Today, I’d like to tell you about the Japanese word 懐かしい (natsukashii). It means something like being reminiscent of something, to remember something fondly, or even to miss something. It is one of those words that’s hard or impossible to translate into a single word or even an equivalent expression.

When you see something that reminds you of “the good old times”, of something nice in the past, and you are not alone (talking to yourself in public is a bit weird), you can say “natsukashii!” It is especially applicable when the people you are with can also relate to the same thing.

So when I visited Osaka last year in October and met some of my old KUID1 friends, everything was “natsukashii.” The campus, the 屋上 (the rooftop where we always had lunch outside when it was warm enough), the restaurants, the dormitory. I felt it already when I arrived at the campus and had some time left before meeting the others, but I felt it especially when I was with my friends.

That semester I spent in Japan in 2016/2017 was among the best times of my life, and I have very fond memories of it. So it is a prime “natsukashii” candidate. I also haven’t seen some of the people I met on that trip last year since I left the dormitory, which made the feeling even stronger. I am very grateful to have those memories with all those wonderful people. I’m especially grateful that some of these people are still close friends until today, and even for the people I have hardly talked to since then, I am confident that I could hit them up and go see them any time (well, after the pandemic).

Sometimes, I still feel like I want to relive that time. I have even thought about going back to uni only to do another exchange to Japan.2 While I do think that it would be fun, it wouldn’t be the same. But that’s okay. I’m at a point where I’ve come to accept that it’s not possible to change the past, and that it’s not possible to relive the past. These feelings have rather transformed into gratitude for all those beautiful and amazing memories and friendships that I got from that experience.

Can you relate to this feeling? Do you have a specific memory that you are fond of? I’d really like to know. ☺️

(PS: iPhone 12 mini coming today!)

  1. Kansai University International Dormitory - that’s where I lived during my exchange semester. 

  2. I’m serious. I still think about it sometimes.