Chapter 1:


My wonderous time as a language student in Japan

Glistening sunlight danced on my eyelids. I opened my eyes and yes… I am indeed in Japan.

I am staying at a hotel for a few days before school starts. The accommodation provided by the school will be available in a couple of days. In the meantime, I’ll get used to and explore the environment. It’s my first time here in Japan so I have no idea how anything works, but I am confident that I’ll manage until school starts, since I’ve studied a little Japanese before my arrival.

I arrived here last night, so I still suffer from jet lag, but somehow, I feel energized this morning. Maybe I should go out for a walk and explore the neighborhood? I walked to the bathroom and started brushing my teeth while looking at myself in the mirror. My face looked grey and tired, but that’s the jet lag. As soon as I’ve eaten something I’ll look more presentable. Oh, that’s right! Did I withdraw some Yen yesterday? I must check that.

With the toothbrush in my mouth, I walked with determined steps to my suitcase to look for money, but all I could find was everything but cash. I need to fix this but wait it’s half past three in the afternoon!? I had slept for longer than expected. And out with a burst I ran with my face, hair, and soul still not ready for the day.

What if the bank closes at 4 pm? Then I’ll have to use my card to buy food, but I forgot to check if my card works in Japan. I remembered hearing that it’s better to pay with cash in Japan, but I guess it’s not the end if I won’t make it to the bank in time…

I had been running for a while when I realized that I didn’t even know where the bank was. I stopped instantly looking for a person to ask for directions.

“Hello” said someone behind my back. Startled, I turned towards the person. It was an old man, kind looking.

“Um, Hello! I…” I tried to remember what ‘bank’ was called in Japanese, but I just went with the English word.

“Do you know the way to the bank?” I said with a nervous voice.

“Yes, but they close at three, so you have to return tomorrow.”

My heart started pounding harder. I guess I’ll just have to use my card for today then, I thought.

Then I said a little too hastily: “Oh, I see, then I’ll withdraw money tomorrow. Thank you very much.”

I could feel my face getting redder. Why is it so hard to speak normally to strangers? The old man isn’t even scary! I wanted to disappear but that would have been worse than anything. My face would probably have turned tomato-red out of shame.

I was about to leave as the old man took a step closer and said with a kind smile: “You don’t have to worry. It is possible to withdraw money at a convenience store as well. The closest one is just around that corner.”

“Oh, I see. That’s great!” I thanked the old man and went to the convenient store.

Finally, I could feel my red face turn less and less hot as I went back to the hotel. Looking up to the sky feeling the wind caressing my face is one of the things that I should appreciate more. It’s simple, yet so wonderful.

At the hotel I made myself ready for bed. On the bedside table I had put my passport, phone, and mascot; the three most important things in my life right now. And tomorrow a new adventure begins.

Laying in my hotel bed I was thinking about school. How should I introduce myself the first day at school? Where should I be? What classroom exactly? Never mind, I’ll check that tomorrow. But what if everyone else makes a really long self-introduction? I guess just saying “Hello, my name is Sara” is enough… for now. I’ll think about it more tomorrow. My eyelids feel heavy… I think I should sleep.

Micheal Mapeza