Early Reverse Culture Shock

Holly Toner
Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan
Major: Japanese

It’s been a long two months of spring vacation. Unlike in America, here in Japan we had TWO whole months of relaxation. We return to classes in the next couple of weeks and the new students have arrived. It’s been interesting to see the new students and I wonder if I had looked so nervous on my first day. It’s great seeing them marvel at everything, although I miss my friends from last semester dearly.

However, this break has brought the shock that I will have to return to the states… Fall registration, booking return flights, and family and friends saying how they can’t wait to see me. All of these things are bringing massive anxiety and I know that a year abroad isn’t nearly enough for me. Everyone says, “Go for the year! You’ll regret if you only go six months!” However, I’m feeling sad that I can’t stay a whole next year.flower picture

I’ve noticed that I reject anything that has to do with America. Last semester there weren’t many Americans, but this semester is different. Other students from America make me cringe when they talk about the States. Seeing posts about the upcoming election… Thinking of graduation and moving into an apartment, returning to Kalamazoo… Not that there isn’t so much to look forward to, but right now I resent these things. I don’t want to admit I only have four months left in this beautiful place.

It’s not time for reflections yet, but I already know how much this place has changed me and given me. As spring begins to bloom here, I keep looking around with so much love in my heart for this country. And not only Japan really, but for how much there is in the world. Being here has strengthened my love for diversity. There are so many languages I hope to learn and countries I hope to see.

So even when this time at Rikkyo ends, I know that my adventures will continue. I try to believe and focus on that when I’m facing the anxiety of returning to America.


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