Japan Japanese culture Japanese language travel

First step off the plane.

Arriving in Tokyo in the late afternoon/early afternoon, my sense of time has been altered a bit. Coming back to this city, this city that used to be my home for four months, feels so strange. A mild culture shock hits me as I try to re-grasp my knowledge of the Japanese language for the day.

It feels strange arriving alone, without someone to welcome me. This happened last time as well, but at least with last time, I was welcomed to Japan by a student helper from my exchange school. Perhaps that time was scarier because I knew little to no conversational Japanese; this time, at least I had more knowledge of Japanese and could somewhat get around.

Yet, it is all overwhelming to go back to a country and try to get used to the way of life, the language again.

(Note: for the remaining entries of my trip, I shall be posting pictures of my meals as a sort of photo documentary. Food is always an interesting thing to look at, right?)

Japan money travel

Exchange Rate at the Airport.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the exchange rate for the dollar/yen at SFO being 88 yen to $1 USD. The night before, I checked and the rate was at 98 yen on two websites; I knew that the rate could not have dropped so drastically in less than twelve hours, so I called my sister and asked her to check the rates.

According to Yahoo! Financial and, the rates were still around 98-99 yen for a dollar. Sigh of relief; but this made me pretty much decide that I probably won’t ever trade my currency at an airport unless absolutely necessary–why is it that airports get horrible rates? It seems rather fishy to me, but then again, I don’t really know much about how the exchange rates are determined from location to location (at a bank, as opposed to at an airport, etc.).

If anybody knows the answer, please let me know.

Japan life reflection travel

Night before departure.

Sitting here, wondering about what is about to unfold for me over the next three weeks. It has been two years since I have traveled abroad; it has been two years, and a lot has happened since then.

When I booked this trip back in January, I had the intentions of only going back as a vacation. But, with my unemployment status looming large in my window, I became depressed, and soon changed the goals for this trip to become one for me to seek out work there.

Now, I don’t know what will happen. Things happen the way they do, and sometimes situations cannot be explained until much later. All I can do right now is hope that I leap forward and fall somewhere safely.

Japan politics President

Japan has a city named Obama.

Like I previously stated, I am not one to really talk much about politics, but since it’s been on the news so much lately (due to the Primaries), thought I might share this interesting tidbit:

Apparently, Japan has a city named “Obama”. It makes sense, since “Obama” is a Japanese-sounding name anyway (I also realize it sounds Middle-Eastern, too; in fact, I think that’s the origin of Obama’s surname). Anyway, I read on Yahoo! about how the city in Japan is hoping for Obama to win the U.S. Presidency so they can promote more tourism to their city. Amusing to read that none of the people living in Obama are eligible to vote in the U.S. Presidency (I assume they are all Japanese citizens there).

I guess we shall see if their wishes will come true? I had never heard of this city before, but now I may consider visiting it when I go to Japan next time.

Japan Japanese language learning

Need to brush up on Japanese.

I am really disappointed that I have not been practicing my Japanese enough in the past year or so. I used to know so much Japanese, but now I struggle with the grammar and kanji again. It’s not fun at all–but it’s so hard to really practice Japanese without having someone else practice with me or…I need to go back to Japan.

It would be nice to be able to speak/write fluently again. Well, just gotta keep working hard on it this year.