Monday, October 02, 2006

Realities of Life

So, it was super early in the morning, i wasn't able to quite fall asleep, and i decided to write a lil somethin that was on my mind... 3 pages and an hour later i was tired and fell asleep, haha, anyways, gotta say this is a bit deeper than my previous posts, haha, i'll see if i can find some fitting pictures later, just wanted to post this quick before i head off to class in 10 min

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Monday, October 02, 2006 – 2:20am

Well, its almost 2:30 in the morning, and I seem to be unable to fall asleep, more than likely the fault of being up till 7 or 8 the previous morning and sleeping until 3pm. I haven’t even been up for 12 hours yet, haha.

So… I thought I’d just write a lil something for a journal

Its been quite an adventure so far, coming all the way to Japan. The time before when I came here was nothing but a wonderful experience, so much so that I was set on returning even before I left. That of course, was purely vacation, as well over the most popular and most important holiday of Japan. I mean its just guaranteed your gonna love it if you have any interest in the society or culture.

This of course, is not purely vacation. I’m here to study, study abroad. Granted I have been told that the classes will be much easier, as I won’t be surprised if they are on account of, finding English speaking teachers in Japan is not an easy task, much less good ones that specialize in the fields you need. However, nonetheless, this is going to be daily life, not vacation, just regular life as a student, except one difference: I’m in Japan.

On account of that, its not gonna be all fun and games all the time, and I know that. My biggest concern is money right now actually, but it appears as though I’ll be able to get a job teaching or tutoring English for $30/hr. Oh yea, definitely good to be fluent in English in a country that is dying to be the same, and has seemingly a difficult time doing it.

However, there are a number of other concerns and major issues I’m sure I will face in the upcoming months. There were quite a number of preparation things that I needed to do before I left for here, however the one thing I seem to remember most vividly is a graph provided in an orientation booklet, which shows your general mood and emotion during your study abroad time. Now they’ve been doing this study abroad thing for ever, so I can safely assume it will probably end up being a rather accurate depiction of how my experience may go as well. I do however believe I am more prepared than others in this adventure I am undertaking, as I have already seen in some other foreign exchange students I have met. It amazes me and just throws me into bewilderment as to why some people here and yet aren’t very open to accepting differences in a different society or aren’t open to trying out new things and new foods that they may not be accustomed to. I mean, if you can’t be willing to adjust your daily habits and diet to what is more customary to the local culture, you’re gonna have a miserable time here, not to mention look like a complete and total stupid foreigner. Way to go, please continue to further the stereotype of baka gaijin, I’m doing my best to prove others the contrary.

Anyways, this graph that depicts your general mood goes something along the following lines. The pre-departure period is kind of a low, on account of not really a whole lot to do concerning studying abroad. You really just sit on your hands and wait until you leave, filling out the occasional, and very distracting, paperwork and other such things in preparation for leaving. Once you get closer to actually leaving, your mood goes up, way up, in an excitement of this new experience. I think they forgot to throw in a huge dip the week before, no thanks to the stress of figuring out how to pack for a year. Anyways, once you arrive in the country, you really feel an elation of excitement in being in a new place, a new home, and a new exciting life.

As time progresses and you continue on into a daily routine, you eventually begin to face more challenging issues of social acceptance based on the culture’s belief systems and values. You can imagine the conflict that may arise when political, cultural, religious, and other values that you hold do not coincide with other friends and locals in the country you now reside in for the next year. At the same time, with this and other various reasons, you begin to second guess your reasons for coming 6300 miles to the other side of the world in a different country where most all signs are written in characters you cannot read yet. As well many people speak your language broken at best, and something as simple as ordering food at a more traditional restaurant that you want to go to becomes a difficult and almost humiliating experience at times. Eventually you learn to cope with these differences, perhaps find those whom also agree with you, learn the ins and outs of how to get around, and rise back up into a more positive general mindset.

