Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Japan [Day 4-6]: Nagoya [Part I: Home Sweet Home]

Thank you for watching. -S.Y.

Last fall, I studied abroad at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. I knew absolutely nothing about this city. The only thing I was told was that I should go to Nagoya instead of Tokyo if I really want to improve my Japanese because it was a smaller city with fewer foreigners. I immediately got the impression that I would be in the countryside, but I was in for a surprise. I was overwhelmed the moment I got out of the airport. It was crowded, fast-paced, and the public transportation zipping in every direction of every color was disorienting. It only got more overwhelming when I arrived at Nagoya Station, a major intersection lying in the center of the country. 

Photo by: Soohyun Yang
Photo by: Soohyun Yang
During the 4 months that I called Nagoya home, I got lost in the city, from crowded stations to the tranquil outskirts. Then all of a sudden I was back in the States. I remember thinking on my last day while staring out through the window of the subway train, "This will probably be the last time I'll see this station." 

The return was a combination of nostalgia and liberation. After losing my way through Yokohama, Osaka, and Kyoto, I was exhausted from running in the wrong direction, having no sense of familiarity and constantly having to ask strangers for directions. In Nagoya, I was home. My favorite cafes, familiar subway stations, they all just fell into the depths of my eyes. But as the excitement of 'knowing' subsided, and the nostalgic feelings continued to circulate through my body, I started to feel a bit lonely. I was here. I was home, but my friends from the exchange program weren't. The laughter, the shocked looks, the "えっと。。” ("ummm...") before every response we made to a Japanese person was all in my head. But at the same time, I was grateful for the temporal time we had together. Even if I redo my experience, I wouldn't do it any other way. I wouldn't make it longer or more efficient. I wouldn't prepare for the obstacles I faced.
Photo by: Soohyun Yang
It was actually quite difficult for me to cut down this video as much as I did because Nagoya is more than just a city I toured. I still have another half, the sequel to Nanzan University. I have too much to say in too many details, so...

Photo owned by: Soohyun Yang

to be continued... [next: Nanzan University]

Soohyun Yang
B.A. International Economics and Japanese Language and Literature 2014
Sigur Center 2013 Japanese Language Fellow
Sendagaya Japanese Institute, Japan


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