I don’t have a specific story to tell, or subject in mind to really talk about this week, so I have decided to just ramble a bit and collect the thoughts I’ve been having for the past week or so.
There’s about one month or so left of my program (and just three weeks left of classes!), and so on top of keeping up with homework assignments and my social life, that thought has been lingering in my head recently. Maybe it’s just because of the small amount of time we have left in Japan, or of the constant reminders about how we’re going to be leaving soon, but it feels as though life has, unbelievably, become more busy and hectic, and this isn’t just for the CET students, either. Just recently, students from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) who are part of my program as well have started their art courses that take place at another university, so I have rarely had the chance to see them these past few weeks outside of class. Spring term for the Japanese students have begun as well, so combined with their classes and part-time jobs, seeing them has been a challenge as well. All in all, I think this is the point where the program feels the most lonely.
As the semester is coming to a close, our final projects have somewhat been a focus point in our class. Since the start of the program, students have been interviewing and surveying local Japanese people on a topic of their choice, gathering data, and preparing for a special poster presentation event held at the school at the end of April. After three months, that event is this coming Tuesday, so while the MICA students are at their art classes, and the Japanese students are taking their own courses, the rest of us have been busy with writing scripts and creating posters based on the data we’ve collected. As you could expect, it’s been a pretty exhausting last couple of weeks for all of us, and I believe that many of us are counting the days as to when we’ll be returning home.
Teachers and students alike have asked me how I feel about coming back to America, and I honestly couldn’t really give them an answer. As with almost everything, there are good points and not so good points. There are things I miss dearly back home that I’m looking forward to experiencing again, and these are beyond foods and the people I miss. For example, Osaka does not have many grassy areas and forests. Being from Oregon, I’m very used to seeing lots of green, and constantly being surrounded by Douglas Firs. I miss walking through grass and seeing it. On the other hand, Japan has it’s positives that I’ll be missing as well. I’m going to miss the convenience of the trains, and the ability to walk late at night by myself and feeling safe doing so.
It’s pretty hard to pinpoint how I feel returning home, especially since studying abroad in Japan has been a goal I’ve been working towards since high school. Once that goal is finished, I’ll need to move on to my next (unknown) project. I’ll be looking forward to what that will become, but until then, I’ll work hard for this last month in Japan!