As of yesterday, my finals are officially over! They were tough, but nothing I couldn’t handle. If all went well with my Politics of Identity final, I’ll have straight A’s/A-‘s this semester, which is amazing considering that my classes were much harder than I thought they’d be. My favorite class this semester was Elements I because I was able to make the most friends in that class through study groups and learned a lot more Japanese than I thought I would. Sure, I can’t handle any advanced conversations yet, but in just a few months, I have already learned the basic vocabulary and grammar of a language that I only knew about 20 words of at the beginning of this summer. I’ve also learned about 60 kanji so far and have actually used my acquired knowledge to help me better navigate the subways. I don’t think I’ll be able to move onto Elements II, but I’m definitely going to do some self-studying when I get home.
My finals were pretty spaced out, so I had a lot of time this weekend to do all the things I wanted to do before heading home. First up, I met up with the Gamers Club one last time on Friday to go to J-World, a mini-amusement park featuring all of the popular Shonen Jump series. I am a huge fan of the majority of the series there, and it was even better because the park was holding a special event to celebrate One Piece’s new movie, One Piece: Film Gold. My friends and I went around the park, joining in special events such as challenging the workers in darts, drawing contests, and several luck-based games. To my excitement, I was the only one who managed to win the grand prize, an exclusive gold card featuring Luffy, Zoro, and Nami in their costumes from the movie. The fun didn’t stop there! After the event, we went on just about every “ride” there. I put ride in quotes because instead of having attractions like roller coasters, most of the “rides” were interactive quests that you wouldn’t find in an ordinary theme park. My friends and I went through the haunted house in One Piece World, took on the Rasengan challenge in Naruto World, and did the dragon ball collecting challenge and the Kamehameha challenge in Dragon Ball World. It was a truly interesting experience and a lot of fun too!
The next day, I met up with a different group of friends to head over to Adachi, a town that has a grand fireworks festival every year where thousands of people attend. It was admittedly a hard place to find since Adachi was one stop off of the Tokyo metro map, so I got lost along the way. It’s a good thing we agreed to meet up early, so I didn’t miss anything. Even though the town was immensely crowded, we managed to find some great seats on a hill a good distance away from the action. One person brought up that that night was like our 4th of July since we kind of missed out on it earlier. I think that’s a nice analogy. The fireworks were beautiful, from a mix of colors, to sparkling bursts, to happy faces, to a monsoon of explosions. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of the sky for a second. Most of the music selection during the show was fantastic as well. I had been trying to find a fireworks festival for a while now, and I’m glad I was able to find one before I left.
By the time I’m done editing this post, there will be less than 48 hours before I say good-bye to Japan, possibly forever. I have already had to say good-bye to most of my friends, and one or two of them have headed home. I’m not too sad though because I’ll always have the memories of all of the wonderful parts of our journey inside me. Besides, a few people from main campus are already talking about hanging out together again once the new school year starts. It looks like I’ll have some fun times ahead as well. Speaking of which, I still have one more festival to go to before heading home, so I will talk about that in my next and final post, along with my overall thoughts on Japan and this blog. Until then, for the final time, Sayōnara from Japan!