Alright folks let’s GO.
When I finished my exams in first year, I started seriously thinking about third year. I didn’t apply thinking explicitly that I wanted to go abroad. I applied wanting to go to university and learn some gotdamn languages. I sent off my UCAS thinking about how nice it would be to just be focusing on French and Japanese. I did think about my year abroad sometimes; I thought that it would be the most fun thing ever, but I also thought that it seemed horrifically scary so I pushed it to the back of my mind as a problem for future me. But it finally hit me, around this time last year, that this is definitely a thing that is absolutely happening. So I immediately grew my fringe out, fearful of the effects that Japanese humidity would have on my very stubborn frizz cloud of a head. RIP Fringe. My priorities were very, very in order.
Then, after researching universities, Japanese life and studying abroad in general, I decided that I was going to start a blog at some point, because I really, really like reading blogs – especially boring ones. You just met the president? Cool! You just ate a seasonal food at a foreign McDonalds? WOO! You posted a picture of the menu? Blog of the year.
So this blog is, hopefully, going to end up being not only a whirlwind tour of my time in Japan (maybe a bit in France too) but also a guide as to what to do (but mostly what not to do because I’m a spectacular idiot, as you will see) if you’re just another study abroad-er who stumbled across a blog while panic googling (Although I don’t really expect anyone to read this. Apart from my parents because they’re really good people. If you got this far well done.) I might also post about what I do this summer because yolo. This blog is probably more for me than anyone else, let’s be real.
If you’re new to me, I’m Tamsin, and I study French, Japanese and Translation Studies at University of Birmingham. I vaguely started learning French when I was 11, finished the GCSE when I was 14, had a break to do Spanish, then when I finished that GCSE, because I am very logical, I didn’t do Spanish at A level. I went back to French, even though I’d completely forgotten it, because I loved it and wanted to learn it properly. I failed my first mock exams in it spectacularly, but I loved French so much that I worked very hard to claw my grades back and now I’m here. Like I said, I’m not very clever. No common sense whatsoever. Maybe it’ll come to me in the next year.
I started Japanese at university, although I knew a bit before I started. (I say a bit; I knew the Japanese that I learned from music, which is why I started learning it.) Now it’s my favourite! It really is a very beautiful language. Sometimes logical, and most of the time oh-god-why-am-i-doing-this-to-myself. Kanji can be all three at the same time. But for all the complaining I do, I am very much in love with this language.
I’m going to study at the Center for Japanese Language at Waseda University in Tokyo from September 2017 to August 2018. I am but a half hour commute by train to Japan’s only Taco Bell, and also a dog cafe. I could tell you why I chose Waseda as my exchange university, but I think that’s reason enough.
Anyway, this is just a cheeky little (Little?? Am I joking?) post to get it all rolling and sort of frame what’s coming a bit. Next post (whenever it is, I don’t know) is going to be some juicy administration that I did back in March, because that was some drama baby and I want it to have its own post, and also about booking my flight (which I did with Geraldine Sproston Personal Travel Consultant at Hays Travel who is exceedingly lovely and helpful! I would highly recommend her!). Maybe if I’ve gotten around to doing my visa by then I’ll post about that too. Who knows!
The only thing I was ever certain about having in this blog was music. Music is the reason why I’m studying Japanese. I’m doing French because I started it at school and ended up loving it, but I started Japanese because I’ve loved Japanese music since I was…. somewhere in the region of 12. I don’t really remember. But every blog post is going to have a song. I’m hoping it’s going to go from songs I love already, to songs I find when I’m out there. That would be so fun.
The first song – Yeah! Meccha Holiday! (Yeah! Hella Holiday!) by Aya Matsuura – is where I got the name of this blog (and my Instagram). It’s not my favourite song ever but it is a 2002 classic that will never die.