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I’m not sure if anyone will actually WANT to read my Japan Journals, but I’m required to keep them for class, so I figured I’d post them here. (Hi Mom! You’re probably the only person reading this!) The rules for my class journals go like this:

“You will also write a Journal, which is to include reactions to readings, class discussion, and site visits, as well as personal observations on life in Japan as you experience it. The first entry should be made prior to departure and should state your hopes, expectations, anxieties, etc. about the coming experience. Each entry should be 400 words or so in length, or more.”
Okay.
Journal Entry 1- Prior to departure.
10:31 PM Central time/ 12:31 AM Japan time, May 10, 2011
Feeling: My stomach kind of hurts a little but I’m pretty sure it’s just nerves, and I really hope I can sleep tonight- I haven’t much lately.
Listening to: Billy Talent (good band from Canada)
My name is Dorian, I don’t speak a word of Japanese, and in 12 hours I’ll be on a plane to Atlanta, where I will get another plane that will take me to Tokyo. I’ll be there in roughly 24 hours? I’m too lazy to do the math but it’s a crazy-long plane ride. I’ve had a few international experiences- I’ve been around half of Europe, but never Asia. I speak semi-fluent French and a few phrases of Chinese but, as I said, little to no Japanese.
Hopes/Expectations…. I’m the kind of person who likes new experiences of every type. I like seeing new places and doing new things. So I hope to see and do things I’d NEVER do in my average, college-student life. I’m really excited to see some crazy theater with my friend Stephanie, but that’s not through the group, it’s a little side trip. I’m also excited to wake up early and meditate with Buddhist monks- I’ve loved comparative religion classes in the past and new spiritual experiences are great for me. I’m glad to be getting out of America for a little bit. I was lucky enough to go to Europe as a teen, so I’ve noticed the differences between us and Everyone Else. I expect and hope to see a different culture with different priorities. [Culture comment: I have no less than 7 facial piercings. I’ll be taking them out and/or wearing very subtle jewelry while I’m out and about, but I have read that they are incredibly uncommon in Japan. Not to mention the whole I’m-a-5-foot-8-white-girl thing, I’m going to stick out like a SORE THUMB.]
Anxieties: my health is a constant anxiety for me. I’ve been relatively healthy the past 8-9 months, which is why I’m well enough to go on this trip, but prior to that I’d been in the Emergency Room about once a month from a confusing, horrible stomach pain. Like I said, it hasn’t happened for 8-9 months, so I really should be fine. Another anxiety is my boyfriend, who I already miss and I haven’t left the country yet. We’ve done the long-distance thing before but I’m going to miss him a lot. Thank God for the Internet. Last anxiety: food. I’m not exactly the most adventuresome eater. Even though I like going to new places, seeing and doing new things, I was raised on a pretty bland diet (I’m not blaming you, mom!) and have been known as a pretty picky eater. However, my roommate Kyle (who is also coming to Japan) is a vegan (though he’s loosening up and being vegetarian in Japan) so we’ll be able to hunt down special food together. People ask why I’m going to Japan if I don’t like fish (I basically don’t eat seafood) and other people tell me I’m lucky I don’t, because it’s going to be radiated… so yeah, food is an anxiety. I know I’ll find stuff to eat, though.
Here’s what’s NOT an anxiety -but might end up messing with me more than I thought- JETLAG. I’ve been on a pretty messed-up sleep schedule the past few weeks (moving and finals) so I’m used to strange hours. And, as I keep repeating, I’m an old pro at this international-flying thing. I got this. Bring it on.
>I just re-read this and noticed how I mentioned the language thing twice in the intro but not when I got to my anxieties section. I guess I’m really not too concerned about the language barrier? Japanese students are taught English in high schools and I’ve heard many are eager to practice their English, plus I’m a really quick learner when it comes to ‘where is the bathroom,’ ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand’ type of phrases- the other day I said ‘hello’ and ‘I’m sorry’ in at least 5 languages to demonstrate this. So… language is not really a big fear? I guess?
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