What is it like to start your new life in Japan?

Hello, everyone! I’m Mira (yes, that is my Rengoku plush), one of the Vice Presidents of TIU’s School Festival Executive Committee! I hope everyone is as excited to start the new Spring semester as I am! If you’re a new student, how have you been doing with your new life kickstarting in the lands of Japan? I hope everyone is doing well!

As someone who grew up watching a LOT of animes and with my parents who studied in Japan, setting foot here and actually living a life on the grounds of the rising sun has been something I’ve dreamt of since I was younger. It’s not my first time being in Japan, but what I’ve noticed between living here as a resident and visiting Japan as a visitor carries quite an interesting contrast.

The first few times I set foot in Japan was when I had just turned 12? It had been such a long time ago, I barely remember this memory. But we had two weeks of vacation and my parents, my siblings and I visited the main areas of Tokyo, namely Akihabara, Asakusa, and Odaiba. I clearly remember waiting in a 4-hour line at the Tokyo Disney Sea for one of the rollercoaster rides, it was worth it, but truth be told, as a child, I hated every second of it lmao hehe Aside from Tokyo, I remember visiting the campus grounds of Kinki University where one of my parents studied in Osaka. It was grand and frankly, piqued my interest in Japan even more, and from then on, I set a goal to further my studies in Japan and be as cool as my parents.

From a visitor’s perspective, the punctuality culture, the very well-known work culture of Japan gives an impression of Japanese people constantly living a fast-paced lifestyle. The salarymen and office ladies walking swiftly through the streets adds to this impression and puts an expectation on those who are wanting to live here to carry the same lifestyle.The upholding of manners and making sure you don’t bother other people around you just as they’re not bothering you too is something that most visitors have a hard time understanding from time to time.

Granted, obvious differences between visitors and residents in Japan like city hall procedures, getting an apartment, and a part-time job are clear enough to see but lifestyle-wise, or at least for the time we stay in Japan, there are many things to consider. Manners are IMPORTANT to this society, and this applies to BOTH new residents and visitors equally. Everything else, the life you live can be as in your own pacing as possible.

To be honest, I had the same worry too, as Malaysians have this culture of giving a HUGE leeway in time management, I’m not too accustomed to the fast-paced and punctuality strictness in this society. However, starting my life in Japan in the rural areas of Saitama, I find that the fast-paced lifestyle really only applies to the central city areas. The campus of Tokyo International University is in Kasumigaseki, where 70% of the buildings are residential buildings; it is more common for us students to see elderly couples walking down the streets with their grocery shopping than it is to see salarymen on a phone call scurrying to a meeting  outside of campus. Though eventually, I find myself adapting to the punctuality nature of the society and quite delicate procedures that many Japanese have to go through as well.

Of course, starting a whole new life in a whole new country isn’t always rays of sunshine and rainbows, but once the classes start and you get to meet all kinds of people from different years both in E-Track and J-Track (which is my favourite part of being in TIU ;)), you’ll eventually get to feel at home slowly but surely. My current good friends are literally people that I connected well through my Intermediate Japanese classes, so making friends is definitely not impossible!

Well, I hope you had fun reading my jumble of letters and words! Hope to see everyone in the next semester and enjoy your last few days of spring/winter break!! If you’re celebrating Ramadan, happy fasting from me to you!

Signing out in pink, COME HITHER SPRING SEASON,

School festival executive committee
Vice Chair Mira