I have recieved great advice in the last week.
The Japanese school year has come to an end, and many teachers have left. I have been in a negative place, feeling the loss of many of my friends leaving. I have already written about how sad this has made me feel.
However, with lows comes highs. Two friends in particular, both at the end of their term here in Japan have given me great advice upon their departure. Holly and Cage. I am so grateful to both of them. Holly has given me great advice without realising it - just through talking to her about her experiences here, and the highs and lows she's been through, has shed much light on what to expect. Cage has given me more direct advice. As I helped him pack up his apartment, he was in a particularly nostalgic and emotional frame of mind, and was able to impart tips and advice to me about living here. Through speaking with him, I realised that I have not been as open as I would like to be.
As much as I love my group of friends here, I have not been branching out in the way I would like to. When I look back to my year in Bristol, I know I made the most of my time there. I worked hard (well, hard enough) on my degree and learnt a lot. But it wasn't just that. I branched out, I made many different types of friends. Of course I made friends with the people on my course, and I loved the group of students on my programme, but I made many friends outside of the university, I befriended many locals, followed the city's music scene and worked at a really fantastic local pub. This gave me a different type of insight into life in Bristol. I wasn't just involved with student life, I was a member of the local community.
In Japan, I feel that I have been doing myself a disservice. I made a group of amazing friends within the first 3 months - and then I settled. I do everything with the same group, I have become too attached and comfortable with this social circle. I have become complacant with my situation and feel that I have stopped discovering and feeling inspired by what is new.
Now that the long and painful winter is over - Spring time is here. Cherry blossom is in full bloom and a new school year is about to begin. I want to, no, need to seize this opportunity. I am young, I am living in Japan and I need to make the most of this time.