We arrived in Tsukuba late at night, it was rainy season then and that was May 31st 2004. The first few weeks or maybe months were very hard for all of us. Adjusting was one thing and learning the language was another. Our son was not very happy about our move to Japan. We enrolled him in a public school right away so he would have something to do and it was also good for him to make new friends. We were going to enroll him in an International school but we decided to put him into Japanese school since we may be staying for more than two years and thought it better for him to learn Japanese. I was very nervous at first whether he would like it or not but within a few weeks he found some friends and he was doing okay. I also took Japanese lessons as well to help me ease into the process of adjusting.
One year later, I can honestly say that we have adjusted pretty well. Every Friday is our "Kaneki night," the name of a sushi restaurant where we go and even though we sometimes get tired of eating sushi we always go back. It is very healthy, delicious and uniquely prepared food. It is very interesting and while you are in Japan you should be sure to try sushi or other Japanese food. It is one of many things that Japan is famous for.
In the past year I have met and made lots of new friends. I have learned so many things from different people and indeed it helped me a lot with my way of thinking about many things. We live in Ninomiya House where I meet quite a lot of interesting and nice people from all over the world since it is designed for foreign residents who often stay for a short periods of time. Tsukuba is a nice place and a beautiful city but we are just here temporarily. I would never have imagined that I would feel sad to leave since I am always looking forward to returning to my home country, but when some of my new friends began leaving it made me very sad and lonely because it is not easy to find people with whom you feel comfortable talking and sharing laughs, frustrations, excitement and joy. Even though I was busy with my two children and my husband still I was very happy that I found some good friends. We all need a friend. I am very glad that I was able to meet such wonderful friends and hopefully to maintain contact with them no matter how far we may be. Distance is not a problem anymore when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family because technology now is so far advanced.
Lastly my suggestion to new comers is to have an open mind and always be willing to accept things the way they are. It seems very difficult, lonely and depressing at first, but if you get out and meet new people, take some Japanese classes, and don't isolate yourself you will be fine. Don't be afraid to meet and make new friends you will be amazed what it can bring you.
The International Women's Network (IWN) is a group of women who enjoy chatting with people from all over the world. We hold a monthly potluck dinner where we exchange information about the local community while eating a variety of foods. No reservation is needed to attend the potluck. Just bring one dish of food and show up at the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the international city of Tsukuba with us!
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