Posted files under ‘Japan

I Am Thankful

As it is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I feel that although I am 6,000 miles from home, I should still reflect on my blessings of this year…

I am thankful for my family, who is always concerned about me; who always awaits for my newest updates of my Japan adventures; who will spend the money and effort to ship me clothes, an 18-pack of Orbitz gum, and a bottle of my favorite hot sauce.

Sriracha & Me

Sriracha & Me


I am thankful for my friends who, despite our busy schedules, try to keep in touch with me despite the geographical distance and 17-hour time difference; who keep me updated with all the happenings at home; who will flood my Japanese mobile phone with e-mails thus raking up my first phone bill.






I am thankful for my fellow JOY-ers & new friends, who have helped make Japan my new home; who have given me a wider understanding of the world; who accompany me on random all-night outings; who allow me to vent to them when I have noone else to vent to; who will create new Japan-glish words; who will fill my mind with へんたいthoughts; who will learn to love Jose Cuervo-sama with me; who consistently make me laugh and keep me 元気.


Another Long Crazy Night


I am thankful for the internet, which allows me to keep in contact with the people I love.

I am thankful for my small Japanese room because it disciplines me into being a much more tidy person.

I am thankful for the 40-minute subway/walk commute because it forces me to be better prepared for the day ahead and gives me a work out.

I am thankful for Japanese convenient stores that sell legitimate meals so that I do not have to cook all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving! Although my Thanksgiving day could have been better here in Japan [midterm failure, lack of sleep, rain rain rain, cold cold cold, another midterm tomorrow, being away from San Francisco, no more mashed potatoes at cooking club =P], I still count my blessings. The good definitely outweighs the bad.


Add comment November 27, 2008

The Biggest Japanese Challenge

Just as I had promised in my previous entry, I will lay off the political rants for now and finally fulfill my blog’s purpose by actually writing about my experiences abroad. Because I have not been keeping up with my blog updates, I have so many things I wish to share about Japan! Instead of blogging, I just kept a list of things that I want to mention…

Today marks the 5th week that I have been living in Japan, and to be quite honest, it has been anything but an easy five weeks. I honestly thought that I would be able to adapt to the Japanese lifestyle almost instantly because I consider myself to be an extremely adaptable person. However, it has proven to be much more difficult than I had originally anticipated. I have learned that it is one thing to travel to a different country, but it is another thing to be faced with the fact that this new, strange place is now what you must call home.

Don’t get me wrong. I am having the absolute time of my life in Japan, but in the past five weeks, I have definitely grown more as a person by understanding my personal capabilities. I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone each day and slowly becoming much more accustomed to the way of life here. My confidence in my Japanese speaking ability is slowly increasing, though I do know that I have a long path towards fluency. I have fully acknowledged and accepted that everything is and will be much smaller in Japan.

What I have finally come to terms with about myself this week is that I am experiencing culture shock. No matter how adaptable and versatile a person can be, culture shock is inevitable. However, I believe that my degree of shock is not as great because I never came here with the mentality that just because I am American, I can get away with doing things as I did in the U.S. I am here with the mindset that “When in Japan, do as the Japanese do.” I am trying to suppress my loud personality as much as I can in public because the Japanese culture is overall very reserved. OK…I’m not exactly succeeding with this task. Haha!

I do get homesick every now and then, especially with social mediums like Facebook that make the world smaller but at the same time make me miss home through all the pictures I see. It makes me want to work harder every time I end a conversation with a friend from home because these important people help me remember my purpose for being in Japan. So thank you!

And allow me to extend a special thank you to my good friend Miguel, who e-mailed me the other day and shared his usual inspiring words:

“Change is (always) scary — and most people are put-off by it or go into a state of denial (rather than confronting it) — but you, on the other hand, yearn for change. That’s a “Leslie Gene” that you should nurture, and one that I try to emulate everyday.”

To my fellow study abroad travelers wherever in the world you may be: There is nothing wrong with accepting weakness because we all have to go through weakness at some times during our adventures.

Add comment November 14, 2008

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