Japanese Housemates

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One of my favorite experiences about my time abroad was my living experience with my Japanese roommates. It really helped me delve into day to day life of Japanese living culture and really helped me live literally outside of my comfort zone. I feel like at first when we all met each other it was a little awkward. We all immediately discovered how well we could communicate with each other as each of us has different levels we were at when it came to Japanese. Though I realized a lot of my relationship with my housemates wasn’t all about speaking perfect Japanese, a lot of it was quality time. I had difficulties communicating in the beginning of the semester as it was the first time I spoke Japanese outside of my Japanese class, and it quickly became a game of charades sometime when there was no other way to communicate with my housemates, which was more fun than embarassing. It became interesting when we had to explain our emotions to each other, we had to use more simplified language between each other, which made it awkward but beautiful at the same time. It’s like we came up with our own language, a mixture of Japanese and English. I really enjoyed how comfortable it became for us to all communicate even if it wasn’t perfect, it really taught me how a relationship doesn’t need to look a certain way between two people. It also showed me how someone from such a different culture than me could be so similar to me. My Japanese housemates also taught me the importance of silence as well. Where bonding didn’t need to be talking and simply just being in the same room as someone else could be you guys getting closer.
I always loved being greeted with a hug and a cheerful, “OKAERI” (Welcome home) by my fellow housemates, it made me feel truly bonded with them. My housemates also knew me well, sometimes better than I knew myself. They would find ways to make me more comfortable, in outing situations where I may not have even realized I was uncomfortable, along with helping me communicate with other Japanese housemates that I didn’t live with. It felt like a bond I couldn’t get anywhere else. Also the fact that my housemates were the same age as me, the relationship felt different from a typical host family situation. Being able to relate to very similar trends and topics that are going on at a college age is a great way to help us study abroad students feel more comfortable quicker in a short period of time. I will never forget my housemates in Japan, and I think saying goodbye to them was probably the hardest for me when it came to my arrival at the airport near the end of my trip.
Shout out to Yousuke,Monami, and Mana. ありがとうございます