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Journals from Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

2012-09-14 Transition from the West to the East

 Konnichiwa!  My name is Alex and I’m spending a year in Japan, studying at Aoyama Gakuin University.  As a Japanese major, I had a choice of three Japanese universities to attend.  I’m sure that all three are lovely, but I’ve been here less than a week and already I am glad to have made the choice that I did.

Getting here wasn’t exactly the easiest, of course.  Being the only one from Linfield attending Aoyama this year, I had to fly here on my own.  The schedule was rather tight, and I found myself just barely arriving at the gate just as boarding began.  I started to doubt my ability to survive a year in Japan.  If navigating unfamiliar airports was such a trial, how could I possibly make my way through a totally foreign country like Japan, especially using a language in which I am intermediate at best?

Luckily, once I made it out of the airport, I was greeted by two terribly kind Aoyama Gakuin International Exchange Center employees who helped me onto the shuttle to my dormitory.

Since I am a girl, I am living in Dormitory Eda, an all-female dorm located in Yokohama.  Everyone here has been very nice and the food is delicious.  I’ve been a little shy about speaking Japanese to people, but it’s better to make an effort and make mistakes than to simply remain silent, or worse, only speak English.  Suddenly trying to adjust to a Japanese lifestyle from an American one isn’t the easiest thing, but there are so many people here to help you with the transition.  I am still a little jet-lagged and I find myself up before the sun each morning, but I’m working to adjust to a more prudent schedule.

I am still in the middle of orientation, but so far, the information sessions have been extraordinarily helpful.  The people working and volunteering with Eda Dormitory and Aoyama Gakuin University are wonderfully kind people and are very helpful.  It is not easy to transition to life in Japan, but there are so many people who are there to help that it really isn’t so bad.  This is the first step in part of a grand journey, and I know that once I’ve gotten everything settled and taken care of, many adventures will be had.  I hope you are able to join me as I write these journals.

Until next time,

Alex Dickey

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