Fort Collins, next week is finals week here at Kansai Gaidai University, and I only have two days of classes left. My time left in Japan is getting shorter and shorter, and that thought has me quite saddened. I’ve learned to quite like this country! So, as a companion article to last week’s, I’m going to look at the five of the things I will really miss about Japan.
- The food. Though I miss American food more than you can imagine (if I had a Five Guys burger wrapped in pizza right now, I would cry rivers of happiness), it is going to suck leaving behind some of the culinary delicacies I’ve found here. I’ll be hard pressed to find takoyaki or okonomiyaki back home, so that alone might justify a trip back here someday. Also awesome are tabehoudai (all-you-can-eat) and nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) places, where you can eat and drink yourself silly for a rather small price tag. I thought Country Buffet was awesome as a kid, but now I see what I was really missing.
- Vending machines and konbini. If I had three words to describe Japan, “convenient” would definitely be one of them. Two of the most convenient things about the country are their vending machines and konbini (their word for convenience stores, like 7/11’s). Both of these are literally everywhere, and to walk down a street without seeing one of them is damn near unheard of. You thirsty? Well, good thing there’s three vending machines down the block. You hungry? You can get a perfectly crispy corn dog (humorously enough, called “America Dogs” in Japan) from that 7/11. It’s just fantastic.
- Bad English. I totally don’t mean this to sound racist, because I speak horrific Japanese, but there’s a lot of bad English in Japan. This comes out mostly in Japanese apparel and signs, which are often hilarious. The English clothes have made clothes shopping fun for me (never so in America!), made people-watching all the more entertaining, and just completely improved my experience here. Nothing turns a frown upside down faster than seeing a store called “Store My Du’cks” (with the apostrophe!).
- Always having things to do. I love Colorado, but sometimes there’s a lack of things to do and places to go. In Japan, there’s no such problem. Make a trip to Osaka or Kyoto, and it’ll just take a glance in one direction for you to find an activity to do. There’s all-night karaoke bars, at least one mall in about every town in the country, shrines, temples and castles galore, and countless interesting places to waste some time. I’ve seen a lot in my time here in Japan, but I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
- The people. This is probably the biggest one. No offense to Americans, but a lot of them are kind of hard to be around. This is even more obvious after spending time with Japanese people, who all just seem to be little balls of sunshine. They’re polite (though sometimes, admittedly, that is just a facade), they somehow memorize and remember your name after only meeting you once (unfortunately, I do not have the same talent) and they’re always fun to talk to. I’ve met some great people here and having to leave them so soon isdefinitely going to be the hardest part about leaving.
This list could have been pages and pages long, but I’ll keep it short. There’s a lot of aspects of Japan I love, and that I even prefer over America, and leaving all of that behind and readjusting to the good ol’ U.S. is going to be difficult. See you next week, Fort Collins, for the last installment of Konnichi Wa, Fort Collins.