Global and International Studies Major
Religion and Culture in Japan
Summer I short-term, faculty-led course
As I sit here in the Education library in Sangren hall I am thinking of all the catchy things I could come up with to grasp your attention on my future quests. I find the descriptions of anxiety, excitement, wanderlust, sadness, confusion, and happiness written all across my brain. Truth is, I am thinking the most random of thoughts and I don’t think I could possibly sum them up without writing about fifty pages. Fifty pages all of which would be one giant rant on how I feel because writing it would be the best way for me to grasp those feelings myself.
Let’s face it. I am currently planning and running all over the place mentally and physically as I prepare for my first international adventure. I think I left fifteen thoughts at home, sixty in bed, and another sixty with my mom when I told her about this trip. Japan has so much to offer many, and it holds loads of new experiences for myself. I won’t be one of those who will have to face our idea of “terrible” conditions in some underdeveloped country, but I may be uncomfortable at times. I am fortunate, and we are fortunate here in the United States to have the luxuries we do. I may be faced with some not so amazing stays in various hotels, and the first week I will be staying in a Buddhist temple called Zojoji. My bed will be a futon, and no not our version of a futon. I have no idea what I will do without my faculty member, a translator who has mastered Japanese. As for myself, well I study Spanish. What if I get stuck in a position without him? What if I get lost and every sign is in Japanese? What if I get on the wrong train, or where I end up is somewhere I’m not supposed to be?
My trip will focus on culture and religion in Japan. We will have the opportunities to eat and learn from monks, travel through the entire island, and be purified through a purification ritual in a waterfall on a mountain. If that doesn’t sound like one of the craziest things to the western mind I am not sure what is. We will visit tons of temples as well as historic sites, and cities all over the place. I have this paper in front of me of our schedule, and I can’t grasp the things we will be doing. I mean I’m actually going to have the opportunity to do this. I’m going to drop my luggage off, pack 2 days worth of clothing, and backpack across Japan? Yes, yes I am. Sorry for such gibberish at times, but honestly I am sitting here telling myself everything I am writing like it’s everything I have never heard before. I sit here in disbelief, and I don’t truly feel that I even understand the beginning of what I will encounter.
Now that I have covered the basic beginning of the thoughts that run through my head at the moment I will move on. Moving on not only in this blog, but straight through and out of my comfort zone. These fears will be left at the border as my plane crosses over the ocean into a new land I can only imagine at this point in time. The pictures are beautiful, and the blogs I have seen are interpretations of others experiences, and not my own. So here I go with just nine days left until I depart. Here is a farewell to this nervous girl I know now, and a greeting to the new me when I return.