So it’s the end of March, which means the cherry blossoms are blossoming in Japan!! This also means that the batch after mine (KTJ 09) will be flying off to Japan in a few days 😊😊😊 Are you guys ready for it?
I’ll try to share as much as I can remember about my first few moments and honest experiences over here, hope it’ll help, somehow! Don’t take them too personally though, because I’m sure that everyone’s experience will be unique in their own way. I know it’s quite scary and overwhelming to bid goodbyes to your loved ones to live in a country where you’re still unfamiliar with the language and culture, but I can assure you, it’s going to be an experience you’ll never forget, as long as you take every challenge ahead of you positively.
So once you reach Japan, you’ll be greeted by the superb customer service and proceed to make your resident card 「在留カード」 at the airport. You’ll meet up with the escorts/Malaysian seniors there and post your luggage to your Kosen dormitory. It’ll be quite a hassle to pull your luggage all the way across Japan, so it’ll be worth it. Then, the escorts will hand out your shinkansen ticket/flight ticket/train tickets and tell you how you’re supposed to get to your Kosen. Don’t worry, your class teacher/representative from school will be waiting for you at the stated train station/airport. Some of you might have to change a few trains or get on a ferry before reaching but they’ll be excited to meet you when you reach.
For me, I think that my social mingling can be divided into four stages:
Stage1 – Awkward with everyone
Stage2 – People will start to get interested in you, and you’ll be talking about your country and culture quite a lot, repeating everything like you’re a robot. 1 on 1 chatting is quite normal here.
Stage3 – You run out of stuff to talk to them, and now back to the awkward stage 2
Stage4 – This is where you learn to be comfortable with everything and where you start joining in daily conversations naturally with everyone in your class
My current school, Kure National Institute of Technology decided to start it’s school term unbelievably early so when I reached Japan, I couldn’t make it to the entrance ceremony for both the school and the dormitory 「入学式」「入寮式」, which kinda sucked because they called my name out in front of everyone and I was absent 😂 I even missed out on the class photo taking session which resulted in me being a cropped-in photo pasted on the top right hand side of my current class photo 😂
Right after one whole day of traveling, I had to go to school the next day with my sleep-deprived eyes to be greeted by awkward stares and a few friendly hellos. (I missed the first day of school too) I had an awkward conversation with one of the girls in class (mostly because my Japanese conversational skills were bad- they’re still not that great now but farrrrrr better than before), and with another guy who sat next to me mainly because I was blur with everything each sensei said in the class. The fact that they didn’t make the initiative to talk to me (except for one girl in my class) made me feel quite bummed at the end of the day because I expected myself to be greeted and welcomed like you would see in the movies and vlogs on YouTube, but instead it turned out to be the other way round. There was a student tutor in charge to help me adapt to the new environment in school but she wasn’t of much help too. This first-day-experience really showed me that I had to work hard to socialize here. Don’t fret though, after getting to know them much much more, I learned that they were just shy to approach new people. (I told them how miserable that made me and they said that it can’t be helped) So what I’d advice you to do is, try to be a bit more proactive in class for the first few days and let them know that you’re a fun-to-be-with person. If you’re lucky to get a nice class teacher, he will also try to make you integrate into the class easier. If not, it’s okay too – hey look i’m doing well 😊.
In the first week, you might be a bit more busy buying everything you need, getting all the needed documents done, meeting many teachers, making many small decisions here and there, but just remember that it’s going to last for a while only so just bear with it and go with the flow.
Important stuff you need to settle:
1. Bank account -for your allowance
2. Japan National Health Insurance -pay for the whole year and claim from our sponsor
3. Tax -if you’re 20 (you’re supposed to be exempted from it because you’re a student)
4. Japanese mobile number -if you’re not 20 yet, you might need to prepare scanned documents of your parent’s identification or get your teacher to go with you. Just ask anyone there if you’re not sure.
Since you’ve just started, there’s gonna be a lot of things you need to get used to (like the weather and the language) but also, use this opportunity to get to know more people too.
I’d recommend you to join clubs 「部活」if you have interest in them, but remember to prioritize your studies first. If there’s anything you don’t understand at this stage, don’t hesitate to randomly ask anyone because this is the only time you can use your ‘cheat sheet’ for being a newbie. Embrace the moment. In class, when you don’t understand whatever your teacher is writing/saying, just ask the people around you, and they’ll slowly become your friends. Your tutor is paid to help you, so just ask he/she anything– unless they’re reluctant and cold towards you, then you’re on your own to find other help 😅 If you’re shy and they’re shy too, don’t expect anything to happen 😂
I’m quite sure that most of you will have seniors in your Kosen, so you don’t have much to worry about. They’ll be there for you 😌
((too bad there aren’t any Malaysian juniors coming to both Kosens in Hiroshima though hahaha sayang lah)) Ask me anything if you guys need any help before flying off!!
All the best, and have a safe flight ✈️💕