Good News: Post-Cancellation Update

What a nice little surprise in my inbox yesterday! Converted, that’s about 6 semester units. Glad to know that we will receive credit for finishing the intensive language portion of the program.

It’s crazy to think about how hectic it was after the big earthquake: My parents frantically trying to get me out of Japan, Cece and I studying while waiting 5 hours at the Kofu international office to get our re-entry permits, my TV on 24/7 for aftershocks and Fukushima news.

Despite all the stress of the situation, there was still the hope of things getting better for Japan and being able to return. We were all in our apartments, simultaneously discussing when we would return to Japan and plans to go to Kyoto/Osaka/Nara for Golden Week. In my case, my parents wanted me to wait things out in the Philippines with family there for spring break, and return when the radiation scare had gone down. And then the US Embassy’s Travel Alert became a Travel Warning, followed by a UC EAP e-mail stating that  all UC EAP Japan programs are cancelled and that all UC students return home.

My expected departure date from Japan that was originally just a little spring break away from Japan with the promise of return, had suddenly become my last day in Japan.

Cece was the first one to see this e-mail and she texted me about it. But there was an uncertainty about the message she had sent to my phone. Still grasping onto the hope that this was a simple misunderstanding — a lie — I hurried back to my apartment, and sure enough, there was that e-mail. I text Thomas about it, and there goes all plans, and a lot more e-mails, messages, and changes of plans sent out.

The 9.0M 2011 Tohoku Earthquake is now recorded as the most powerful earthquake that has hit Japan. You’ve lived through the biggest earthquake has ever hit Japan. Good thing you didn’t come back with mutant powers. I’ve heard these a few times already. Yes, it’s a good story to tell in the future, that I lived through this, totally unscathed. I was far away from all three: the epicenter, tsunamis, and Fukushima.

Sometimes I daydream, wondering what it would be like if I were still in Tsuru. I would be taking regular classes with all Tsuru students, finally decided on what clubs to join, and (hopefully) done some travelling in Japan. I should have been there until July.

However, I’m here at home and waiting out the last few days before I return to Berkeley for summer school. I’m taking Advanced Japanese (J100) over the summer so I don’t fall behind too much. I’m hoping to find a job or internship during that time too. In technical terms, I’ve lost a whole semester and I may need to stay an extra one before I graduate. But I wouldn’t trade my Tsuru experience. I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve seen, experienced, and lived a whole other culture for 3 months. I’m trying to not look at this as a semester lost, but more as a short but wonderful experience, and am trying to look at the opportunities open to me now with this upcoming summer, and how I can use it to shape my last few semesters in Berkeley, post-graduation, and my hopeful return to Japan someday.

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