Like they always say, when one door closes, another one opens.
The other day, myself and 4 other fabulous students completed our 7 week intensive language course.
Tears may or may have not been shed by the others, but, speaking for myself, they often times came down like a never-ending waterfall.
The beginning part of this Japanese studies program concluded with us giving a 5 minute speech about our impression of Tsuru, Tokyo, Japan, everything.
This would’ve been difficult to write in English, much less Japanese.
I was a little worried that I would mix up my sentences and end of saying something completely out in left field.
But that didn’t happen. Everyone did wonderful. Whether it was mentioning how to they first became interested in studying abroad in Japan or how their first trip to Tokyo went, the speeches were well written and even better when presented. Until the very hours before presenting, we made it clear to each other that we had each other’s back.
Our nervous level was felt by everyone the 2 weeks leading up to the speech. Maybe that’s why they let us use our scripts when we presented.
[Pretty much me the moment I stepped off the podium]
Regardless, it’s over. The part of the program that everyone said would make us cry like children- has just been completed.
So happy I could do a jig.
Or anything for that matter.
Like I referenced in an early blog post, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from these 7 weeks. A lot of Japanese of course, however, just a lot about…
Like, accepting the fact that you’re going to fail every once in awhile. Learning to just spit it out instead of staying silent in fear of being wrong. Rolling with the punches that come along as you embark on a new journey (educational or otherwise).
Sometimes life comes at you face first.
That’s how it was when I first came here. Japanese, everywhere, all the time. Customs that you read about dozens of times in books, being practiced everyday and you’re expected to follow them.
You just want to have a panic attack alone in your apartment.
But sometimes you just have to,
Even when you feel like you don’t.
I remember someone telling (mom, was it you?!) that it’s better to walk into a difficult situation with a positive attitude. That way, no matter what, it’ll be even just a little bit better than if you went in as Debbie Downer.
What can I say. Life’s a bitch sometimes.
But when you keep fighting, it’s totally worth it.
The day of our final speech was also the graduation day for hundreds of Tsuru University students; a few of them I consider to be close friends.
It was beyond lively, nothing like I’ve ever seen in the United States. Student team and club members (who weren’t graduating) all decked out in their team/club uniforms and waiting outside of the auditorium. They made congratulatory signs and had champagne at the ready. When their graduating members finally made their way out, they threw them up in the air, regardless of whether or not their were wearing fancy kimono-like outfits, called hakama.
Why was it so lively? Maybe because this is the last chance for many of these individuals to really live it up before they enter the ever-exhuating, over-working life (there’s even a term in the dictionary that stems from this work culture, karoshi– literally working yourself to death) that comes with having a Japanese job?
Not entirely sure.
I was perhaps too preoccupied with the thought that my friends who were graduating that day are friends that I met as early as my freshman year of college. Most came as ESL students with the intention to polish up their English.
But created some of the best friendships I could ever hope for in this life.
Many of them are the reason why I chose to study Japanese, to come to Japan.
I’ve traveled the country with some of these people. Presented projects with them. Had 1am heart-to-heart conversations with most.
And now they’re graduating!
Onto the real world, with real-people jobs.
It was fitting that this ceremony took place after our final speeches. It reminded me that, when times are tough and you just want to give up…
You have happy moments like this, when you remember why everything is so worth fighting for.
Spring break is now beginning and I’m off-
Hiroshima, Kyoto and then…
Can you guess? 😉
Look out for pictures and blog posts to find out where in the world I’ll be next.
Much love always,
All of the gifs in the first half of the blog are not mine and were found via tumblr. Unfortunately, many of them were saved onto my computer a long time ago or were sent to me by a friend. So if you happen to see a gif that you created and you want credit for, please let me know!
Pictures, however, are taken by friends and yours truly.