April 1, 2015

A start of a journey ~ exchange in Japan

Hello, I am Lis, a student of the course Trade Management Asia at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. I will share stories about my life during my exchange in Japan(spring semester 2014) as a student of the university Seinan Gakuin which is located in Fukuoka. Fukuoka is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture which lies in the south of Japan. I will try to post one or two stories about my life in Japan each week on this blog. Furthermore, this blog post will be about my journey from Incheon Airport, South Korea to Fukuoka Airport, Japan and the arrival at my student dormitory!

So unfortunately, my flight did not go directly to Japan. I had a stopover in South Korea and needed to stay at a hotel near Incheon Airport for the night. The next day I left the hotel as soon as possible after eating my breakfast because there was nothing else to do in the area. When I arrived at Incheon Airport, I immediately checked my suitcase and received my flight ticket. The lady behind the ticket desk spoke in both Korean and English to me which left me a bit confused and surprised as to why she talked in Korean to me. Anyway… after I went through customs, I headed towards the gate which takes me to Fukuoka City. I had to wait for quite a long time to board my flight and I was very thirsty, but I held out because I really did not want to miss my flight!

When I boarded the plane, traditional Japanese music was playing and my seat was next to two Japanese children, which gave me the feeling that I was getting much closer to Japan. I was very cheerful because my dream which was to visit Japan was finally becoming true. Ever since my teenage years I admired the Japanese culture and loved to know more about it. During the flight, jetlag hit me and I had to take a nap only to wake up for the food and drinks that were offered. The flight was short and took one and half hour.

Upon my arrival in the afternoon at the airport of Fukuoka, I observed the Japanese airport employees because their white masks grabbed my attention. Also, it struck me that I have not seen people wearing these masks in Incheon Airport in South Korea, which is pretty close to Fukuoka. I guess this may be a cultural difference. Japanese people wear these masks so they do not infect others with their illness. Anyway, I had to get through customs and to do so I had to answer a custom form which consisted of many questions such as if I brought any dangerous stuff, the place where I would live in Japan and for how long etc. Finally after leaving the customs area, two students of Seinan Gakuin were waiting for me to pick me up. It was a Japanese and French student that both lives in the I-House, the student dormitory where I will reside in. The students of Seinan Gakuin guided me to the student dormitory and in the mean time gave me bits of information about Fukuoka. Also, it was funny and cute to see many of posters with drawn characters on the way to I-House. I think that most people in the Netherlands may find this childish but I like it!

In the I-House apartment I met the residents whom were also new students and students which have already stayed in Fukuoka for one semester. The Japanese student that picked me up from the airport guided me through the I-House and explained everything into details which was very helpful! My room was situated on the first floor, it is small but luckily it has a toilet and a sink, the only downside is not having an own shower. I would have to go to the second floor where the shared shower rooms for females are located, which was something to get used to.

Furthermore, in the evening I went to Sunny’s (a supermarket) with a few I-House residents. In the supermarket I became a bit lost because everything was in Japanese,however, the residents of the I-House helped me in translating what kind of food something was. It was interesting to see many typical Japanese products that are not available in The Netherlands such as meron pan (melon bread), a sweet roll which has the shape of a melon.

For dinner I bought a sushi bento box because I was very curious as to how it would taste in comparison to sushi in the Netherlands. The sushi definitely tasted much better than the sushi in the Netherlands. After dinner it was time to sleep in my futon~

 I hope you enjoyed my story.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting how you describe things here :). Japan is different not just because of the language - it sounds like a whole other world!