It has been about 2 months since I have arrived In Japan. It has been a blast! I have lots of friends and am always keeping busy. School is getting much easier and the language is getting better everyday.
Taekwondo is going really well. Next month on December 5th I am entering a tournament, which I am very excited for. The workouts are very tiring. Basically they just consist of sparring for 2 hours every time and then some other strengthening drills. I am so tired right now! My legs, feet, and arms are all very bruised. This is really good for me. about a year and a half ago I injured my knee and had to have 2 surgeries. Now I am rebuilding my strength and confidence.
It is a very valuable experience to be able to join this club and practice with them so regularly. I feel it helps me to get to know more of the Japanese people, not just the ones who are obsessed with English and who seek out foreigners. I feel that the other exchange students are missing out on this.
Now that I have been here for a couple months I have been starting to notice some of the cultural differences, some of which I don’t like. In some of my classes we are talking about Japanese society. Many of the other exchange students argue against the Japanese social system, sometimes to the point of disrespect during classes. It sometimes feels as though some of the students feel a sense of superiority towards Japan, justifying their disrespect. I think this is totally out of line. Some of the things that are argued about is the sense of individuality. This is somewhat suppressed in Japanese society from what I have been told and also somewhat from what I have observed first hand. Japanese people are very concerned about the traditional way to do things, anything that deviates from the accepted method is rejected. Though I am only a foreigner looking in from the outside and so cannot make any clear judgements. Regardless of whether this is the case, some of the students need to understand that they need to be respectful even if they do not agree with the Japanese system.
I really look forward to learning more about the people that I am living among for the year. They are very interesting people and just about everyone I meet is very friendly and is always willing to help me.
We had a halloween party at the international dorm. Here is a couple pictures:
I was kind of sick that weekend so I didn’t bother finding a costume. Some of the other students convinced me to wear my Taekwondo uniform. If was a fun time.