For a long time, I’ve realy wanted to go to Japan, and now that I’m here, I realize nothing could have really prepared me for it. It would be like showing someone a photograph and expecting them to fully appreciate the beauty of the scene. Most people would expect the most shocking cultural aspects to be big things like language. However, I have found that the small things (hand gestures, license plate format, the tastes of foods that also exist in America, etc) are what make Japan truly amazing. From the first day in Tokyo, to today in Aomori, I have been trying to experience as much as I can, despite jetlag, because everything is new and exciting! Not to mention, contrary to my wishes, I might not be coming bac soon (although I hope to possibly someday study abroad here).
Communicating with Japanese people is sometimes difficult, but by using fragmented Japanese and motions, the message is eventually conveyed. I know a little Japanese, and I’m Asian, so with the combination of those two aspects, I seem to be fooling the locals into thinking that I’m native! One interesting thing that has happened as a result of being here in Japan is that the language switch in my brain is all messed up. I’ve been answering Japanese people in English, and Americans in Japanese! So far, my trip has been super awesome, great, and a little surreal, as I’m having a hard time believing that I’m actually finally here!
Finding the right words to sum up what I’ve experienced so far would be impossible. Suffice to say, it’s immeasurably fun, every day is an adventure, and as soon as I get home I’ll start saving up to come back again!
-Rose Horowitz, 14, Harpswell