Changes

These days, the things surrounding me in my day-to-day life never remain the same for very long. Whether it’s the people who’re coming and going in my life (mostly going), or the weather, my laboratory, or even my research…

…everything is changing!

Sometimes after falling into a regular routine, it can be easy to lose track of time, but then out of nowhere you get a vivid reminder of how the world keeps spinning and how time never ceases to flow, it may only slow down for a while. Around this time of year, for everyone, all over the world, the weather starts to get a bit warmer, as it has here in Kagawa as well. However, for students in Japan around this time of year, it means the end of a long and hard fought school year. For many, it also means graduation. Or, for international students, it may mean the end of their time spent living in Japan unfortunately.

As I type these words, I am thinking about all the people who have already departed from the Kagawa University International Dormitory (香川大学留学生会館).

Felix was the first to leave.

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Most times when Felix and I would hang out, we’d either be going for a run or deejaying! He left Japan about half-way through February and went straight onward to go visit New Zealand with his girlfriend. If I’m not mistaken, he’s there now. But if he isn’t, then he most likely just returned to Germany.

The next people to leave were a group of Chinese students, all five of whom were residents of my floor. After they left, the floor definitely felt emptier. On their last night in town, they had a cooking party where they made handmade dumplings (餃子) and soup! The overall feeling of the night was a simple and pure enjoyment of each other’s company. Even though most of the time I couldn’t understand what they were saying, as they were mostly speaking Mandarin, I still had a smile on my face because of the atmosphere they created.

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The results: a souper spicy soup 😉 and some awesome dumplings!

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I was too tired to stick it out to the end, so I said my “sayonaras”, and went to bed.

The next group to leave was a group of the Korean students. I didn’t get to spend too much time with some of them, Kim Chang Hyeon for example. However, when I did get a chance to spend time with them, it was always pleasant. One such example was during his surprise birthday party. He was pretty irritated because it was held at midnight, and I’m fairly certain he had already fallen asleep. But he was dragged out of bed and to the kitchen where we were all lying in wait. When he entered people began attacking him with cake!

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That night turned out to be very fun! Last week there was a farewell party at Kagawa University for the international students who were leaving soon. Afterwards everyone went out for food and drinks. The next day Kim Chang Hyeon and Huijeong Lim left for home. He wasn’t a man of many words, but often times with people like that, when they do speak it is usually something that matters. So when he gave me a hug, said goodbye and farewell, I could tell it was sincere.

The next change was last night. Yesterday (Thursday) was the end of many peoples’ presentations, and some were even graduating. My lab neighbor, Akie Sasaki, is graduating and heading back to Okayama. This was taken on our lab’s trip to Hiroshima and that is Sasaki-san in the middle.

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To celebrate the end of everyone’s hard work for the semester, we all went out for food and drink! It was also a celebration to welcome a new international student to our lab, Kou-san, from China. His English is much better than his Japanese, so we got a chance to chat a bit. These sort of outings usually begin at one place and end at another. This is where we began, before many people arrive.

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After an all-you-can-drink session (飲み放題/飲み会) here, we went to the next place which had a fantastic sashimi and a natural atmosphere!

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…well, sort of…

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After a fantastic night out, I returned home and as I was passing a room on the way back to my own, I heard some loud voices speaking Korean and recognized them as those of the departing one the next day, Oah Songa and Dain Park. So I stopped by to say sayonara and farewell.

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And then there is Thomas who will be leaving a week from now. During these last five months, between Felix, Tamzeed, Thomas, and myself, strong friendships have been formed and many good times have been etched into memory.

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And so, despite the inevitable abundance of emotions that come along with these times, I remember the words from one of my favorite song quotes ever. Any child of the 90’s should know these words:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Along with the sad emotions, also come the happy ones associated with the unforgettable memories that were made during our times together and so, that being said, I am looking forward to the new opportunities lying in wait for the coming months!

Ah, and as an appendix, here is a shot of Chen Shin Yi, a girl who is only going home for spring break and then returning however, I wanted an excuse to put up the following picture!

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And on that note,

Sayonara!

さようなら!

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8 thoughts on “Changes

    • Well, at the moment I feel like I’m in limbo because I don’t know whether/when I’ll get my visa extension. Other than that however, the next month will be filled with lots of research at the lab and a trip to Osaka and possibly Kyoto, and then the next school semester will begin at the beginning of April. At that point there will be a new bunch of students moving into the International House.

      And yea, I do have to agree; these people make up a great group of people! I couldn’t be happier with the degree of diversity and character of the people I have met here!

  1. Dan,
    I can sense your blossoming in so many ways, and I think going to Japan (or any other culture) is responsible. You shaved a few years off the maturity curve great nephew, and I, one of many, am so proud of you for stepping out of the educational rut and having the courage to go. A big hug and congrats, Unc. mark.

  2. Pingback: New Semester, New People, & Memories of the Old | Dan In Japan

  3. Pingback: A Way To Remember… | Dan In Japan

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