My experience in Japan has been a roller coaster of emotions, but it's part of life when you've experienced culture shock and expect too much of what you haven't seen. When I first arrived, I was treated with great welcoming, so I felt as if I was back in my country in the United States. All the staff members, Japanese and other foreigners were so warm, shined so bright... like the sun... I'm often considered as sensitive or shy, but that doesn't change the fact of how other people here treat me, I get treated as I'm part of something and help build me up from the ground, even though they don't fully know me. They're fully aware of others persona and understand mine, make me feel comfortable and help me adapt to a new environment, they're the epitome of friends and I'm very lucky to have them in my life. After settling in for a few days, some of the Japanese students took me to a ramen shop called kusabi and to this day, it's still my favorite ramen shop here in Fukushima.
The time I've been here, its been something new everyday with traveling to shrines, going to events, other prefectures and even getting to see the tragic accident that occurred in Fukushima back on March 11th, 2011 and helping some of the people who suffered through the accidents that had occurred, yet despite all of this, they never seemed to give up and lose faith. It's absolutely incredible. Seeing and participating in all of these activities helps me become more cultural and helps me understand myself better and understand others which is something I truly need to work on. I would say my favorite event being here was the cosplay event that was located here in Fukushima back on October 6th, the reason why I would say was because I felt like I could express myself a lot more seeing some of my favorite anime characters, seeing and becoming part of that fantasy is so much better than reality itself.
I would say my most challenging experience here today would be me coming out of my comfort zone, I wanted to learn Japanese and make more friends being here, but I do lack confidence in myself when I'm in the Japanese classroom, because I don't want to make a mistake and embarrass myself in front of people, but the other foreigners try their best to encourage me. I really want to learn deep down inside and do my absolute, so I can take the knowledge I've learned here and bring it back to the United States and show everyone I did it. Maybe it'll take a couple more months before I truly break out of my shell, I'm not sure, but one thing is for sure... I don't regret coming here, this is like home to me and I'm happy to be given this opportunity, because this is something I may never get to do again.