I cannot believe there are only 3 months left and my journey in Japan will end. Every time I think of it, everything seems so surreal. On one hand, I am pretty excited to see my friends back in Nottingham and start the year in a shared house but on the other hand, I’m really sad to say goodbye to my friends here and leave behind my third home. I will never forget my friends here, both Japanese and international, the sleepless nights spent too many times a week, the amazing food I had (especially yuzu chicken ramen), the breath-taking sceneries of Kansai, the sleepless Tokyo and the amazing Japanese conduit.
Home is also a difficult topic to discuss about. When I will leave Japan, destination will be Nottingham, not Romania and only friends(not family) will be waiting there. I am excited about meeting my friends and future house-mates in England but also really miss my family and friends in Romania. However, I will probably go back to Romania during Christmas time. Honestly, I don’t expect my friends and family to have changed in any ways, and would not really want it. I actually hope they remained the same, old cheery ones.
I am really looking forward to meeting my friends and family and sharing what I have learned and experienced during my time here. I know my family and most of my friends will be amazed by my stories, as most of them only know Japan through movies or fiction.
During my time spent here, I can say I became a lot more cultural aware : I learned a lot about the Japanese way of life and culture[how religion actually equals tradition and how it is embedded in the Japanese culture] but also a lot about other cultures as well. Due to my good Pakistani, Syrian, Turkish friends, I learned a lot about Muslims and the Muslim way of life. Although I am not really a religious person (I believe religion lies within our hearts) it was really interesting for me to see how other people perceive it and how important it is for them. Due to my travels in Thailand and Malaysia I also learned a lot about South-East Asia and also noticed the high difference between Buddhist Japan and Buddhist Thailand.
As I am already used to living away from home and in my opinion easily adaptable to new environments, I do not believe I will have a major cultural shock when I return. However, I know that I will highly miss Japanese people’s way of conduct. For me Japan will always remain the place where people always treat you the way they are supposed to [a basic example: if a shopkeeper has a bad day in Japan no one will notice. Why? Because even though he/she’s having a bad time he/she will not show it and will do his/her best to please the customer? On the other hand, had that happened in Europe, most of the times, the shopkeeper will behave inappropriately and grumpy as if it was the customer’s fault]
I can say during my time here I also became more responsible and started getting ready for the future. As I really needed a job I applied to several companies and had several interviews. I can say this was an important step I had to take for my career development. Working at the moment for a Japanese company is one of my first work-related experiences and I can say I am highly developing my current skills and acquiring new ones.
One of the most important things I came to realize is that life is short and that I should make the most of it. As an old Japanese proverb says sakura(cherry blossoms) pretty much resembles humans : its life is short..but amazing while it lasts. I feel that during the time spent here I came to realize how lucky I am to have achieved what I have until now and how I should cherish every moment. I can’t really say I was previously completely ignorant about this , but I can say that at the moment it feels like the climax of it.
However, my journey here has not yet come to an end. In these remaining months I still have big plans. I hope to return to Kansai and say goodbye to traditional Japan , hope to visit my friends in Korea and finally obtain an internship for the summer.
Thinking about the final goodbye always makes me sad and everytime I think about it everything becomes ‘natsukashii’. I find a lot of confort in expressing myself using this word which can either mean melancholic, dear or missed. That’s how Japan already started feeling for me. Knowing this, I will try and make the most of my remaining time here.