These issues then come around once more, for an even deeper dive down into confusion and distress, related to the previous reasons, but to an even larger degree the second time around, this time on specific and major issues that you hold very dear, yet others have a very different vantage point on. Many people enjoy clubbing, smoking, and drinking on a fairly regular basis, whereas you may enjoy other activities instead, yet still seek social acceptance with those who do. You may also run into a number of situations where you are discriminated against, purely on account of your nationality. Despite your best efforts in becoming culturally accepted by immersion into a society, there are those who will never accept you as a member of theirs. Conflicts in religious beliefs may also prove to be a major issue. With religion being the very core of someone’s morals and values, it may be very difficult to see eye to eye with people, when their basis is completely different from yours. At the same time, more pressing issues of life, related to religion among other things, may also prove difficult to cope with when other friends do not believe the same way.

Like the first major dip, you will eventually learn to cope with these issues, and come to terms with your current situation and life. From then on it is a fairly smooth ride it seems, with the occasional ups and downs on the way, but your mindset as a whole has learned to cope with daily life in your current situation.

Now I have not experienced all of these yet, I have some, and am aware of other issues I am sure I will becoming face to face with, however it is almost a numbing experience thus far. I have done a great amount of reflection on some major issues I will be facing, as well my stance on them. I definitely am glad I am here, and no matter what happens, I still hope to maintain a positive attitude towards it, as it truely is a once in a lifetime experience I am having, so I would really love to make the best of it I can.

But it really has been almost… numbing so far. I have been anticipating this experience for a year or so now, but it seems almost too much to take in, that I don’t really know what to feel about it. Of course I was very excited and happy to finally come here, but at the same time, there is so much involved and so many things I am experiencing, it feels as though my body is numbing the sensation as to not overload with emotion and excitement. At the same time, I am pursuing acceptance into this culture, and that would be very difficult if I am spending my time overwhelmed in the amazing new sights and new experiences that are just regular everyday things to the millions of people that already live here.

Its very mysterious. I was not expecting this experience to be like my last, as daily life is very different from vacation. Perhaps that as well provides some reason as to my recent mindset. Then again, I’ve yet to meet up with my friends from before as they have both been busy, so everything I have been doing since has been a brand new experience, completely created on my own accord. It seems almost a conflict of interest inside of me. One part screaming with excitement to be fulfilling my goals in this once in a lifetime experience, whereas another part is trying to dumb it down as to not get too caught up in everything, leaving me potentially more vulnerable to a large crash once I face the not so lovely side of living in a different country.

Anyways, no intention of giving off any negative feelings of being here so far. I’m definitely having the time of my life, which I’m sure many of you have seen from the over 200 pictures I took in less than 2 weeks. It seems I’m well aware of what’s in store for me this semester, but I’m at a loss of what do to about it until I get there. More than likely I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always been doing and have been since getting here. Just go with the flow. I can’t know whats going to happen, but I know I’ll be able to work through it somehow. I’m sure this will be a wonderful experience, and I will grow even more through the issues and experiences I will have in the next 10 months.

Sometimes I honestly feel as though I’m still gonna wake up one day, and find myself back in Milwaukee or Minneapolis, back to my normal routines. But it seems slowly and surely enough, that feeling is fading, as each day I grow more and more accustomed to daily life in Tokyo, Japan.

2 Comments:

Blogger Supreme Lord said...

here is a little something that may take your mind off of these very important and deep decisions you are facing...

TWINS WINS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!
2006 AL Central Division Champs!

10/02/2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger Kurisu said...

YOU SON OF A- GAH!!!!!

yes indeed amazing news... BUT I HAVENT LISTENED TO THE GAME YET T_T NOOOOOOooooo.... haha, oh well

FRICK YEA TWINS WIN BABY!!! I'll write a huge post on that after I listen to the game when i get home. I wonder how well Silva's new fastball grew works, that would be major sweet if he's our #4 man for the playoffs if he does well

Anyways....

GO TWINS!

10/02/2006 4:14 PM  

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