Although I returned home a couple of weeks ago, I am still re-adjusting to college life in America. Perhaps because my host family often cooked for me, I forgot quite a few items while shopping for my usual groceries. Because I did not purchase a phone in Japan, I relied on punctual scheduling and specific meeting places; here, I almost panicked before remembering that I could actually use my cell phone to contact family and friends.
Many of the exchange students here at Nanzan University have taken up part-time jobs at English cafés or restaurants and have said that, although they speak in English, work is a fantastic way of meeting new people. Whether the customer is Japanese or a foreigner, everyone is coming together to socialize and practice communication skills.
As a runner and spin enthusiast, I came to Nagoya thinking there would be plenty of sports centers and bike trails where I could continue running, riding bikes through parks, or enrolling in a spin class. To my surprise, I discovered that exercise is not particularly popular among the Japanese, and even less so among college students.
As the semester (and trip abroad!) winds down, we ryuugakusei must balance time preparing for final exams, papers and presentations with time meeting friends and exploring new destinations. I hope to make the most of my time in Japan by not only making the grades, but also enjoying all this unique culture has left to offer.
It’s unbelievable that I have been living in Japan for nearly a month already!
While I’ve been in Nagoya for nearly two weeks and this is where I’ll be studying during the fall semester, I started my trip abroad one Shinkansen ride away. My journey began in Kanagawa Prefecture, where I was able to stay with the family who hosted me during my short trip two years ago.