I have a friend back home, and whenever she calls me there’s excitement in her voice to hear how my life out here is. I always tell her that I’m living here, I’m not on holiday and that I live a fairly normal, mundane life, and every time she reminds me that it’s ‘normal, mundane life in Japan.’ And in a way she’s right, I really do love my life out here. Moving to Tokyo provided me with excitement that I never found back home. But at the same time I do live a fairly normal life, it’s just different to back in Australia. I get a lot of questions from the people back home as to what I’m actually doing, so I thought I would provide some insight into what my everyday life looks like.
My weekdays are very much unchanging, I get up at around 9:00 and get ready in the morning. I usually leave the house between 11:00 and 12:00 and walk to the station where I take the train for Shinjuku before transferring for Shin-Okubo. From Shin-Okubo I walk to school, buying lunch from the convenience store or bento (boxed lunch) store on the way if I don’t have leftovers from the night before. I’ll get to school with an hour or so to spare and eat lunch with friends. Then, we’ll sit and chat or do homework together until class starts at 13:40. (Having afternoon classes is one of my favourite things about my life right now).
During class we will study whatever is scheduled for that set day. Throughout the week we study a combination of kanji, grammar, reading, writing and listening exercises. School runs with regular short breaks until 17:30 when I will usually, unless exceptionally free and/or bored, head straight home.
When I get home I make and eat dinner (unless I’m too lazy or don’t have enough time, in which case I buy dinner). When I lived with a host family I would sit in the living room and study or play with the girls until they went to bed before retreating to my room. Now that I live in a share-house I sit in the shared space with my housemates for a while until I go to my room. From here I do any combination of homework/study, procrastination and spending way too much time on Netflix, YouTube and social media. Essentially, I’m your typical student. I also occasionally do chores when I realise my room looks like a bomb site, that I have no edible food, or clean clothes to wear.
On Fridays after school I usually hang out with friends for dinner or karaoke which is usually one of my favourite times of the week. Such activities can range anywhere from a couple of hours to all night. My best decisions regarding sleep and study schedule do not happen on Fridays but as far as I’m concerned it’s the start of the weekend and I’m allowed to be a little less strict about such things. Being able to do karaoke with friends is certainly one of the things I love most about life in Japan, as silly as that may sound.
Most Saturdays I go to dance lessons for a couple of hours. I often eat lunch out and then go shopping or hang out with friends. Sundays are usually the only day of the week I don’t have set plans. If there’s an event on I may go to that, otherwise I usually just relax with friends. Before I would often spend time with my host family on Sundays and now I do the same with my house-mates when they’re free. Unless I have a lot of study to do, such as before exams, Sunday is usually my no pressure day and I like to keep it that way.
From Monday I start the cycle all over again. This is a brief look into my life as a foreign exchange student in Japan. I really do enjoy my everyday life here, as mundane as it may be. I hope this provided some insight/enjoyment to those of you reading this.