Well, it looks like the time has finally come! After a few months of waiting and preparation, I am just a few hours away from the Japan Trip. In my life, I don’t think I ever really expected to travel to Japan, or the Far East, but after hearing about this opportunity from Drs. Jasper, and Denton-Borhaug, I really felt that this was going to be a unique experience. After first hearing about the trip I was a little skeptical, but also intrigued. During the fall semester I did a project and wrote a reflection paper on the devastating effects of the atomic bombings., These bombings were events that affected real people like you and me. After doing the Intervention Project, I was really interested in the subject, and learned quite a bit about Japan and how their society and culture were influenced by the atomic bombings.
Dr. Denton-Borhaug and Dr. Jasper’s Peace and Justice Class really tackled a lot of the issues surrounding the atomic bombings, and it caught my attention. It became one of those classes that I began to look forward to, and a class where I could voice my opinion. However, after hearing about the upcoming May-Trip, I asked my parents, and they said things like “Why Japan?” and “Wow, that’s far away.” They were hesitant about the trip, but then I talked with my grandfather. My grandfather went to college locally in the 1960’s, and settled down. I told him about the trip and I saw a glimmer in his eye. He regretted not traveling as much as he was able to, and he told me “take the opportunity!” He told me that it would be the experience of a lifetime and not everyone has this kind of opportunity. He gave me the encouragement I was looking for, and after this I convinced my parents and they allowed me to go on the trip.
With only a few hours before the trip, I do not have any real worries or anxieties. It’s not my first trip out of the country, or my first stay in a non-English speaking country. But I am looking at it from a different perspective; there are a few things that I will experience for the first time. I’ve never been to an Asian country, I’ve never been on such a long flight, and I’ve never traveled without my parents or family. The last part is the one thing that I’m kind of excited about, I feel like this trip is kind of a mark of my independence. Yes, I’ve been living at school independently for two years now, but my parents were always a phone call and an hour away. Now we’ll be separated by an ocean!
I really cannot wait for takeoff. I’ve always lived a pretty risk-averse and normal life—and this is the first time I’ll truly go outside my comfort zone. I want to experience new things, and completely immerse myself in the experience. I want to come home—and have things to take away from this experience.