I'm sixteen years old and am going to Japan in April. Exciting, right?
Right now I don't know exactly where in Japan, or if I've gotten a scholarship. Hopefully I'll find out soon, but I talked to another student who's on an exchange in New Zealand (my home country) and she said she found out about her host family three weeks before departure. Yikes! =x
I'm not hoping for anywhere in particular. I used to want to go to Tokyo because many of the other major places have their own dialect, which I didn't want to fall into, but now I don't really care. The whole point is to absorb the culture of wherever you end up, right? So I'll just live it.
Right now I really really REALLY need to fundraise, but I have no idea what to do! >_< Whatever it is, it'll have to be late November/early December because of exams. Which is a nice little justification for saying "I'll do it later!"
ExpectationsSo I think I'll start this blog off by listing some of my expectations of Japan, just so I can look back later and laugh at silly old Past Isabelle.
• I'll be studying aaallll the time. My friend Momoko (and fellow exchange student, mentioned above) says that in Japan she was doing fifteen subjects. Other sources say they were doing ten. Comparing that to my measly five subjects... and they've all been in English, for the most part!
• I'm going to have to be very careful and polite. From what I heard, the Japanese have very complex social rules. I have a feeling I'm going to be stepping on a lot of metaphorical toes.
• I'll find out I know a lot less Japanese than I thought. Somehow I don't think, "I plan to go to the movies," is going to get me all that far in a classroom situation.
• I'm going to buy lots of clothes. I hope I'll have enough room in my suitcase for all my stuff...
• I'm going to go traveling around Japan. To Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima.
• I'm going to be eating a lot of strange foods.
• I'm going to be doing lots of strange and different things. Flower arranging, tea ceremonies, cultural festivals, public baths (not sure I'll try this one), the school entrance ceremony. All those things they don't do in New Zealand or the USA.
• I'm going to make some amazing memories.
I'll probably add to this list later. It'd be fun to go back while I'm in Japan, or after, and list the things I got wrong or the things that happened that I didn't see coming.
Update!Last Sunday (October 28) I went to my first chapter meeting, which was really interesting! We carved pumpkins, something I thought I'd never do in New Zealand, and ate lots of yummy food. I got to talk with other exchange students I didn't know (AFSers, we'll call them from now on, AFS being the organization running the show), and talk more with the ones I'd already met.
It was good fun and everyone was very friendly. I found out that there's another AFSer at my school, but I forgot to go up and ask her name so I could say hi to her next time I saw her. Oh well.
Momoko has invited Bryar (the other girl going to Japan next year) and I, as well as the one other person going to Japan provided they're also female, to come stay at her house over the summer so she can show us around Tokyo. That sounds amazing to me and really drives home the fact that this is actually happening.
Well that concludes today's blog post, sorry about the wall of text and not being all that interesting. I'll update when I have something to say.
See ya! xx