Dear Japan,

I’m kind of mad at you today. I don’t really like your education style – shouldn’t you be more concerned with how well I have learned a concept than how well I can memorize random passages in a book? I don’t like your unreasonable coffee prices (as everyone knows). I don’t like hearing “gaijin” (“foreigner”) all the time while walking around – even if its in a positive way. I don’t like that in order to be polite I have to say the opposite of how I really feel – how confusing! I don’t like paying 5$, taking two trains, and walking ~20 minutes to get home from school after having a bad day at school. I don’t like that I feel huge here – I’m not! I don’t like that I have been studying almost 3 years and am still basically illiterate – rrr kanji. I don’t like getting text messages from my cell phone company and not being able to read them. I hate your squatting toilets! Sometimes you seem so cold and distant. Sometimes you are just too polite. Why do you have to be so gray lately? I think we need to take a break.





Ok, so I had a bad day. My test was hard and I don’t think it was fair. I don’t think my grade will be a reflection of how much I know at all. Really, I shouldn’t blame Japan for all of these things, half of which are generalizations anyway. I also particularly think its good for me to know what it feels like to be an outsider – because at least here people are not mean to me. I can’t imagine what it must be like to immigrate to America, where people are rude and treat you like you are ignorant if your English isn’t perfect, even though they speak only one language. Here, I just stand out a little and people are intimidated to talk to me. I shouldn’t complain.

I’m going home in 6 days for spring break, and I’m sure I will miss millions of things about here. And don’t worry, my list of things I like about Japan is much longer that my list of things I don’t like. I’m not discouraging anyone from coming here. These are just the silly complaints of a frusterated exchange student! Sorry! I needed to vent! Now I must return to my studies – If I fail one portion of my final I fail the whole class -_-. Anyway, In order to lift your spirits (because I’m sure this was an unnecessary downer for whoever is reading), I will leave you with pictures of this beautiful discovery I made in Ura-Harajuku the other day:




Sorry… T_T


7 responses to “Dear Japan,

  1. Dear Japan.. today i do hate you too!!!

    dear my love
    let’s have the whole brownie on monday for sure!
    and just to let you know..
    you forgot to mention our dearest best friend hahaha

  2. Dear Japan,

    Give back my sister


    I’m sorry that you had a rough day all, just keep with the studying. The more you study the better you will feel after the tests are over. Remember, you are Beautiful, Smart and Caring, and no test or country can tell you otherwise.

  3. Dear Japan,

    Your thoughts are completely understood. Book smarts are one thing and clearly more emphasis has been put on the book part. But think of how much you have learned in these last months and more importantly how much me and anyone else looking at your blog have learned about the place and people of Japan.
    Hang in there honey. We know how much you have learned!

    Love Dad

  4. This too shall pass. It’s like a lover’s spat. A break will do you good.

  5. Hi Allison, sounds like a rough day. I can only sympathize with a few aspects (honne and tatemae, is that what you’re referring to? Also, the coldness and distance you feel being a foreigner…even though I’m Asian, when I spoke it was as if I’d grown an extra head!), but I certainly was around long enough to see where you’re coming from.

    I will keep a good thought for you and your studies up here in Canada, okay? And I wholeheartedly agree with Undercover Dad — your wonderful photos and anecdotes continually give insight into the beauty, strangeness, humour and brilliance of foreign travel and life. I think we’re all living vicariously a bit through your experience; so thank you for sharing Allison, and hang in there. = )

    That Canadian guy

  6. You nailed my biggest gripes. I’ve started to fight back, though.

    -I’ve got a two-transfer, $5 commute, too, but I just replaced it with a shiny pink bicycle. The city’s smaller than you’d think; the trains just take crazy routes so they seem long.

    -The coffee prices are insane. Grab a filter and brew up your own coffee at home. It’s pricier than american beans, but still cheaper than the coffee shops.

    -Google “anki” and “rikaichan.” They’ll get your kanji sorted out.

    -Starbucks all have the nice electronic toilets.


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