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★ My life in Tokyo: Overview [ Japanese - EF Language School 2015]
(View from the school - Shibuya)
Yeah, I was in Tokyo again, half a year ago. You might (or might not) wonder why I didn't write about it earlier, I guess I didn't want to sugar coat thing.
Don't get me wrong, I did learn a lot of Japanese which shows that the whole program was efficient.
EF is pricey. I paid like almost 8.000€ for everything involving the school. Apparently, if you choose the homestay option, that is included in the mentioned price too, but I've done some research on what EF's Japanese family, and the results kind of scared me so I didn't want to risk anything. I can't remember how much I paid for the accommodation, but since I had a shared room it wasn't as shocking as I thought it would be.
Now I wonder whether that was really worth it. I can do small talk, order at a restaurant, give directions and read few things, my vocabulary also went from 0 to 10000. However, I'm still not able to read a book on my own or read all the street signs; I can't complain and I can't argue with someone. And all the knowledge I gained during my stay will probably fade away since I rarely use Japanese on a daily basis - actually I don't use any at all.
So do you think it is worth to spent so much money on "transient" knowledge?
I believe, when I signed up for the program I had a clear reason why I wanted to go to Tokyo. The reason must be something like: "I don't want to a pseudo-Japan fan, who knows nothing about the country", "Japan is my favourite country!!!".
Being the little stubborn idiot, I was and still am, to me Japan was like heaven, even tough I was only in Tokyo, precisely in the heart of Tokyo. And Tokyo is not Japan, it doesn't even reflect 90% of what Japan really is, but I was so blinded by the big monitors on the building in Tokyo, to realise that. What really attracted me to Tokyo was this impeccable veil they put on everything, e.g. make-up products have the cutest and most beautiful packaging I've ever seen, the different fashion styles promoted diversity and the food and snacks looked delicious af - basically: if you've grown up in a materialistic society, Tokyo is really a big entertainment park.
And few months before the trip, while I was in Dublin, I realised that don't want to go to Tokyo anymore. I was so stupid to call a country my favourite and neglected all the other beautiful countries. I was completely brainwashed by the books I've read about Japan and all the movies, documentaries I've seen about it. I thought this was paradise, but it wasn't, it was just another materialistic world. The worst is, I couldn't appreciate any other country, to the point I thought my home country (Luxembourg) is a boring ugly pit hole and I absolutely hated it. ( btw now I super love Luxembourg, it's my bae kay)
During that year when my trip approached, I travelled to cities I've never been before (e.g. Madrid) and more and more I realise how stupid it is to fancy Tokyo so much. I mean I did love Japan a lot because I did a lot of school project on it and I was always so fascinated with it, but any kind of fascination can be toxic if it develops into an obsession.
My stay in Tokyo proved me, that Japan or at least Tokyo is definitely not my favourite spot in the world (anymore),
ever heard the saying, that the best way to get to know a country is to learn it's language, well to me, Japan is how Japanese is to me:
Ambivalent & Confusing
It takes a lot of work to understand it and get the basics.
There is more to Japan than just Tokyo.