Tag Archives: study abroad


10 Oct

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference. – Steve Jobs

Looking back on my life, I see how the dots have all come together and have created such a connection to get me where I am today. If I didn’t decide to take Japanese in my second semester of my first year at Lehigh University, I might not have majored in Asian Studies and probably wouldn’t have come to Japan to study abroad in my fourth year of university. If I hadn’t chosen Lehigh who knows where I would have ended up and if they’d even have a program to let me study abroad here. If I didn’t live in Tokyo, Japan for 4 1/2 years between ages 8 through 13 who knows if I would even have had any interest in seeing my home country. Many of my relatives, who are Japanese American, still have never set foot in the land of their ancestors, which surprises me. I love seeing my roots and understanding the culture here because much of it has actually been adopted by my relatives but slightly modernized and Westernized. The first dot in this connection, though, was my adoption. If, at the age of 2 weeks old, I had not been adopted by my two loving parents in Japan, who knows where I might be. I could be with a different family in a different country or part of the country and have had a completely different life. I might even have still lived in Japan with the name Yuka Takahashi, the name my birthmother gave me. There have been times when I have looked back on my life and wondered if one thing had changed how the rest of my life would be so different. Right now, though, I am content and wouldn’t dare change a thing because if one of those dots were missing I could be somewhere else right now, but I love where I am right now. This has already truly been the experience of a lifetime, or my lifetime so far. I am sure there will be many great experiences to come in my future, and I will trust that all of the events that will happen are for some greater good to get me to a place like I am now.

A New Chapter

29 Aug

I have been in Japan for 5 weeks already, stayed in 3 homes with different families, and am finally settling in on my own at 5-18 Katahoko higashimachi, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, in Seminar House 3 of Kansai Gaidai University. I live in a suite with 10 girls who are all of different ages and come from different places with different interests. My room is small. In the middle there’s a tatami mat with two futon mattresses. Towards the window there are two desks, and on both sides of the door there is a closet. Although it’s small, it’s all I need for the next 4 months to sleep and study. I bought a used bike the other day for very cheap to help me get around. From the dorm, it’s a nice 10 minute bike ride to the campus. The campus is gorgeous! All of the buildings are red-brick and there’s a nice fountain in the middle of the grounds. We have a Seattle’s Best Coffee and a McDonald’s, three cafeterias, and a convenient store on campus. I tried the main cafeteria today. Zarusoba with vegetable tempura, mango pudding, and a cup of green tea cost me only 380 yen, and it was all delicious! Orientation begins on Wednesday, and I will take my Japanese Placement Test in the morning. We have our opening ceremony on Friday morning and a tour of Kyoto in the afternoon. Our classes will officially begin on Monday, September 4. I am looking forward to starting everything, meeting new people, making new friends, and learning Japanese. I feel like I can’t help but smile… I’m so happy to be here. I miss the company of my cousin and his wife. The time I spent with them will be a memory I will always hold on to. Their laughter and happiness was so contagious. It made me realize how smiling and laughter are all a part of the universal language. So, this is the start of my journey abroad… I’m calling it my new chapter in life. Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support me! I appreciate it and the encouraging words! I miss everyone at home so much, but I will be home in January! It will come before you know it! And I bet I won’t be ready for it… to leave. I love it here in Japan, my second home. It feels good to be home