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.

Naturally, the University of Oita wanted to officially say good bye to us. So they organised this „party“, which was pretty much the same ceremony like when we arrived. the director of the university delivered a speech and so did the guys from the Global Crew, who organised many of our trips. Some students had the chance to say a few words (and shed some tears) as well. After only one hour, the official part was over (again). This always astonishes me because I can never imagine why anybody would organise such an event, prepare all the food, wrap the gifts, and then after only one hour, everybody leaves again. But anyway, the official part was over so it was time to party. This has become also a tradition of ours and I can say, we get better at it every time 😉

As the weekend after the party was – surprise – rather quiet, I have not much to write about here. Instead, I would like to take the chance and tell you something about Japanese gift culture here. Of course we received farewell gifts – a nice little book about Oita prefecture and lovely cards and photos from our Japanese friends! But we did not only receive them out of friendliness but rather because giving presents is an important part of social interaction in Japan. It is called Giri and is a main part of Japanese culture!