though it is the most comfortable way to go about speaking. We all mutually feel as though if we speak in English often, then we will be using it as a crutch, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not beneficial for us to develop as much as we would like to in Japanese.

On a side note, my arthritis medicine traveled almost completely refrigerated with me to Japan. For the long flight I had them put it in the fridge and then, the flight attendants gave me ice on the shorter flights– so I think it is okay, I am risking it anyway!  Also, I have my doctor’s appointment at Osaka City General Hospital on October 27th. Hopefully it goes well, and I do not get lost!

Next week (10/8), I will see about getting my two friends, Jackie and Troi, to help make a video showing you the Osaka-Kyoiku Campus as well as pictures of what each of us are doing with the space we have in our dorm rooms.

M.

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