Packing Bags and Unpacking Doubts


Loose clothing has been popular in Japan recently. Showing leg is fine, but showing too much chest should be avoided.

Okay! I’ll pack some looser clothing and nothing too revealing. But I don’t have much for summer clothes. Maybe I’ll just do some clothes shopping in Japan…

But isn’t Japan really expensive?

Yes, but I’ve been saving up money for a while now, so as long as I spend it carefully and don’t buy frivolous things, I’ll be fine.

Or…will I?

Of course I’ll be fine,” I tell myself, but the doubt finds its way to the back of my mind and packed within my luggage.

Will I run out of money? Will I not be able to adjust to the culture?  Will I not like the food? Will I be fine being so far away from family and friends? Will I make it to Japan safely?

And finally: “Will I not like Japan?

Studying abroad in Japan is great. I can live in Japan temporarily, surrounding myself with the culture, history, people and language while earning credits for my degree and figuring out if living or working in Japan is something I’d like to do after graduation.

What better time to go experience Japan than now when it fits seamlessly into my college career?

But I can’t help but doubt.

– – –

Ever since I first read the book The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, a certain passage regarding doubt and searching for adventure has always remained firmly in my mind.It goes a little something like this:

Sensible Blue leaves to meet up with Rich Richard Gansey III to aid in his quest of searching for a dead Welsh king. But, to Sensible Blue’s surprise, she finds Rich Richard Gansey III standing in front of a helicopter and, sensibly, asks, “Is this thing safe?” To which he responds, “Safe as life.”

“How safe is life?” I always think when I remember this passage. Life is safe and it’s also not safe. Even if you stay in your room and never put yourself in the face of danger, isn’t there still some chance of a fire or an earthquake?

All I know is that you can’t help your friend find his dead Welsh king if you doubt the safety of the helicopter or what will happen when you land.

I’m not on the search for a dead Welsh king in Japan, but what I am in search for is the willingness and openness to experience Japan in whatever fashion the opportunities I encounter lead me to.

And to make room for this willingness and openness, I will unpack all doubts from my luggage.



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