New experiences in Japan (and globally)

19 Mar 2020

Just as planned, I arrived in Japan a few days ago.

My emotion since then: I am overwhelmed! Walking through the streets of Osaka, I constantly fall in love with everything. I feel like I have lived under a rock for the past years: There is a whole different world here that is just as normal to people as is our way of living to us. It seems as if every detail in everyday life is carried out in a different way than we do.

I am astonished by how polite Japanese people are to each other – I wish we could follow their example! First of, there is the respectful bow that they give you in shops and restaurants that I had to get used to, and besides that they always talk in a soft voice to you. The consideration for others is also visible on the streets where everyone keeps just a bit more distance to each other than I see in Europe. Because of this, no crowd feels really crowded.

Something else that caught my eye is the fact that so many things in shops and advertisements are portrayed in an adorable way: e-readers are promoted by a Shiba Inu dog with glasses driving a car, and a lot of women’s clothing is made to make them look cute. As I said, I still have to get used to most things! But now that I have gotten a hunch of this world, I want to learn as much about it as possible.

Of course it was not favorable to arrive here in the middle of a global pandemic. I still decided to come here, but I am not taking this outbreak lightly. I carry hand sanitizer with me everywhere and wash my hands as often as I can. Although I wanted to take a semester abroad to experience a new and unknown situation, I think at the moment we all can do that, considering what is happening during the COVID-19 outbreak. So let’s try to make the best out of this new situation and try to behave in appropriate ways the best we can to adapt to the new challenges we face.

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  1. Naoki wrote on 20 maart 2020 at 11:26

    Hi, Good that you have nice experience there. Do people still walk around on the street? I guess most of them wearing masks? (It is their custom, not only during the time of COVI-19)
    Did you experience any difficulties at the airport (because of COVI-19)?
    (I am asking because I myself is planning to go back there briefly for some urgent errands)
    Enjoyy your semester there!

  2. Lena wrote on 25 maart 2020 at 20:03

    Hi, I can only subscribe that the athmosphere there is usually very pleasant because of the factors you mention. Speaking about loud speaking and people being in the other’s personal space, I must say that coming from the Netherlands the contrast couldn’t be bigger…

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