Living the Japanese dream…

Five weeks of class and more than one month later, here I am. Living in Kanazawa, Japan as an international student at Kanazawa University. Speaking Japanese every single day. I never thought I would actually be here. I am living my dream and loving every second of it!

Sitting in front of Kanazawa University's famous rock sculpture

Sitting in front of Kanazawa University's famous rock sculpture

I had studied Japanese for two years at university level before coming to Japan. Although this may seem like a long period of study I feel that I only scratched the surface of the language. Coming here to Japan was the best choice I made academic and career-wise. In order to reach near-fluency in language I believe that one must live in the country for a period of time. Speaking and listening to Japanese every single day has immensely helped my proficiency. Before coming to Japan I did not have many opportunities to speak Japanese. This impededĀ  my progression in the spoken aspect of Japanese proficiency. Now that I’m here I am more confident in speaking Japanese and improving more and more everyday. Although I am faced by life’s little challenges on a daily basis I am learning from them.

For example, the very thought of entering a Japanese bank and opening an account would have seemed impossible to me before coming to Japan. About three weeks ago I did open an account and I don’t think I did as badly as I thought I would. The bank employees even asked me how long I studied and where I was from because they thought my Japanese was good! I quickly responded in Japanese with “Not yet, but thank you,” which is the golden response for a foreigner who is complimented on their Japanese proficiency. A small victory to some, but situations like this happen often to me here, where I don’t think I can speak to Japanese people properly and when I succeed both the listener is surprised and I am as well! I can only hope for more of these pleasant situations during my stay in Kanazawa.

Eating lunch with my Japanese friend, Mina

Eating lunch with my Japanese friend, Mina

Now that it’s been a little over a month I can say that I have grown accustomed to living here. University life in Japan is similar to my university life in New York. I wake up early for classes and spend evenings studying and doing homework, but I believe that the true abroad experience takes place outside the classroom. Once I have finished my studying and homework I try to do a little exploration. Heading into the center of Kanazawa City is a great way for me to experience Japan. Being around Japanese people or getting together with Japanese friends is also another way in which I experience Japan. The restaurants here in Kanazawa are numerous and absolutely delicious. There are also many places to shop and have an enjoyable time. Before I came here I thought that Kanazawa would be more rural but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Kanzawa is a bustling city. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Life in Japan so far has been a challenge but I am thoroughly enjoying myself!

Spring Cleaning

5 days left in New Zealand.

In order to get my housing deposit back, I need to have a clean house. My hands smell like cleaner. The soap has completely dried out my hands. I saw things I didn’t want to see.

Positive – It was raining.
Negative – I’m really leaving.

– Liam

350 Climate Change Protest, Parliament, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand