Friday, 17 September 2010

Early Impressions about Japan

Upon arriving in Japan, I had yet to understand the immense journey that I had undertaken. While I was pretty sure that my limited knowledge about Japan ( after all, I only knew about sushi and kimonos) would leave me reeling from culture shock, my initial assumptions were only the tip of the iceberg. After fifteen hours of flight, the initial bouts of nervousness hit me as the airplane's wheels skipped upon the runway of Kansai International Airport. When I first walked to Kansai Gaidai's campus, I took notice of the surrounding buildings; I was impressed by the architecture and the wonderful craftsmanship that was apparent in every work of art that I gazed upon. From the Japanese-style homes, to the vending machines and pachinko parlors, I thought everything was so fun and modern. Yet, the heir that I observed within the Japanese spirit, while not contradictory of the surroundings, was representative a moral code I have only seen in the Old Country, or that one could have observed decades ago within Western societies.

Few days later, I had the opportunity to visit the club house where I watched a Judo practice for the first time. After taking some pictures of the players I understood the great importance of the role the martial arts play in this country. I hope that my first look into this very different and exciting world of Japanese martial arts can be one of many springboards that I can in order to learn more about the mystery that is Japan. 

I will never forget the first visit to my home visit partner, Ami, where I cooked takoyaki, Japanese pancakes and ice cream. I also wore a Kimono for the first time in my life and I received one as a gift. Moreover, visiting her family gave me a better understanding of Japanese society and culture.


  1. This is a very nice post about your first impressions of Japan - you are off to a great start in your blog. Wow! You received a kimono as a gift? How will you reciprocate? I am a bit disappointed that you didn't post pictures of the judo practice (as you mention it in your text). Maybe in a future post? Anyway, I appreciate your enthusiasm and look forward to more interesting stories and photos.

    Please add the disclaimer and Creative Commons.

  2. I brought some Romanian gifts to my home visit family. They were surprised when they first saw me because I was the first European blond girl with blue eyes they ever saw.
    Regarding the Judo practice- I already assigned a special post for it since I went to a Judo tournament this weekend- (moreover, I did not want to write about lots of issues without explaining them). You will definitely see more pictures and more posts on my blog.

    Thank you for your comments!

  3. An interesting set of impressions. The kimono gift is quite a statement, not just in overt Japanese kindness, but within the cultural subtext of Japanese gift giving as well. I'm glad you included your feet in the picture! Note the news paper on the tatami for the geta, there's much to be said about Japanese conceptions of 'inside' and 'outside' - not just for shoes. Great first blog post!

  4. Dear Christina,

    thanks for sending me your blog link, it's a great start and I look forward to following your adventures in Japan. Do you mind if I post this to my Kansai Gaidai page on the exchange website?


  5. @Kicky, I am glad you like my blog. Sure, post it on you Kansai Gaidai exchange webpage :)!

    @ R.A. Stern: Thank you for your comments! they are helpful!:)