My Time in Japan by Ashanti Long

*Written Previously*

This has been a great semester and I haven’t come to terms yet with heading back to America. Just thinking about it makes me sad. There are so many good and bad things that happened; however, I cherish them all. Every day I would go to visit my friends at Cheer Jr. which is a small pub in Hirakata-Shi. The gentleman that owns Cheers Jr.  also owns Ages Café which has great food (one of the places I talked about in my food blog). Cheers Jr. is a place where you can drink a little bit of sake and have great conversations with friend.

This place it located next to Laweson.  The people I met also helped me with the language/homework and helped me to explore the country. There are so many memories I have from this place. Sometimes we would stay up till 3 am having a good time.  I have experienced different places because of them like going to Waraku to get some yakitori.  After eating we would talk and talk and before we knew it 5 am came and we all went home and woke up around 11-12pm to head to class. On the weekend we would go to Kyoto and try different foods and visit many temples that I never heard of like Inari. We would rent kimonos and walk around Gion shi and Sanji and etc. There were many times when my friends and I would barely make the last train to get back to Hirakata-Shi and sometimes we had to sleep on the cold floor on the train station with no blanket. These were all fun things I have done and that I will cherish and I’m so sad to leave. 

We also visited the Bamboo Forest that is located in the Arashiyama district. On a side note the Bamboo forest is a must see.  The trees that seem like they almost touch the sky creates such a peaceful environment.  The  Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the Kyoto-gozan — five major temples of Kyoto located by the Bamboo Forest.  The shrines and temples add to the peacefulness. Bamboo is also seen as a symbol of strength.

Going to Japan has been a great experience.  The culture is very different.  Most students in high school wear uniforms to school instead of regular clothes.  You may notice this in Anime too. The dress is simple yet nice. The temples and scenery are beautiful.  The food is amazing. The people are helpful and friendly and it has been nice being able to use the language, which was a definite plus.

 Studying abroad showed me that America is not the only place in the world that values their country.   People in other countries have them own views, their own perspectives and the way they do things.  It showed me that I need to try to be more open minded and patient than I am.  I feel that students that travel to Japan, or any other country, should always be aware of what you are saying and doing because people in Japan are very conservative and are not as direct as in the U.S.  You do not want to offend anyone so always keep in mind that you are not in your country.  Otherwise, enjoy and taken in every moment.

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