Final weeks in Japan

こんばんは!

I’ve had very intense two weeks, which is why I haven’t posted anything for a while. When I say intense, I mean study-wise. I had my last two final exams today, but my stress still hasn’t vanished. I’m close to leaving Japan, which means that I have a lot of things to do. This post will be about the amount of work I’ve done these past weeks, and the leaving procedures compared to the procedures I had when coming to Japan.

As I’ve written on a previous post, I studied Japanese Grammar, Kanji, Cultural Exchange between Japan and the West, Japanese Literature in English Translation, Traditional Culture of Japan D, Japanese Society through Manga and Anime and History of Japan this semester. I had a one 1,5 hour class of every subject every week, except for Japanese Grammar and Kanji. Grammar I had four times a week (there were actually two different classes in the syllabus, but they were the same thing) and Kanji twice a week. Here’s what I had to do for each class during these last two weeks:

Japanese Grammar

  • Final Examination,
    • Grammar from 5 chapters of Genki II.
  • Oral Examination

Kanji

  • Final Examination
    • Included around 100 kanji.
    • We had to remember the stroke order, how many strokes a certain kanji has, how a kanji is read and how it’s written.

Cultural Exchange between Japan and the West

  • Essay
    • A 2 page essay about an artifact from Seinan Gakuin University’s museum.
  • Final Examination
    • 10 questions about Japanese traditional arts, architecture or historical events.

Japanese Literature in English Translation

  • Final Presentation
    • Presented a piece of Japanese literature in a group.
  • Essay
    • A one page essay about the book.

Traditional Culture of Japan D

  • Essay
    • A 2 page essay about traditional Japanese Kabuki theater.

Japanese Society through Manga and Anime

  • Final Manga
    • A 4-panel manga about one of the topics discussed in class.

History of Japan

  • Final Examination
    • 4 questions about Japanese history from Sengoku period to Meiji restoration.

That’s done now and all I need to stress about is leaving procedures. For Seinan, we had to fill a form about our future plans and flight information, and send them an assessment. We also went to the ward office to cancel our health insurances. I have to send the insurance card to the company when I leave. I also canceled my SIM card subscription and can use it until I leave when I have to send it to the company I rented it from, too. For Dormy Fukuoka, I needed to fill a paper about the check out date. What I still have to do is fill out my Learning Agreement, get my Transcript of Records and a Letter of Confirmation for JAMK.

When I was coming to Japan, I had to first send an application with a copy of my passport, a physical examination report, record of my previous Japanese studies, financial statement, 4 id photos and an official transcript of grades. After my application was accepted I had to apply for a student Visa, register for courses I wanted to take, apply for accommodation in Fukuoka, fill an online pick-up service and flight information form, get vaccinations (Japanese encephalitis and hepatitis A and B), fill my Learning Agreement’s Before Departure, apply for grant and student aid and ask for a blog instead of writing a student exchange report. The exchange coordinator helped me a lot with all the paperwork before my departure, which I’m really grateful for.

It has been an eventful 5 months. I’ve made a lot of friends, experienced, seen and tasted new things, felt lonely, afraid, stressed out and sad but also happy, safe and cared for. I’m proud of myself. It took a lot of courage to leave behind everything I love and go to a new place where I can’t even read most of the text surrounding me (though I’m able to read more now). Japan had always been a distant dream to me, a place I would probably never actually visit. But now I feel like the whole world has opened to me. I’ve met people from different countries and learned most surprisingly a lot about myself, my own country and heritage. I will miss everyone I’ve met along the way and wish we’ll meet again in the future. Going on student exchange has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and I can only encourage everyone who has the possibility to seize it.

I’m leaving Japan next week on the 29th. Before that, I’m going to be meeting with people, packing my stuff, buying last souvenirs and cleaning up my room. I will enjoy my last moments in Japan before going back home where a lot of new challenges await me. Thank you for following my journey!

さよなら!(Farewell!)