The Study Abroad Newsletter

Language Experience and Creating Long Lasting Friendships

Vernon Warnock

Chemistry and Japanese Studies Major
Seinan Gakuin University, Japan

Students sitting by the riverOne of the most memorable events was going to the Nakasu-kawabata region in Fukuoka. I was going there with two of my Japanese friends to try some special Spicy Ramen. I had many experiences like this where, when not busy studying, I could set up a time and place to do something with friends. Indeed, it was an eye-opening and enjoyable experience. The spicy ramen was quite exciting as I was used to Hakata Ramen, or pork-bone-broth ramen, which is served all throughout Fukuoka. So, this was a treat. It was not so surprising that I liked the food (I enjoy spicy foods) but I think it was the quality that made this ramen standout. I felt lucky. Afterwards, we still had time, so we walked around for a bit until we found a game-center. It was filled not with video games, but with board, table top, and other types of games. My friends were surprised at how fast I could adapt and win. It was a fun and memorable night.

Another one of my favorite memories was going to Kyoto as a nice two-day field trip. At night, as we walked along the streets, my advisor asked me what I liked about Japan. Though struggling, I tried my best to speak in the native language. Then we went into what is called an Izakaya, which is basically a laid back bar, and I got to know many of the other first-semester international students. Another one of my advisors asked me if I was drunk, to which I wasn't sure if I should have felt happy or embarrassed. Finally, some of us went to a Karaoke bar to sing.

The fact that I could go to Japan and experience these things is something I am eternally grateful for. It means I can continue to study the language confidently and perhaps go back to or live in Japan in the future.

view of Fukuoka, Japan