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Japanese Customs / July 11, 2017

Reflections on JapanBy Jessica.

Since the day I left my home and landed into Japan nothing has ever been the same.

I never really had any goals before I went to Japan – the idea of actually just visiting the Land of the Rising Sun had been a dream. Yet somehow I ended up living, working and becoming a part of the Japanese community when I applied through boobooSKI and found myself in a winter of endless powder.

I went to Japan alone and left with countless new friends from around the world. I couldn’t speak hardly an ‘arigatou gozaimasu, ’ yet towards the end of my adventure in Japan I was having conversations and laughing alongside my new found Japanese and bilingual friends.

I never changed or grew as much as I did in my time as part of my working holiday visa.

I think that the challenges of working abroad in a country of such a different culture, language and work ethic have a way of making you grow and discover yourself.

I was actually a very shy person before I went to Japan, avoiding introductions to new faces and awkward conversation making. But travelling alone teaches you be extroverted when you aren’t – to create friends in minutes and unforgettable families in weeks.

At my ski resort I made a family and found a home for the three months I stayed. At the end of the season, the winter melting into spring it broke my heart to leave. Foreign staff and Japanese alike cried in group hugs and shared last snowboards down the mountain faces side by side. We promised to meet again. And we did.

After I finished my ski resort contract I traveled Japan with friends, had house BBQ parties – Japanese style and found new work in the craziness of Tokyo city. I had so much confidence now that finding new work was effortless when once I was a bundle of nerves. I even had a job interview in Japanese once (my friend whispering over my shoulder when I pulled blank expressions to the voice in my ear).

Looking back I can’t even comprehend what I accomplished and how my experiences change my world so much. In a way snowboarding became the physical representation of how I kept advancing; eating snow each morning to work as I slid down the mountain on my backside and not board and then to gliding across rails and crashing jumps that I even the guts to attempt.

I left Japan on my very final day of my working holiday visa with the challenge of returning. I now work hard to save money to go back with hopes of studying in a Japanese university. It is hard being away from a place I grew to call home but I know it is all temporary just for now. I am fortunate to still have the friends the met who I write to daily, talk to and practice Japanese and even met again here in Australia as they took their own working holiday adventures.