Note: All of this happened more than a year ago. I’m (unfortunately) back in Germany now, but it feels good to finally write all of this down. Enjoy!
What happened so far: My Japan Journey, Part 1
On 6 September 2017, I started going on a 26-hour journey to Osaka, Japan. It was that long because it was cheap and I started at a small airport in Denmark (where I was on vacation with my friends). A day later, around 15:05 local time, I finally arrived at Kansai International Airport.
After going through the whole immigration procedure, the first thing that happened was that a TV crew asked to interview me. It was mostly in English through a translator, but a few times I answered a simple question in Japanese. The interviewer was so happy about every Japanese word I said, it was weird, but also fun. Right after that I met a girl who was also going to Kansai University and waiting for the meet-up. I had made my first friend in Japan (well, she was also from Germany, but anyway :D).
Someone from Kansai University was supposed to pick us up at the airport, but because the previous group had just left, we had nearly two hours to waste. While we waited, other people heading to the same university and dormitory arrived. Soon, we had a mix of people from all over the world. I haven’t had much contact with international people at that point, so often it was a first for me to meet someone from, say, Hong Kong, or Thailand, or Malaysia. There were people from Norway, France, UK, USA, Australia, and so on. I tried to remember as many names as possible (I think at one point I started a note on my phone and wrote all the names down). Everything was new to me.
A while later, we had all gathered and a woman from Kandai (short for Kansai Daigaku = Kansai University) made a little introduction and told us what would happened next. We all bought tickets for the shuttle bus going from the airport to Osaka city, and then waited until the bus arrived. We talked a little during the bus ride, but most of the time I just looked out the window and watched the city come closer. It all looked kind of familiar, I had probably watched way too many Japan vlogs. After the bus ride, we had to take the train to continue to the dormitory. That was very exciting as well. First of all, there were A LOT of people because it was the early evening. Also, I had never been to a city with a “proper” train system, so it was the first time for me to use those ticket barriers. Waiting for the train, I was flashed by the fact that even with such a large number of people, everything was really organized. The train arrived, people left on the opposite side, then the doors opened on our side so we could go in. I had never seen anything like that before in my life, and even though it’s not a big deal, I was so excited about everything.
After we got off the train, we had to take a short walk to the dormitory (looking back now, the path we took was longer and less convenient than it could have been, but maybe they didn’t want us to get lost in the park 😂). There was the occasional yell of “自転車！” so everyone could move out of the way for a bicyclist. Finally we arrived at Kansai University International Dormitory! There, we had to pay a deposit and fill out a bunch of paperwork while we met more and more people who had already arrived earlier that day. Some of the RAs (Residential Advisors) introduced themselves to us as well. There were some attempts to speak a little Japanese, but except for very basic things I couldn’t say much at that point. Looking back I’m surprised that I wasn’t all that tired despite the fact that I hadn’t slept much in the previous 50 hours or so. But when I came to my small room later that night, I basically just crashed into bed.
Wow, it felt like I wrote so much, but it only covered arriving at the dormitory. I don’t think future posts will have this amount of detail, not because I want to keep it shorter, but rather because the memory of those first moments in Japan are much stronger than what came after.
I also wanted to add some photos to this, it seems I only recorded video on this first day. You can watch my vlog about it, although unfortunately the vlogging project completely failed after that. But I will definitely include photos in the future posts!
Let me know if you like this and if there are things about Japan that you’d like to know more about. 🙂