Ahhhh! I'm very excited, but nervous too! It's a long way to go, and I've got to practice my Japanese a lot more. I'm taking my study books on the plane with me so I can read up! There is just a couple of things I need to sort out and then I'll be totally ready to jet off again!
I honestly can't wait! I thought it'd be appropriate to share something I wrote on one of my other blogs.
'So I guess, there are a lot of people who will say that they 'love Japan' for various reasons. Often they will say 'I've loved Japan since I was a little girl' etc, but I have to say... I haven't. I had the same semi-disinterest in geography that most kids did. The only reason I really knew of Japan was through video games, specifically, but my real interest in Japan and it's culture came much later on.
Primarily, my interest came via the study of the language. I always wanted to study a language, I actually enjoyed French, and so my actual interest sparked there. I've been studying Japanese off and on for a few years, did a couple of exams here and there, but have only recently been studying PROPERLY, as in daily, over the past months. I've learnt so much in that time!
I think this post will help me in my language, because to motivate yourself to be good at a language you need a reason to progress in the first place. So I want to say all the things I wanna say about Japan.
Now don't get me wrong. I love my home country, England. But there are many things I hate about it too. Japan isn't a sparkly land of wonder, and it isn't perfect. There are a lot of things Japan does have that I really value highly, however. Their ethos on life is respectable. They value hard work and intelligence; that's not to say they don't value superficial things because they really have a ridiculous idol culture, but I feel that if you make an effort there you are rewarded for it. Secondly, I value manners a whole lot. Their entire culture is based on being polite and manners. I think this is important to me because I can be really super polite and it will be considered normal (the amount of times I say 'thanks' normally is pretty OTT) and so I feel that it's important and it's important to the Japanese.
Also, everyone waits in line. Everything seems fair, somehow. People will treat you kindly, help carry your bags, give you free stuff if they see you've been struggling to win a prize in the arcade. And they do it and walk off without wanting any sort of recognition. It's ingrained in their culture to care for one another and to put others before themselves. In most places, this is an ideal but not a reality. I can actually feel it and see it in Japan for myself.
I will put it in perspective for you; I've only been to Japan once, for two weeks. It's hard to get a full grasp of the culture in it's entirity in that time. I'm basing it off the small acts of kindness I witnessed there. I guess you could call it a 'vibe.' Any society is complex, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it's like, especially from such a short time.
I just feel there is something different about their general ideals that seem attractive to me. Not to mention, the land itself and the traditional style of culture is very beautiful. So, even if you have a vague interest in Japan I'd say it's worth visiting, just for the sake of being something totally different. You don't have to induldge in the pop culture if you don't want, likewise if that's all you want you can go down that route, it just depends where you stay. I like to have a good mix of traditional Japan and modern, high tech, pop-culture style Japan. It's amazing how a country can have such a high contrast of old and new.
So, that's why I love Japan. Have you visited Japan? What do you like about it?'