The day is here and what I had thought was a dream has become reality. In fact, I am still in a daze and in shock that tomorrow morning I will not be waking up in Chattanooga and going about my daily life with my friends and family. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity I will not let go to waste.
Chicago itself is a large city with an airport to accommodate for its size; however, the Narita International Airport in Tokyo is one I have never experienced before. I have only stopped through here one time on my way to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in the 2013, but back then you had a crowd you could follow. In Tokyo there is no such thing. Everyone goes his or her own way and if you are lucky there will be a worker who knows how to speak English. Luckily I was able to understand a few statements, but I was also fortunate enough to find people who could both understand and give me instructions.
Upon my arrival to Tokyo, I was able to meet two young girls from Wisconsin who were headed to Nanzai University. Both of them had already been to Japan and gave me a few pointers of great eating spots to try out in Nagoya. The main thing about being new to other countries is to acknowledge fear, but do not succumb to it. I spoke a total of a minute before reaching Tokyo and I am glad I took the initiative to ask where those two girls were from. You have to remember that everyone is in the same boat, but having that one person with a commonality will ease your nerves a lot better than you think. Not only did talking to people made me calmer, but customs felt a lot different from America than Japan (in a good way). Workers made things easier for me personally by asking questions about family, why I chose my university, and even wished me luck in my studies. Also, he seemed ecstatic about people from America traveling all the way to Japan to learn about their culture. The kind faces caught me off guard a bit, but then I started observing other Japanese people and things became clearer.
During my observation of Japanese people and their mannerisms, I noticed a sense of honesty and respect. Most of the elders you saw were healthy and lifted bags of at least forty pounds with ease. Yet many of the young adults still made the effort to help an elder without a second thought. One incident happened where an two full rows on a bus got up and made room for those who needed it, even when there was a section for the handicapped. I also noticed not one person used his or her cellphone to text or call while in a plane or bus. Each flight made it a point for passengers to not take calls because this would be rude to the other passengers. If you caused a small scene that slows down checking this would also be an inconvenience, and normally you would apologize for the trouble. The word, 申し訳ございません (Moshiwakegozaimasen) translates to “I am sorry”, and 御免なさい (gomenasai) also translates to “sorry” was used each time someone thought he or she was an inconvenience. I cannot acclaim for everyone having these characteristics, but this is just from one outsider’s point of view and so far the Japanese are a group of respectable people. That is all for today’s traveling entry, but tomorrow I finally be moving into my apartment near the Chukyo University campus. The city is already a beautiful sight so I can not wait until tomorrow to see what the downtown area looks like. Until next time!