So apparently last week, my time in Japan passed the one hundred day mark. When you think of it that way it sounds like such a short period of time, but every day so far has been jam-packed! You really don’t realise how much time sitting down and blogging takes up until life gets in the way. Anyway, to mark this little milestone here are some things I’ve learnt from my exchange experience so far:
1. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Coming to Japan I assumed the portion sizes would be small, which is true to a certain extent. However, the difference is you get way more value for money than you would in Australia, and my idea of a fairly priced meal usually ends up being way too big. First world problems, right?
That was some seriously good strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Fun fact: Baskin and Robbins in Japan is literally called 31! It’s pretty much the only chain of ice cream stores around here, so I go to fill the gelato-shaped hole in my heart.
2. Bring your camera everywhere or prepare for regret. I went on homestay for a weekend in June, and it just so happened that I broke my phone with all my photos on it! That’ll teach me ignore a smashed phone screen for too long… Anyway, despite that little mishap I had such a lovely time on homestay that I didn’t want to leave. The couple I stayed with had a son who already moved out, so my host mother was so excited to have a daughter for a weekend haha. She was also kind enough to take tons of photos and send them to me!
I wasn’t expecting much from homestay at all, but my host parents took me to this amazing suspension bridge and a famous waterfall in Ibaraki. It was honestly the best experience I could’ve asked for, so if you do get the chance to do homestay on exchange definitely go for it!
3. Japan’s summer is no joke. There are no words to describe it really. I used to think the heat in Australia was bad, but the humidity in Japan is something that I’m totally not used to. Not to mention the fact that everything in my area is concrete and there seems to be no air, amplifying the effect of the heat! I’ve never been so grateful for how lush and green Australia is. Anyway, can you believe this is the same river as the one in my sakura post? Time really does fly…
4. There’s no need to say yes to every traditional Japanese thing you’re invited to. I mean, the idea of tea ceremony sounds fun but sitting on your knees for hours gets old fast. Many Japanese people never even experience things like flower arrangement or kabuki themselves, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t get the opportunity!
5. You have a bigger impact on people than you realise. This obento box was from a high school visit when my friends and I made presentations about our home countries. Just the excitement and reaction to us made me realise how much of a big deal it was for us to be there. In the countryside people rarely engage with foreigners, so the experience made me really aware of my impact on people out here.
Somehow, I think living in Sydney for so long has been like living inside a bubble. It’s so easy to fall into a routine, attend university and go through life without ever making deep connections or trying new things. In contrast, in Japan I’ve made so many good friends and done so many things I never imagined I’d be doing a year ago. It’s actually kind of humbling, in a way. Anyway from here on I’ll be slowly sharing the photos I need to catch up on, so bear with me. Until next time!