Upon arriving in Tokyo, an array of thoughts flooded my head; one of the primary concerns floating around was the idea of making friends. And not just any friends. I wanted friends with whom I could relate. I wanted friends with like minds and similar interests that I could vibe with and have fun with. And I preferred that they not automatically be the people in my building, or in the program I was in. I wanted friendships that would last even after we’d all left Japan; for me, as I looked upon relationships [like the ones previously described] as pseudo-friendships, I wanted something beyond transient.
Imagine my surprise when, after a short time in Japan, I began to find exactly what I wanted. The people who began to permeate my life slid in with ease; no pretense, no forced conversations, no made-up interests so as to become fast amigos. Those people became my friends.
My Japan experience, without them, would have otherwise been completely different. I probably would have been forced to befriend my roommate or someone in my residence; it wouldn’t have been organic, which these friendships were. Thanks to them, I’ve experienced things I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to take part in, grown as a person, and learned the ins and outs of teaching English in a foreign land (something I’m considering doing at some point).
What’s more, as each of them represent some place different (England, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and America respectively), I was able to get intimate glances into a culture different than my own and become an even better global citizen, which is a goal I set for myself whenever I travel. -VJ