The time I fly out to Japan (FINALLYYY) fast approaches. Just 12 DAYS to go!
12 days till I fly to Germany, to Tokyo, to Osaka, to do volunteer work in a Kyoto nursery and Kindergarten for 3 weeks, through ‘Workaway’.
Since every dream requires at least some sacrifice to achieve, I thought it appropriate to give some thought to what this dream of mine has cost me, and came up with my top 5.
8 years of obsession. ＼（〇_ｏ）／ Enough said.
The cost of Japanese learning materials. The cost of all those expensive Japanese meals at Mt. Fuji Bento restaurant that I just crave! Tempura…(っ˘ڡ˘ς)…. And now the cost of flight tickets, which are pretty expensive, despite travelling during Japan’s rainy season, the cheapest time of year…. Oh, and whatever I spend over there. I could be coming home with a Godzilla-sized donut that speaks to you and does your dishes… This is Japan so you never know. But seriously, if I spend to much I might just be sacrificing my life for my dream, because my wife will KILL me.
Study. Study. Study. Research. Research. Study. Research. Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan.
So many hours I spent studying…labouring trying to learn the language and about the country. So many hours I spent trying to think of a realistic way to get to and experience Japan. So many hours I’ve spent this past year planning this trip so it all hopefully works out, and so I don’t get totally lost during my first 10 minutes of arriving at Kyoto! (If I actually manage to get on the plane.)
I’ve not sold my soul and sacrificed my friends for a flight ticket, but the amount of time I’ve given over the past years to my dream has probably impacted on my social life. I often preferred to stay in and study than go out with friends or try to make new ones. And now, the things I think about and know about are quite different from a lot of other people, making normal conversation sometimes difficult for me…
I can tell you the Japanese equivalent to the phrase “everyone makes mistakes” (猿も木から落ちる）or the names of several different temples in Kyoto, or the names of the main Japanese islands, but I CAN’T tell you about what famous celebrity just got married, or what stupid stuff happened on big brother, or who undeservedly won x-factor, or even who the most popular singers currently are. So yeah, normal social conversation – difficult. The friends I do have I probably drive mad.
This surprised me more than anything else. It’s taken me a lot of courage to keep pushing myself with this, which I didn’t expect. With every week my scheduled flight came closer, more of my excitement was turned to fear and doubt. Now having 12 days left, being flooded with ‘what if’s and having apparently eaten a swarm of undying butterflies, it’s taking me some courage to still go… which sounds crazy ‘cos it’s what I’ve been desperate to do for years. Yet now, in the face of it, I’m terrified.
It’s a place I’ve never been. A language I barely know, despite all my studying. A language in which I can hardly read the words I DO know. I’ll be travelling all by myself, working with people I’ve never met before. Maybe I will get stung by Suzumebachi and die. Maybe I will be bitten by mosquitoes and catch encephalitis. Maybe I’ll miss my connecting flight and never make it there in the first place. (/ω＼)
So yeah, be brave, Andy, be brave.
In all, I’m looking forward to finally experiencing the country I’ve obsessed over so much. I’m betting that the reward of dreams far outweighs the cost, but that a post for another time! However it compares with my expectations, I hope it will be an enlightening experience, and worth the price I’ve paid… But I guess that’s down to me.