Thanks to the flight ticket provided by the amazing event organizers of JLIVE Talk 2016, I was able to enjoy a relaxing, eventful two-week trip exploring Tokyo and the surrounding areas during the holiday season.
Having made a good number of friends in Japan through my previous studies in Japan and my engagement with the Japan-America Student Conference, my trip was less centered around sightseeing and more involved with reconnecting with friends that I haven’t seen in a good while. I stayed at a lodging close to Ikebukuro, and spent much time eating a variety of amazing foods and exploring with friends.
One highlight was Enoshima, an island once famous for holding many cats only to find out that they have been abducted by other tourists over time. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and taking in the different sights of the area made for a wonderful time. I also was fortunate to visit Yokohama’s Chinatown which is a spectacle to behold, and spent a good number of hours at Tsukiji Market.
The holidays in Japan were also a side to the country I hadn’t seen before; seeing Tokyo covered in all sorts of different Christmas lights and various holiday-related paraphernalia, comparing how a different country celebrates the same holiday was both an interesting and new experience. Time with friends was cherished, and the various dinners, karaoke nights, and the occasional nomikai provided me a nice opportunity to loosen up after a tiring semester.
While my time in Japan was relaxing and fun, I was also able to contemplate potential paths and options for the future. As I soon graduate in the coming months with hopes to find work in Japan, being in the country gave me perspective and context to the options I am considering, and in doing so helped me understand what aspects of lifestyle I value the most. With only one remaining semester of college left, this trip was an important interim in my last moments as a university student and I wholeheartedly appreciate JLIVE for this opportunity. I hope the speech competition continues to expand and send all future participants the best of luck.