I have dreamt of the Land of the Rising Sun for years, and now I finally have the opportunity to journey there. As my departure date rapidly approaches, I almost can’t believe it. Something that has existed for so long in my imagination has now moved into my reality. Telling others that I am traveling to Japan brings the same feeling as if I were to say I would be traveling to another planet, or back in time, for such is the surreal quality of it. Sensoji, Meiji Jingu, Tokyo Skytree, all these places that I have seen through a computer screen, I will finally see with my own eyes. I am not quite sure what I will do when I see Mount Fuji; it has been a symbol in my life of the high goals that I hope to achieve and motivation to keep pressing forward in the fight.
My journey begins in just six days, and to be honest I feel like I need more time to mentally prepare. There is a small amount of nervousness, like when you have awaited the rapids in a river with excitement and now find yourself suddenly in them, exhilarated but intimidated by the sheer force of water around you. You wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, but you are a bit tense. Japan will be a life-changing experience; as C.S. Lewis put it “A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged.” One of the reasons I originally fell in love with Japan was that it was just so different. A foreign culture with different foods, customs, values. There will be so much to learn, but I welcome the challenge. I want to expand my comfort zone, stepping out of it so often that those very walls of comfort begin to break down. In life, I never want to be limited by fear of the unfamiliar, which makes this study abroad such a valuable experience for me. Each day I am there, I want more of Japan’s “foreignness” to rub off on me, making me into a stronger individual. The Land of the Rising Sun is calling, and I cannot wait to get there.