Almost everyone that knows me knows that I want to move to Japan after I graduate and teach English there. The question that I get afterward is always, “why?”
I have my list of reasons: I want to see the world, I want to travel, I want to get out of small city South Dakota and small town Nebraska, I really like the fashion in Japan, the language is very interesting, etc. However, I haven’t really told my full story about why it’s Japan I want to go to.
Ever since I was 3 or 4, I have grown up on Studio Ghibli movies. Studio Ghibli is a very famous movie studio in Japan co-fonded by award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki. My very first one was Kiki’s Delivery Service,
and later another favorite was My Neighbor Totoro. (Our family later had a guinea pig named Totoro because of this movie.)
These are both only two of the wonderful Studio Ghibli movies that I grew up with. Please check them out if you ever have a chance. Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle are two other examples.
Having seen Japan in these movies, as that is usually where they take place, I always thought it looked like a beautiful country. I loved the look of the language, streets, art, houses, and the food always looked so good! So, just 4 years old, this was the beginning of my interest in Japan.
Later in middle school and high school, I discovered that I really like some of the music from Japan as well as the fashion there, especially Lolita fashion, a type of Japanese street fashion. Here are just a few of my favorite Japanese bands.
And here is Misako Aoki, the top model in Lolita fashion, introducing a piece for a video. This gives you an idea as to what it looks like, but there are many different styles.
Later when I was a junior in high school, I decided to start learning Japanese. Originally I was just doing it for fun, but in my senior year, a friend of mine said she wanted to go to Japan after college to teach English there. I had never even thought of that! The more I started to think about it, the more it sounded perfect for me. I have also lived in Rapid City, South Dakota all my life and I have not been able to travel much. My family can’t afford big trips so I haven’t traveled outside of the states closest to South Dakota and I’ve never been overseas. Learning that this was a possibility for me and that I would actually get to go somewhere has been another driving force. I have become a lot more serious about learning the language, getting to know the culture, and I’ve been fully enjoying it!
When I entered college, I marked that would like to get an international roommate, and I was paired with my now good friend Natsuki Sato from Japan! It’s been so awesome to get to know her and share stories. I will be posting an interview with her later about some of her thoughts on America and being a foreign exchange student. じゃあね !