Anna goes to … Japan

An international student's diary

Weekly Recap 20/20 – Goodbye my friend

(06.02.17 – 14.02.17)

The day has come: I am leaving Japan today, the 14th February 2017. The last 5 months passed by so quickly it’s almost unreal to me. I have had so much fun, got to know so many lovely people, and learned sooooooooo much, I cannot say it with just a few words! Thank you Japan, and also thank you, boys and girls who made these last 5 months an unforgettable experience. Coming to Japan was one of the best decisions I ever made and I cannot describe how much I appreciate all the effort, support, and time you brought us. I hope we will have the chance to meet again at some point in the future – be it in Japan, Germany, or anywhere else in the world! Until then:




Weekly Recap 19/20 – Study hard


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finaaaaaaaaaaaaals week!

And I mean it was literally only one week into which at least we internationals had all our exams crammed. This meant for me – as I was kind of greedy in the beginning when it came to picking classes – 9 exams in 5 days.  Ok sure, let’s do it! It was partwise exhausting and annoying but in the end I think I passed every exam with quite a decent grade as well. I’ll find out about that in March, I guess. However, this post should not be about me lamenting about having too much to study but rather about Japanese University and Labour Systems.

Note: All I write below is from personal experience, so either from classes and discussions at university or also from talks with Japanese people. So please be aware that some things I write might be a bit subjective. Anyway, enjoy!

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Weekly Recap 18/20 – The official farewell


Ok, so now it is official: only a few days left in Oita and in Japan. I have not yet completely realised this but my Japan experience is almost over. Time runs by…

My melancholy thoughts were provoked by the official farewell party the university held for us on 27th January. Speeches were delivered, gifts were handed over, and food was eaten. After one hour, the official part was over (typically) and we headed over to the dorm to have one final goodbye party with our friends from all over the world.

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Honne and Tatemae

Have you ever heard of the terms „honne“ and „tatemae“?

You might be familiar with the social phenomenon existing in many Asian countries that it is extremely important to „keep your face“ when interacting with others. This includes being kind and modest and not showing extreme signs of affections, but it can also mean holding back your opinions and feelings in order to maintain group harmony. In Japan, „honne“ refers to your true feelings and beliefs while „tatemae“ is the  face you show to the public. It is crucial to know about this before you come to Japan – also because it is sometimes very difficult to tell them both apart.

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Weekly Recap 17/20 – Heating up in an Onsen

(16.01.2017 – 22.01.2017)

I am really sorry for the lack of pictures of beautiful Japanese landscapes, cute little village streets, or delicious food. What can I say, my days after my return from the winter holiday have been anything but exciting. Project assignments, weekly tests, and the preparation for my Master’s thesis have kept be busy and impeded indulging on the brighter sides of an exchange student’s life. However, on Friday we decided that we desperately needed heating up from the blistering cold (for those who say Japanese winters are not as bad as German winters: if you life in a badly isolated shoebox of a room where inside temperature equals outside temperature like we do, you might reconsider that thought) and decided to visit the newly-opened Onsen right around the corner.

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Weekly Recap 16/20 – Back in Oita


Wow, those 2 and a half weeks of winter holidays flew by so quickly! I’ve been back for a week as I am writing this and I can say, daily life kicks in just as fast. In this one week back in university I already had to write two vocabulary tests, one bigger lesson test, and two kanji tests.. So, besides getting back in the rhythm of university life, nothing really exciting happened, I am afraid. Therefore, I suggest that you click here and read one of my posts about the culture of Japan instead. Enjoy!

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Weekly Recap 14/20 – The best steak in the world, (non-related) deer all over the place and New Year’s in Tokyo

(26.12.2016 – 01.01.2017)

Oh, what a week! It’s been some time since I have last done so much sightseeing within one week and I have to say my feet hurt like crazy! But yes, it was totally worth it. We had a lovely Christmas lunch in Kobe, where we tried the world’s most exquisite steak, spent a day in the cute little town of Nara, where we fed dear with crackers, and celebrated New Year’s Eve with ten thousands at Shibuya crossing. The best start to the year one can imagine.

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Weekly Recap 13/20 – A reunion for Christmas

(19.12.2016 – 25.12.2016)

Even though Japanese people do not celebrate Christmas somehow classes ended just in time for us internationals to grab our bags and fly across the country to meet our beloved ones here and there. While the others mainly decided to leave Japan for the holidays I hopped on a plain to Osaka, met my boyfriend who flew over from Germany there, and started a 19-days-trip all across Japan together with him. First stops on our list was our meeting point, Osaka.

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Weekly Recap 12/20 -A Japanese Christmas Party (and a lot of hot wine!)

(12.12.2016 – 18.12.2016)

Even though it is not anchored in their religion (neither in Shintoism nor in Buddhism) Japanese people love everything Christmas-related: bright and shiny lights, Christmas trees, songs, and decoration everywhere, even Christmas markets can be found in some places all over Japan. So, this weekend, our Japanese friends threw a Christmas-themed party in the dorm. It was a very funny evening and we thanked them two days later by preparing some traditional hot wine for them.

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