Nagoya Priya Pagaddinnimath

Welcome to Japan

Priya – Exchange to Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Semester 2, 2016

Coming to Japan I was extremely nervous yet also excited for the journey I had ahead of me… I didn’t know how to speak the language, I didn’t know anyone in Japan and apart from Mount Fuji and Sushi I didn’t really have any background information on Japan. Despite all this, I had heard exceptional things about Japan and how friendly and helpful the people were so I said to my self, how much of a challenge could this be? Landing into Tokyo airport and taking my first step into Japan, there were various emotions running through my body. Once the security and customs check were done, I had to take my first bullet train (Shinkasen) to Nagoya the third largest city in Japan and also the home to my host university. One of Japans main attractions are its bullet train services and ‘oh my’ it was an experience I won’t forget. For the speed the train is travelling at, you don’t feel a thing. Once arriving to Nagoya, little did I know that there was still an hour journey for me to get to my university and my accommodation. I had 2 suitcases and 1 hand luggage and as I registered all my login details for free train station WIFI, I felt the reality of the journey ahead of me… Finally I had found the address to my accommodation and made my way to a taxi. I took the first taxi waiting in the taxi rink and the kind Japanese taxi driver helped me put my luggage into the taxi and I told him where I needed to go and he stared at me with a blank face. At this point I was tired and hungry… very hungry! I repeated myself and he still gave me a blank face, I showed him the piece of paper and the two words I feared he would say came out of his mouth “NO ENGLISH”. My heart dropped, both the taxi driver and me were lost, I didn’t know any Japanese, well some but not enough to know where I was going or where I needed to be. Both lost in translation we sat in the taxi while he tried to use his navigation and with the little communication we both had we found an address and location, which seemed correct so with the faith and hope we had left, off we went. It was here I experienced the generosity of Japanese people. If you haven’t heard, Japanese people will go to any extent to help you regardless if they know what your talking about or even if they don’t know they will always find a way to help you. So we drove along for about 40 minutes and the taxi driver had slowed down, he stopped the meter taken my luggage out of the car and after I paid him he drove off… All I could see was white buildings and I had no idea where I was. At this point I just wanted to cry it had been 7 hours since I had eaten anything and I haven’t mentioned this yet but I was in a turtleneck sweater and jeans in 35 °c heat with two suitcases and 1 hand luggage. I stood in the scorching heat for 10 minutes with no game plan. Once I had taken this time to feel sorry for myself I decided there was no way I wasn’t getting to my accommodation. So without any phone reception I decided there was no harm in walking. So I walked for about 20 minutes and suddenly I saw a security guard and something that looked like an entrance of a university, well to be honest at that point in time I just hoped it was. Unfortunately the security guard also didn’t know any English but he saw me with all my suitcases and started walking so I followed him…and finally I met someone who could speak English. A university student who happened to live in my university dorm, at this point I couldn’t help but think ‘could my life get any better’? Getting to my university was one wild experience but little did I know that there would be plenty more experiences Nagoya had in store for me…