I will be spending the next six weeks in Japan. The first four weeks I will be studying Japanese at the OMF centre in Sapporo, then I will have two weeks of independent travel with a rail pass. The trip was made possible through a combination of a year’s work tutoring, the Queen’s summer school bursary and generous support from family.
I have studied Japanese as a night class since sixth form. My reading and writing (well, typing) isn’t bad but my conversation skills are pants. It’s hard enough doing conversation in English! That is why I decided the only way to properly make progress is to put myself in a situation where I am forced to speak Japanese in everyday life.
I’ve always had an interest in Japan since primary school. When growing up I watched Pokémon instead of Disney, and things took off from there. Then, when I became a Christian, I considered how I could use my interest in a meaningful way. When I first went to Japan with family three years ago I really liked visiting the churches and seeing the good work they do. I am particularly interested in the pastoral care side of things, and Japan suffers from many social issues that I have personally experienced, such as depression and social isolation. In Japan young people who withdraw from society are called ‘hikikomori’, and there is evidence that a lot of these people have undiagnosed autism. I wonder if the church can help reach out to those that society forgets, just like Jesus did.
However I am no help to anyone if I can’t speak Japanese!
There are other perks of being in Japan, of course. Like rabbit cafes. And Rabbit Island. And the Shimanami Kaido bikeway.
I would be deeply grateful if you could remember me in prayer. Language learning inevitably means going outside of my comfort zone and making lots of mistakes, I will definitely need God’s help. Also pray that I would not be too homesick (and that my family won’t worry about me too much!).
I am also currently struggling with the side effects of my immune-suppressant medication for arthritis. It’s been really good with improving my quality of life, but face + little immune system = a lovely face full of cystic acne (acne is essentially a skin infection). The benefits still vastly outweigh the negatives, and cosmetic issues are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it is natural to be insecure about it. So please pray that it wouldn’t hold me back from making the most out of my trip.
More posts to follow! 😊