It’s been three days since I’ve been back from Osaka. On Tuesday, I was checking out wallpapers for my phone and came upon a picture of the Billiken statue where we all got our photo taken after the kushikatsu dinner, and I said, “I was just there two days ago!”
It was a whirlwind weekend of laughter, hugs, facepalms and food. I met many interesting people and there were many thought-provoking discussions that took place. It’s ironic that as I add strangers that quickly became acquaintances as friends on Facebook, I am wondering if I will ever see them again. Sometimes I feel like the modern world is so cruel. We make connections so easily, but after one weekend of intense playing, it’s hard to think that there is any guarantee we will ever meet again. It’s hard to even imagine each others’ lives because everyone experiences things differently. I can only assume that we are all approaching the JET experience with an open mind.
I was born in China and moved to Canada when I was 10 years old. Throughout my academic and post-academic career, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be Chinese-Canadian. The JET Programme, of course, adds a new layer of nuance to that identity. For me, my experiences are not rooted to one location, but are stretched across different places. This is why having an established identity is so critical to be successful in a new environment. In this case, I believe our identity is linked to our intrinsic belief in who we are and how we want to live, and not to a specific place. Our identity becomes the seed with which we plant the trees, bushes, and flowers everywhere we go. With time, we each create a garden of beauty, memories and laughter that could potentially enrich others’ lives, however sometimes temporarily. In a world of impermanence, this is somewhat poetic.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to explore Osaka with all you lovely people. I gained a lot of insight and valuable experiences from my time there. I can only hope you did too!