For the few that are still not aware, I leave for Japan on Monday September 15th. I should Arrive in Tokyo's Narita airport on 2:20 pm September 16th, local time. Now that is a long flight. But hey, sometimes that's the price you gotta pay. I'm feeling a lot of different emotions about this. Excited about the new environment and possibilities, but sad, because I'm leaving a lot behind here in America for a long time (approx. 11 months). But for my stated goal of getting the most out of my life, I'll get a lot more mileage out of the next year in Japan than in Charlotte, that's for sure.
The stated reason for me going is to study the Japanese language, culture, and international politics. But I'm going because I want to be exposed to a different people and society, it's been a long standing dream of mine to go to another country. And hopefully, I'll get a lot of good stories to come back and bother everybody with.
It's funny, when I tell people that I'm going to Japan, they are really enthused about it, or I get The Look. As in, why in hell would you want to go there? I'm not sure why I get that last response. Is it racism, a general response that any Asian country is a very dirty,dirty place that isn't worth my time, or do they just think that it will be very boring? I don't know, and it's possible that I'm reading far too much into this. But I wouldn't be surprised if that played into it.
In one odd exchange, an adult who shall remain nameless went on to lecture me about having my hands cut off if I stole something, i.e. old school Islamic law. Then he went on to inform me of the brutality of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and I cannot make this stuff up. I'm still not quite sure what to make of that even today.
But I'm going to go into this with an open mind- every Japanese person I've met here has been very nice, but I know the society and the people are far, far, from perfect. So we'll see what happens. One thing is for sure though: I've got to have the right "go for it" attitude. I'm only going to be there for one year, with few second chances, and that will give me the sense of urgency that I'm missing in my normal "American" life.
Stay tuned, I'll update this blog when I can with further updates. Until then, peace.