Friday, December 7, 2012

Aloha' Oe to the People leaving AIU

My Japanese 300 Class this semester.
It is so sad. The semester is already ending soon, and after getting to know all of these great people at Akita International University (AIU), I may never see some of these people again. Some of the students I have met will be graduating or returning to their home country. Also the Japanese students at AIU are required to study abroad for one year, so they be leaving to study abroad at the beginning of next year. As for me, I will be at Japan, until next August, but I am pretty sure time will move by too fast. 

I know that are there some people who are thinking about staying here for at least a-year-and-a-half, but I think that may be too long for me. I do not have enough money to stay here for that long, I need to graduate, and I do not I think I will use my time at AIU more efficiently if I decide to stay at AIU for a year-and-a-half instead of a year.

My Taiwanese roommate is staying at AIU until March of next year because he needs to write his thesis for graduate school. His major is Chinese Teaching. My friend, and fellow blogger Will from Gonzaga University, is only staying here for this semester because he does not have enough money. Both of them will not be at AIU as long as me so they need to be more efficient with their time year.

My roommate is apart of the Taiwanese-Japanese Club here, so he does a language exchange with a Japanese student that wants to learn Chinese. He is also apart of the AIU's Academic Achievement Center so he gets to practice his Chinese teaching skills with other Japanese students.

As for Will, he is involved with multiple clubs at AIU such the Japanese Conversation Friends Club and school running club. Due to his short time here, he immediately signed up a for a host family at the start semester. He also wore a sign on his shirt that said in Japanese that he is willing to speak English with Japanese students that want to learn English. Both the international and Japanese students praised him for his desire to learn Japanese. Some of the Japanese students even followed the instructions on his sign and approached him just to learn English.

I have met other people like Will, and my Taiwanese roommate, who have had a major impact in my life, and I am happy I got to know them. I hope that I will be able to see a lot of these people again, some day. It is also nice to know that I have friends with people from all over the world.

As for this week, I got reunited with my host mother from the farm stay last Saturday and the other students I stayed with. It was nice seeing them again because most of the students I met at the farm do not go to AIU. I promised one of the students that I met at the Farmstay that stayed with a different host family that I intend to visit Akita University some day, and I plan on keeping that promise.

Making mochi with other students from my Host family

Reunited with everyone except for one student that got sick that day

At the reunion we cooked Japanese food such as Nabe, and we made a scrap book with pictures from our stay at the host family. The students gave the scrap book at the end of the reunion after giving a short speech in Japanese. I gave my host mother a lei from the AIU Festival, and she offered to let us stay at her place for Christmas. I would go, but I am going to Hokkaido around that time. Before all of the students returned to our home universities, we said goodbye to our host families.

My friend presenting the scrap book made by me and the other students I stayed with

One final gathering
Later on that, I went to my friend's birthday party. At the party, I talked to a few people, and tried to dance. Usually I do not go to parties, but it was my friend from Hawaii's birthday party, so I felt obligated to go. I did not bring her anything at first, but she told me how much she missed eating spam, so later on during the week, I gave her a can of spam my family sent me from Hawaii, as her birthday present. She was so happy when she received it that she wanted to make spam musubis (spam with rice and nori) for the other students.

My Friend's and me at my friend's birthday party
 After talking to people at the party, I went outside while the party was still going and talked to a few of the international students about their reasons for coming to AIU and what they intend to do next after leaving AIU.

Some of the students that were leaving missed their home countries, friends, and food so they could not wait to go back home. Other students, wanted to extend their stay at AIU, but could not because their university only allowed them to stay here for one semester. One of the students, I talked to was a Russian student from the Ukraine, and he is required to get an internship next semester by his home university instead of stay at AIU.  Apparently he has not been able to find an internship yet, so he is not sure what he is going to do yet after leaving AIU.

One of the British students I talked to told me that he came to Japan because of his experience with the World Wide Opportunities with Organic Farms (WWOOF) program. When he joined the WWOOF programming, he stayed with a Japanese host family, and had to work on farm while learning Japanese. He really liked the experience because traditional Japanese culture is very different compared to the British culture that he is familiar with.

Before coming to Japan, I thought that my dream was to join the JET program, and live in Japan by teaching English to Japanese students, but after coming to AIU, I am not sure what my dream is anymore. Maybe I will join the WWOOF program later, if I cannot get into JET. There is a lot of great people I have met here, and I am hoping to see them again someday. I am looking forward to reuniting with people from Taiwan, Mexico, Australia, and various other countries.

Living in Hawaii is nice, but there are so many things I want to see and do, so I am not sure where I want to live yet.

Today is Friday in Japan, and I will be going to an End-of-the-Year Party at the Cafeteria for the students that will be leaving AIU, and to celebrate the end of the semester. At the party, one of the main staff in charge of the COS events (Community Service where international students can get involved with the Japanese Community) will be retiring, so I intend to give him a lei.

Some of the students are delivering videos and photos to him because of the impact he made on their lives. The students are also attempting to fund him a trip to either Okinawa or Hawaii, but I am not sure if they will be able to get enough money.

As for tomorrow I will make okonomiyaki with one of my Japanese friends and some of the other international students. I ate okonomiyaki before at a Japanese restaurant, but this is my first time making it. I am looking forward to eating it.

Next week I have finals, so I need to study for them. I am also trying to get together with certain students before they return to their home country. The semester is ending too fast, so gradually I am getting more busy.