Tag Archives: year in review

Reflections

In a few weeks I will have been living in Japan for two full years. This is the longest I have stayed in one place since I was 17. In honour of this anniversary, I thought I would post my reflection on my first year of living in Japan. This post was originally published in the 2012 Welcome edition of the TRAM, Toyama AJET’s magazine/blog. (Side note: I am now an editor of the TRAM. You can check it out here!)

Confusion: My First Year in Japan

When I was asked to write a reflection on my first year in Japan I hesitated a bit. I would love to write an essay about all the things I learned and the epiphanies I experienced. However, the truth is that I really don’t know what happened that year. It whizzed by in a big ball of confusion. I don’t just mean that I was confused; I was like a host for confusion, spreading it around like a virus. Anyone in my vicinity was susceptible.

I managed to confuse the entire school during the fall term’s opening ceremony. I walked up to the microphone and started to deliver my self-introduction flawlessly. Unfortunately, it was the principal’s turn to speak. I had to return to my seat and try again a few minutes later.

Outside of school presented an entire world of bewilderment. In the winter I got influenza and went to the pharmacy to buy a thermometer. I remember standing in a feverish haze, staring at a wall of thermometers, trying to figure out which one went where. Finally, I grabbed a thermometer and approached the till. I mustered up my courage and spat out “Sumimasen… doko?” while miming placing the thermometer in my mouth and underarm. Thankfully the lovely lady at the till stopped me before I had to mime any other potential locations. Still, she looked appropriately horrified a she pointed to her underarm. I thanked her and she rang me up. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when she went home that night. You will never believe what happened to me at work today . . .

Despite the confusion – or perhaps because of it – I managed to carve out a comfortably strange niche in my school and neighbourhood. The teachers at my school were so kind after I screwed up the opening ceremony that for a few moments I actually believed it could have happened to anyone. My students were a bit more skeptical of my brand of weirdness, but I was able to win over most of them within a few conversations about K-pop or soccer. As for the pharmacy, every time I return the clerk gives me a huge smile and slips some freebies into my bag. We are basically BFF.

I would like to say that I make fewer blunders now that my Japanese is improving. However, I recently learned that I have been confusing the Japanese words for “girlfriend” and “subway” every time I used them. (No, they sound nothing alike.) So I am sure that this next year will bring with it many more grim “Meagan in Japan” stories. So it goes.

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One the one hand, taking this picture suggests that I have embraced the “cute” culture in Japan. On the other hand, I still think that seeing 4 oversized Poohs on the side of the road is strange enough to merit a photo op. I think we can agree that I have not yet fully assimilated.

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2012

A little recap of things I saw and did in 2012.
(The song is “Lucky” from Said the Whale.)

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January 13, 2013 · 9:36 pm

2011

As I type this there is just over one hour left in 2011, a year that has had its … challenges.  Still, despite not being the easiest of years, it had some pretty fantastic moments.  In (roughly) chronological order, 2011 was the year I:

  • Visited New Zealand for the first time
  • Became a little bit obsessed with penguins
  • Found out how utterly unemployable I am in Canada right now.
  • Worked at March Break Camp
  • Got my grown up driver’s license
  • Met Becca’s baby
  • Marveled at the fact that my peers are now becoming parents.
  • “Surprised” Kate for her birthday and (finally) got to eat fire-roasted perogies again.
  • Moved to Japan
  • Revisited culture shock
  • Visited Kyoto and Hiroshima
  • Hosted my dad for Christmas

The list is certainly not exhaustive, but  it hits on the most fun moments.

I look forward to the new adventures that 2012 will undoubtedly unleash.  To my friends and family at home and abroad, I hope that the new year brings you all health, restful sleep, and happy adventures. Happy New Year! 今年もよろしくお願いします

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2010: things I did and saw in Korea

Here’s a brief video review of the things that I did and saw during my (almost) year in Korea.

Merry Christmas to everyone and happy 2011!

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2009

I had big plans to write a year end my-life-is-better-than-yours letter, detailing everything from that time I worked as a call (center) girl to getting kidnapped  in Luxembourg and taken to Delft … but things got busy towards the end of the year. So, let’s just do a quick recap.  2009 was the year I…

  • worked at the call center.
  • wrote my first letter of resignation.
  • went to Europe for the first time.
  • saw a couple break up at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  • went back to camp.
  • wore my PFD to the top of Silver Peak.
  • saw one of my best friends get married in a surprise wedding.
  • Met my imaginary pony, Mr. Sunset.
  • named a turtle after Michael Jackson (good ol’ MJ.)
  • failed at jumping in photos but excelled at taking jumping photos.
  • surprised Devon by jumping out of a box at her birthday party in Victoria.
  • learned the frustrations of conducting business with parties scattered around the globe.
  • moved to Korea.

I made a little video of my year in pictures, including evidence of some of the events mentioned above. However, WordPress won’t let me embed it.  Here’s the link if you want to watch it! Fixed!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2010 brings you all health, happiness, and an imaginary barnyard animal!

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