Tokyo has a special significance for us. It was where we studied and met. It was important for us to go back to Tokyo for a holiday and walk down memory lane together. There are of course many sights to visit and lots of shopping to do, but for the first 3 days in Tokyo all we wanted to do was meet up with old friends, visit Keio University and Plume IS.
We had a quick walk around Keio University and the Co-op bookshop. It reminded us of the days we studied Japanese. Keio probably has one of the most intensive Japanese Language Exchange Programmes. Apart from having lessons on weekdays, many of us had classes on Saturdays too. The programme was pretty demanding and required students to put in a lot of hours of study per week. However, we played hard and studied hard.
We dropped by Plume IS to visit Hongo Papa and Hongo Mama but unfortunately they weren’t there on the two occasions when we visited.
During our stay in Japan, we frequently went to the stadium at Hiyoshi Campus to study Japanese. It was good getting out of our tiny dormitories and study in the open. Sitting on the steps at the stadium definitely brought back fond memories of our student lives.
When we left Japan, I remember everyone to be in tears. The majority of us were in Japan alone and very soon made good friends with each other. We relied on each other. We promised each other to keep in touch and to be back in Japan. Some of us managed to work in Japan and some work in their respective home countries. Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook which really took off when we left Japan, we managed to stay in contact with each other.
We were glad to meet up with Sarah (my neighbour who lived opposite me in Japan), Sachiko, Kris and Nori. It was great seeing them again and chatting about the good old days. What struck us the most was how fluent Sachiko has become in English! She has inspired us to find new ways to continue learning the language we both love.
Our friends very kindly organised a Shabu Shabu dinner for us in Shibuya. As you can imagine from the pictures, there were lots of meat! Towards the end of the dinner, we were piling the pot up with lots of vegetables and mushrooms.
The world is probably getting a lot smaller due to globalisation. A lot of us are able to travel quite frequently these days without much financial burden. However, I consider myself very fortunate to be given the opportunity to study in Japan even if it was only for a year. The experience was a life changing one and led me to meet my best friend who is now my husband, Daniel.