• RSS Recent Posts

    • Video Game Review: American McGee’s Alice
      After the recent release of “Alice: Madness Returns,” I  picked up a copy. With each copy, console gamers also got a free download of  the original “American McGee’s Alice.” Before playing the new Alice, I had to  go back and beat the original again. While many things were just as I had  remembered, I’m glad […]
    • Video Game Rant: Donkey Kong Country Returns
      One of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. When I heard they were making a new one, I was super excited, but also somewhat skeptical. So a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns to try out the new game. My fiancee also joined […]
    • Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: Movie Review
       (Warning: some spoilers) When they decided to turn this Canadian comic into a movie, I’m not sure they were aware of what a cult smash hit this would be. Topping the charts for Blu-rays on the first day it was released on home video, it’s also been on several top ten lists. It appeals to […]
    • Good Kitty: WoW Feral Cat DPS Rotation
      ***Note: this information is from before Cataclysm. There have been major changes to the class. See my sources below for more updated information.*** When I rolled Druid on the first character I legitimately got to level 80, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I leveled Feral Cat, and when I hit 80, I realized […]
    • Finding a Job
      This is a digression from my usual topics, but I wanted to share some of my strategies with other unemployed or soon to be unemployed people out there. My job search has been the focus of my free time lately, so I figured it would be the perfect topic for my next post. 1)      Assess […]
  • Archives

Gaijin no Omoide


Sometimes I miss Japan. When I was a junior, nearly 2 years ago, I spent a semester at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. I miss the snacks, whether it was strange flavors of familiar foods like sakura (cherry blossom) chocolate or trying random things like shrimp crackers. I also miss the international student community. Grocery shopping was a fun event; me and my roommates would walk over to the store, maybe a 15 minute walk down a narrow street with uneven sidewalks, and pick up some fresh stuff for the week. It was good exercise, kept costs and waste down, and was a fun social event for chatting and marveling at the Japanese-ness of it all with fellow gaijin (foreigners).

I try not to reminisce on all the negative or all the positive. I hated having to put up with smoke in restaurants, clubs, bars, and public places in general. I didn’t like the recycling system, because it was so confusing, but I found that I had gotten used to it and kept recycling in the States. I do not miss not having a car (even though the public transportation system is made of win). I hated the fact that I had to get a visa and local registration (blame the US regulations and visa reciprocities between countries).

I think it’s easier to forget the big things, like seeing some temple in Kyoto or shopping in the Electric District, but it’s harder to forget the everyday things. Sure, when you come back, you fall back into some of the same old routines as before you left, but things have changed. Before I left, I wasn’t very good about trying new foods, and so I made it a point to try (nearly) everything while I was there. I continued to push my culinary boundaries upon return; I now like seafood and spicy things. I went to Sunrise international market in Knoxville and got so excited over instant microwaveable rice (sooo much better than American minute rice). It was just like finding a taco kit in a Shinsaibashi international grocery store, only reversed.

Returning from abroad doesn’t put those experiences behind you. “Shoeboxing” is a common phenomenon, where people store up all their memories into a convenient package and only bring them out when they feel nostalgic. I think that happens to everyone from time to time, unless you find a way to live your experiences every day.

My experience in Japan is something that I think about every day, mostly because of my job at the Center for International Education, but it’s also something I know has affected me in more ways than I can even imagine. Studying abroad was one of the best things I’ve done in my life, ranked right up there with passing my black belt test, finishing my 140 page thesis, graduating college, and choosing my two favorite pets.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: