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Friday, July 24, 2015

I Like Anime so I Must Like Japan

I’m talking about this in length because I feel it’s very important for people to understand. Let’s be realistic, it doesn’t work that way.

If you decide to go visit Japan only for the reason of liking anime you will most likely be very disappoint. It's okay to like anime, I love anime, but it can't be the only thing. The reason for this is because your expectations are on a different level. Your journey to Japan won’t be like an anime. Anime is a work of fiction set in Japan. These characters you watch from your favorite anime have lives in Japan. You don’t. You live in your home country and you want to go visit Japan. Some of you may not even have Japanese friends to visit. You will either be traveling alone, traveling with a friend or spouse, or you will be meeting up with a friend who moved to Japan. It will be more comforting to travel with someone or to meet up with someone but some people aren’t that fortunate.

Your mind set will be a big factor for whether you enjoy Japan or not. Japan has a lot to other. It’s a country filled with history and a unique culture. Liking anime will not be enough for you to fully enjoy Japan.

Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone but I’ve seen it happen before.

Story time!

I made a friend in my Japanese 1001 class. She really liked anime, and still does. We became really good friends and we both had the desire to travel to Japan. I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad in Japan. I had a great time and I’m positive that it was due to my interest in the Japanese culture.

My friend swore that she’d go to Japan one day, and she made it happen before she graduated from college. She planned a two week trip to Japan as her graduation present to herself. She worked all the details out knowing where she was going to go, what she was going to visit, and who she was going to stay with. She thought she’d have a great time in Japan because she would be staying with a friend of ours and that he would be able to take her around. She was terribly wrong! Our friend was an English teacher in Japan and had already started a life in Japan with his new friends. He had no time for her, and I don’t blame him. There are a lot of expectations when you're working in Japan (I'll discuss this in a later post).

She luckily got to see a few of the sights but came home a week early from her trip. She claims it was because she missed her boyfriend at the time. That sounded really suspicious to me and my friends because we all knew she never had an attachment to him. I felt her trip was cut short because Japan wasn’t what she expected. Her hopes were probably too high of it being like an anime. I think I even heard her complain once that Japan didn’t have nachos.

My friend wasn’t mentally prepared to go to Japan. Now that I look back on our friendship I never did hear her mention anything about Japan except for anime. That was probably the flaw in her trip. Now she ruined her whole image of Japan and will most likely have no interest to go back. It’s sad to see that happen to her because I know she has dreamed of going to Japan since high school. I don’t want to see that happen to anyone else. It’s sad to see someone’s dream just crumble like that. That’s why I’m advising anyone who is an anime fan to please give the Japanese culture a try if you haven't already. Research Japanese culture from books or going on YouTube, both are great resource. If you need any recommendations I recommend: Rachel and Jun, Sharla in Japan, Tomoko Tomoko, Micaela, and Texan in Tokyo.

I hope this helped you out and made you think a little bit more about Japan as a whole.

Until next time!

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