6th July 2015
Leaving the comfort of family as I walked through the departure gates at Sydney airport was one of the most daunting experiences of my life. I had everything organised down to the tee… my passport (tick), my international drivers licence (tick), my tickets (tick), a list of contacts in case I lost my phone (tick), maps (tick), power adapters (tick), comfort food (tick), boarding pass (tick)… and yet still a part of me wanted to run from the airport and escape to the comfort of home. I expected this feeling to linger but surprisingly it didn’t, not at all. As soon as I sat in my seat on the plane I felt a sigh of relief as I realised that everything was okay. I had gotten through customs no worries at all, I was on the plane and I was settled. The plane ride was smooth and I watched out the window as the lights of Sydney faded into the background.
Just as the sun was rising
The first thing I noticed upon arrival to Japan was the heat. It was only6.20am yet I was instantly feeling uncomfortable. Once inside the airport, knowing that my mum would be waiting anxiously, I took the time to notify my family that I had arrived safely.
For the remainder of the day I continued to take my time. I rearranged my baggage so I was more comfortable, checked and rechecked my maps and began the journey to Kyoto from Tokyo airport. This involved taking a local train, the bullet train, the subway and walking for about 10 minutes. Overall the trip was easier than I imagined. I asked multiple times for directions just to confirm what I already thought and people were more than willing to help me even when I didn’t ask for it. Some even carried my heavy suitcases up and down the stairs for me.
Some things I noted for the future: it may have been a better idea to use a courier to transport my luggage for me, have the address of my accommodation written in Japanese in case I need to ask someone and when someone says “you’ll have plenty of time to get to the bullet train” don’t believe them cause they really mean “you’ll have 20 minutes of running up stairs with your luggage looking lost in the humid heat that is Tokyo”. The best and worst feeling of the day was arriving at my accommodation, showering and jumping into bed. I felt clean and cool but I couldn’t help but feel alone and overwhelmed. It was only when my roommate Maritza knocked on the door that I felt a sense of relief. She was from America and had travelled 20 hours to reach Japan.
My First View of Japan
My trip felt like nothing in comparison and spending the night and the next day getting to know new people from all around the world completely overwrote the feelings of homesickness. Luckily for me I have a roommate who is doing the same language program as me and everyone around me has become my makeshift family: people to have dinner with, people to travel with and most of all people to rely on.
My room mate (Maritza) & I