Hello Japan - Here I come!
On the first day arriving in Japan, I had very mixed feelings: sad, happy, excited... Right there in Japan, I have started a new journey in my life!
I arrived in Japan on a warm and sunny spring day in April 2017. I still can recall the tearful moment of saying goodbye to my family and friends at Noi Bai airport.
I still remember the bright sky in Ha Noi after the rain in the morning. I still remember, how Japan welcomed me with the yellow sunshine. I cried a lot, nearly giving up when standing at the check-in gate at the airport. I did not want to be far away from my parents, I still wanted to eat dishes that my mom cooked, I still wanted go to the flower market with my dad, or fight to wash dishes with my brother, etc.
But as it was my turn for ticket-check, I knew I had to go
I turned my head back to look at my mother's face and listen to my father's goodbye words. So, I forgot all of the tears, officially putting an end to the academic life at my current university, heading myself to the ticket-check counter onto the plane to Japan.
"Try hard, Hue!"
This was also the first time I traveled by plane; I remembered feeling very scared because I even felt sick when traveling by car. But perhaps, I was still not over all of the sadness of the farewell before, so I did not feel so bad during the 6-hour flight.
The time I arrived in Japan was also the enrollment period of many language schools, so up to 60-70% of flight passengers were students studying abroad. One little sad thing was that almost everyone had their own company on the trip, while I was the only one coming alone.
On Sunday 09/04/2017 at 15:35, I arrived at the land of the rising sun
From the small window on the plane, I was able to catch a view of Japan from above. The scenery was very appealing. As I stepped off the plane and entered the check-in lobby of Haneda Airport, I started to feel the Japanese-style atmosphere here: a very huge lobby, the voice of the natives everywhere, and the line of people queuing up nicely.
After 1 hour of completing the procedures, claiming the luggages and informing my mother of my arrival, I was able to meet my aunt and have my first experience of riding on a train. I did not find the train in Vietnam that amusing, but I was extremely thrilled with the Japanese train system. Overall, I spent 1,5 hours sitting on the train, changing the train twice, and watching the adjacent house roofs on the roadside and the passing stations.
I arrived at Shinokubo Station - the place that I will grow attached to for the next 4 years in Japan
Shinokubo Station at that time was quite small with only 3 ticket entrances, and it was not as large and beautiful as it is now. But you can always hear different language voices here: Japanese, Vietnamese, English, Korean..., which made me very excited.
Wearing a bag full of my stuff and sticking my eyes to the Japanese words on colorful billboards, I walked right behind my aunt. I passed by many people into a small alley, meeting a few Vietnamese people.
So I arrived at my dormitory - an old 5-floor building
The building had an ancient look, with pale red paint and scattered black stains on the wall. The dormitory had 15 rooms, each room's total area was only 20-25 meters square but it could contain up to 2-4 people at the same time. Initially, I was shocked since I could not imagine myself spending 5-6 million VND each month on such a small room.
But instead, the people living in the dormitory were very friendly. Actually, that house was the dormitory of a Japanese language center, and I was allowed to stay together with people there. Almost all the people staying here were originally from Thanh Hoa. My aunt left, after taking me to the dormitory, arranging my stuff and giving me 1 man yen for expenditure. Other people in my room were the ones supporting me after that.
The head of the dormitory is named Hau - probably some of you living in Japan may have heard of Pham Hau from Thanh Giang Seikou Study Abroad Company. It was her! She was the one that explained to me about the dormitory rules and helped me to get close to other people in the room.
My room at that time had three other people: Mrs.Van, Mrs.Dinh and Mrs.Linh. Mrs.Van was preparing for work, so I did not say many things to her then. Mrs.Linh was the one that I talked to the most. After that, I went shopping for food with Linh. She took me to a supermarket nearby; and the price here is quite affordable so probably everyone knows about it - Gyomu.
What is the thing that newcomers to Japan often do?
That is people convert to their country's currency on their mind while shopping. I used to do that too. I remember myself holding an instant noodle package or a milk carton in my hand, thinking: "Atch, over 200 thousand VND, that is so expensive and I am not gonna buy it!". But after listening to Linh's advice, I ended up choosing some affordable stuff even though I still feel a bit unpleasant inside.
Back to my room, my first meal in Japan was Vietnamese Hao Hao noodles with a cup of apple juice. It has already been a late night, and I suddenly felt sad.
"So from now on, I will have to be on my own"
Spreading the mattress on the floor, I lied down, making a phone call to my parents in Vietnam. As I saw the tears on my parents' eyes, I suddenly felt I wanted to cry too because I missed my family, but I held back my tears as if nothing had happened. I laughed and told my parents about the first day I arrived in Japan. It was the end of day one, saying goodbye to Vietnam and hello to Japan; I told myself I would have to try hard so that I did not have to regret what I had left off back in Vietnam.
Goodbye to Vietnam, I hope to see you again. Hello Japan, let's try hard together!
On the first day of arriving in Japan, we are all the same. We all come to this new country, bringing with us the ambition of youth, the eagerness to update a new version of ourselves with this beginning of a new chapter.
I hope you will have a meaningful time of your life in this country. I wish you could end up successful with what you are trying to achieve. Thank you for spending time reading this!
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