I can’t believe I’ll be home in just a couple days. I’m going to miss Japan so much, but at least I have spending the rest of my summer with my family to look forward to. Being abroad can be pretty exhausting when the only people I know well are my classmates, and there’s a language barrier that exists with most people I come across. Still, I’ve made such great friends, even across that barrier, during my time here and it was definitely unforgettable. From learning about the nuances of Japanese culture, language, and lifestyle to getting out of my comfort zone in order to make the most of my time here, I definitely think I’m going to come back to the United States as a changed person. Just planning trips, using local subways and buses, and speaking to store clerks were daunting tasks to me at the beginning of my trip, but now I view them without any fear. I’m happy to say my confidence has grown significantly these past two months.
As for the last two weeks here, I’ve been scrambling to have as much fun and experience as much of Japan as I can. With this goal in mind, I went to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) last week, and enjoyed an afternoon of rollercoasters and adorable snacks. I also visited a beach on the shore of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Similarly, I was able to see the Sea of Japan by visiting a famous sand bar called Amanohashidate, which translates to Heaven’s Bridge. It is known as one of the three scenic views of Japan according to seventeenth century scholar Hayashi Gahou. Not only was the two hour train ride from Kyoto Station gorgeous and scenic, but so was the monorail lift to the mountain that overlooks the sand bar. The beauty of Kyoto Prefecture never fails to amaze me.