Lost in translation, but found again

The last of us (UBC students) arrived at the Palace Hotel in Tachikawa, Tokyo shortly after midnight on Sunday August 14th (technically Monday). That last student was me, and while my plane landed shortly after 9pm, I didn’t realize the length of time it would actually take to get from Narita Airport to the west side of Tokyo. My journey began in Vancouver 20 hours earlier. In fact, most of our journeys began in YVR, with stopovers in multiple countries before ending up in Tokyo. Some of us decided to stop in China, Korea, Mongolia, while others decided to arrive in Japan a week or two early to see family/friends and travel.

The connections many of us have with Asia is certainly not limited to Japan, but this year’s experiential learning initiative brings us together because of our fantastic colleagues and connections here. To take you back about five months when the tragic earthquake hit Japan, there was a moment when we weren’t sure if our friends and colleagues in Japan were in any state to host us this summer, understandably. So we held our breath for about a month as news started to slowly trickle in that the show must go on. We were elated, and so grateful to the bravery and resiliency of our Japanese counterparts.

In the months following, our friends in Japan never wavered replying to our steady stream of e-mails and queries. When we requested they round up a group of 10 Japanese students who were equally as dedicated to their studies and looking forward to an intercultural learning experience, they certainly delivered. Last night, we met our Japanese counterparts, and they appear to be a group of incredibly smart, passionate and charismatic students. I worried that my lack of Japanese would pose challenges in the negotiations but it appears I may not have to worry about that since most of their English is impeccable. However, note to the makers of Play Station, I would love to receive a free PSP so I can listen to my Japanese Lessons again. I lost it in the mad dash between connecting flights in Korea to Japan 🙁

Each of us have our own unique stories of how and why they joined this experiential learning initiative, including challenges they encountered throughout the course. However, most of us can probably agree that this will be one of the most memorable and unique courses they will ever take. More stories to come to highlight our adventures.

Follow me on twitter for shorter updates! @ecoseoul

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