Living in Japan was like going to an extended summer camp subsidized by academic responsibilities. Especially when you look at the school I attended and its location. Akita International University is unique, particularly by Japanese standards; almost all classes there are taught in English, and they follow a liberal arts model. For a school like that to be located smack in-the middle-of-nowhere Northern Japan, among rice paddies and bear dens, makes it feel somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. Yet it was its location that allowed me to explore Japan and its culture, which I will discuss in detail in later postings.
While documenting some of my most memorable experiences is certainly one reason I chose to start this blog, my biggest goal is to figure out why those experiences in particular are memorable to me. What did my experiences mean to me? How did they shape me? How does my personal growth affect my future? Where do I go from here? When I run into someone on campus who I haven’t seen in over a year, and they ask “Oh my God, how was Japan?!”, I’d like to respond with something other than “Good.” How was it really? The Japanese Spring semester ends at the very end of July, and I was busy preparing for my senior year in August, so I didn’t really have a chance to mull over these questions and reflect on the things I learned during my time abroad. Hopefully this blog will allow me to enable me to do so.
As for inspiration from other blogs, Nomadic Matt appears highly on many travel blog rankings, so it is a good place to start. He features many stunning photos, discusses specific locations as well as more broad issues that relate to travelling in general. The layout is easy to follow and aesthetically pleasing, so it’s no wonder it is so well received. I like the navigation bar at the top that provides suggestions on where to start for those who are new to the blog.
Another well-designed travel blog is The Blonde Abroad. If Barbie had a travel blog, this would be it. Not really my taste, but there’s a great map feature on the home page documenting where the author has been, and clicking on a country in the map takes you to postings about that place. I might see if I could incorporate something similar into mine, given all the travelling within Japan that I did.
I can’t wait to get started and see where this leads!
(I’m thinking of calling it Yomikai, which is a play on words combining two Japanese words- Yomu, to read, and Nomikai, an all-you-can-drink-for-an-hour special that they have in restaurants and bars in Akita. So basically implying this blog is a good time, but with reading instead of alcohol?)