5/09/2012

Memories of Tokyo

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Ryan Murray


Writing 11


Memories of Tokyo


Living in a foreign country is an experience in itself, but having the opportunity to live in the largest city in the world, Tokyo, was another. Moving to Japan was a great experience because of the entire different culture, endless things to do, and more family time. Mostly everything that I went through in my lengthened vacation was positive, but on the other hand, some aspects also were negative.


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Imagine the largest city you’ve ever been to in America and double it, maybe triple it. Tokyo is the largest metropolitan city in the world, and I had the chance to live there my junior year of high school. The fun never runs out when it comes to Japan. There are endless things to do in the city. Each weekend seemed like there was something new to do, whether it was Karaoke with good friends, skiing at the ski-dome, or attending a sumo match. The transition from big city living to life in Ontario, Oregon is still very difficult. Tokyo provides everything anyone could ever need. Some of my greatest memories of living in the city were just exploring the city on the trains and subways. We would jump on a train and not even care where it took us because we knew that wherever we ended up, we could find something to do. Exploring the endless city and trying to find my way back home was something I enjoyed. Also, exploring other aspects of Japanese life such as their extremely different culture was a great experience.


The Japanese way of life is like nothing I had imagined. When I flew in for the first time, I had a severe case of culture shock. Getting used to being a foot taller than almost the whole population, and I feeling like an alien in another world, was difficult. I felt like I was in the movie, “Planet of the Apes” because they all look different than I do and it was hard to communicate with the people. Whether it was ordering food at a restaurant, or telling a taxi driver where to go, I had to use my hands to communicate more than my mouth. Japanese customs are much different then the American way also. When greeting another person, bowing is the way to be polite, rather than a handshake or hug. Japanese people get offended if you do not follow their way of life in their country. They are extremely passive. If somebody is loud and obnoxious, they simply ignore them and stay quiet. Another aspect of their culture is their food. Japanese food has become my favorite food. Everything from sushi, noodles and meat dishes are delicious.


The main reason my family decided to move to Japan was to have more family time together. My dad had been traveling back and forth to the states just to be at home for one week of the month. Spending more time with my dad has definitely benefited the well being of my family. We were able to go to church as a family, sightsee, and just have a good time together.


Although my time in Japan was a great experience, there were some downfalls to living in a foreign country. For instance, I missed out on part of my high school because I lived there my junior year. I did attend an American School while in Japan, but it was not the same as a high school in America. This school had a university atmosphere. The classes were extremely strenuous, and I had no time because of the large amounts of homework given each day. The bus ride to the school was an hour each way, which took a lot out of me since I had such a large chunk of homework all the time. Also, I had no friends for the first few weeks I was there. This soon changed after I began to play football and basketball for the school teams. Church also gave me the opportunity to make friends with other people I shared common interests with.


Overall, my family’s decision to live in Japan was a great decision. We had the time of our lives exploring a new land. Our fun never ran out as we learned a new culture, a new language, and adapted to big city living.








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