The One-Month Mark

Night view of Fukuoka Tower

Night view of Fukuoka Tower

It’s been one month since I came to Fukuoka and it has been wonderful. Participating in this study abroad program was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life! Of course I haven’t been happy every minute of the day ever since I came here but I’ve been happy everyday. I certainly had thoughts like “What have I done?” or “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?” the first morning waking up in a foreign country being completely by myself but I never once regretted my decision (and I still don’t). The initial culture shock phase has passed but every once in a while I still encounter weird things I don’t understand. Some of them are cool but others…not so much. For example, public restrooms in the States are generally not very clean and the door and walls only come down to your knees. Here, most public restrooms are clean, doors and surrounding walls come down all the way to the floor. On the other hand, there are no paper towels to be seen and not all restrooms have electric hand dryers. You’re expected to either wipe your hands using your pants or carry a handkerchief. Other weird things such as cars and bicycles driving on the left side, weird beddings with pillow filled with beans, point cards for absolutely anything, vending machines everywhere and they only have drinks, and convenient stores without a gas station, all are very interesting. But the weirdest thing I found is the trash system. First of all, every city has their own trash system and rules. There are different categories for different types of trash. The 3 main ones are Burnable, Non-burnable, and PET bottles+cans.

Burnable and PET bottle trash bags

Burnable and PET bottle trash bags

Everyone is expected to buy the trash bags with the designated labels to throw away the trash. If it’s done wrong, they’ll put a warning on your trash bag and won’t take it way. For the first time in my life, I’M SCARED TO THROW AWAY TRASH! (Lol).

After a month, I’m slowly getting used to the life style here. I have some general idea of what’s the right and wrong things to do in public and behave accordingly. Classes have been fun even though I was placed in a lower level of Japanese class, everything worked out and I’m now in the right one (I think). I still have lots to learn and I’m sure more challenges lie ahead but I look forward to gaining new experiences.