Hearing the pilot’s voice with his slight accent say, “We are now beginning to start our descent to Narita International Airport, please fasten your seat belts.” I felt a rush of excitement and confusion all at once. I could feel the glares and stares, and it hit me that this is not the place I call home, I am the alien to them, I am a “gaijin.” Moving to Japan was a massive eye opener for me. My views changed from the moment I walked out of the plane. I noticed the small things. It changed my thoughts and views on Japanese culture, their lifestyle, and the environment. Even though I am part Japanese I’ve never embraced it and immediately I told myself that if I want to enjoy my time here my attitude needs to change, and I need to keep an open mind about everything. I knew that process wasn’t going to be easy, but it had to be done. I can be a very judgmental person but I make sure that I keep those thoughts to myself. Like, when I stepped off the plane the first thing that I noticed was the smell, it was an odor, it was something I’ve never smelt before, and the only comparison I could think of was the smell of a brand new car. This was a small detail I noticed, and it wasn’t even a big deal. The fact that something as small as a smell could affect me I could not imagine what the rest of Japan has to offer.
During my transition to Nile C. Kinnick High School, went smoothly. I made good friends and shared stories with them and their own thoughts on living in Japan. I made the varsity volleyball team and for our away games we would travel by bus, and I have to say those bus rides were probably the some of the best memories that I made. I wasn’t used to being around in such a diverse group of girls and thinking about the conversations we had and the laughs we shared I felt welcomed and I felt like I had known these girls for years. They played a huge role on helping me adjust and overcome the stereotypical mindset I had of living overseas. of But, my most detailed memory of those bus rides was the view outside. Driving on the freeway wasn’t free at all, you had to pay tolls every couple of miles. When we drove through the streets and watching the amount of people that crossed them was just crazy. Before we arrived at the international schools, is what amazed me was how the Japanese used up every inch they could when it came to building houses by each other or parking garages. It was a concrete jungle. Concrete jungle wasn’t something I necessarily liked at the time. I preferred open fields of land and trees everywhere. My perspective on the city lifestyle was close-minded and somewhat judgmental, but i kept this thoughts to myself. Another adjustment I had to deal was living off base. The house I lived in was really nice, and It was big yet small at the same time. I have no idea who came up with the blueprint for Japanese homes but i can tell you that every house unless built by the owner, is NOT ventilated. Trust me when It came around winter time, our heaters were on 24/7. It may have racked up our bill, but it was seriously the worst, especially when I had just taken a hot shower and I had to run from my shower to my room, because it was so cold in the hallways. That is definitely something I do not miss. Imagine stepping out of your shower and immediately getting