Freshman Year All Over Again
Today i have finally arrived in Beppu, Japan where i will be residing for the remainder of my time in Japan. Its already been a busy and exciting time and I can already tell its going to be great living here.
The trip from Yokohama to Beppu was relatively uneventful except for the argument i had with the baggage check lady who was being difficult, and for the time when i almost boarded the completely wrong train and would have ended up on the other side of the prefecture had i stayed on. But with those exceptions i made my way south to school.
I realized quickly the Beppu is very different from Yokohama. Looking out the window of the plane you can see mountains in all directions and in the other direction you see the ocean. This is a stark contrast to the urban scenery in the greater Yokohama area that i have always been accustomed to. Oita (the airport i flew in to) is a small 5 terminal airport. with only 2 baggage claim belts. Right outside the gates i saw a Japanese woman holding up a sign that read "Matthew George, APU" needless to say i was flattered by this gesture and made my way to the shuttle. I made new friends with international students who happen to be from Korea and we all travelled together to the school.
On the way i discovered just how exclusive my new school is. it literally sits atop a mountain that is overlooking the city and the ocean. its absolutely stunning. after checking in i suddenly got a very familiar feeling... i felt like a freshman again. you know that feeling when you see people and you greet them but don't really know them yet, or the feeling of not knowing anyone but your roommate and RA. i find it very enlightening to see this freshman perspective and not actually be one. i settled into my room and then was summoned to a floor meeting to meet the RAs and other residents. When it came time for the students to introduce themselves the RAs opened up the floor for people...after a long awkward pause i remembered "i'm in asia, where the timid are aplenty." so i did my American duty and raised my hand to volunteer to go first. Everyone loved the fact that i was american (rightfully so) and i think was even more taken aback that i speak Japanese as well. As people continued introducing themselves it became evident that there was a large Korean population present. And i noticed something, Koreans get to pick (or are assigned) a random common american name. i found it hilarious how a person name "Jun-sun-phu-tao-kim" could have their american name just be "Chris," this concept blew my mind and i intend to investigate further.
My roommate as it turns out is a freshman who speaks little english which will provide a good opportunity for me to work on my japanese. He brought some of his friends over and they thought i was the coolest thing since sliced bread (kakoii). of course this has become commonplace in my life, i still accept and embrace it.
I'll be honest the thing im looking forward to the most for tomorrow is the ofuro and exploring campus. tomorrow is just another arrival day for students so there are no classes or anything. The calm before the storm so to speak.
Until Next Time,