ZAID, Aya Naser Abdelrazek Abdelrazek
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Ain Shams University
I'm Aya from Egypt. I don't know how to describe such a wonderful experience. Being in Waseda was actually one of the most fabulous experiences I had in my entire life. Travelling to Japan was one of my dreams, I have always wanted to visit it, see it with my own eyes and write about it from my own perspective.
The courses I had taken were culture 1, Interdisciplinary1 and the optional Japanese3. The courses were really enjoyable. I have learned a lot of things. In culture 1, I got to know a lot about Japanese culture, history, recent problems and the probable solutions. For interdisciplinary 1, it was the most incredible course I have attended. At first, I had no idea about what interdisciplinary is as I have never had the chance to study something like that in my country. I learned a lot about work in Japan and its great values like teamwork and perfection. I even ended up thinking about working in japan in the future. In addition, we visited a couple of co-working areas such as Takashimaya and Aeon. That actually provided us with a lot of useful information about their success story. Although I had studied Japanese before, I found that the optional Japanese 3 class was pretty useful. It was really active and always exciting; we made a lot of enjoyable presentations which made me more confident to speak in Japanese.
One month in Japan was pretty short to study and discover more of it but I have managed to visit a lot of places in the weekends. I have visited the anime heaven "Akihabara". I was really interested in Hydrangea flowers, and was really excited to see it in its original place which is Japan, so I have visited Kamakura and tried for the first time the korokke. I have also seen the great Buddha and have the chance to see how Buddhists pray and how it's different from Muslims. I had spent just one splendid hour in the cat café. It was totally a new experience for me because in Egypt, I used to see a lot of street cats. I had never thought that they were going to be that friendly. I went to Shibuya a hundred times and saw "Hachi kou" that I always heard about its touching story. I saw the amazing Tokyo Tower and enjoyed seeing the incredible skyscrapers of Tokyo. I had a really great day in the land where all the dreams come true," Disney land".
There were wonderful places I have visited with Waseda. We went to Odaiba on an Instagram tour; we had taken a lot of crazy and funny pictures. There was also another field trip which was in Nikko. I was surprised to see everything goes along with the Japanese traditional style. The most impressive thing was our stay in Nikko hotel where we tried wearing the yukata for the first time and had that amazing traditional Japanese food. We also went to Edo wonderland and saw the cool Ninja show.
Japan is a really good place to live in. I found that Japanese are Muslims by nature; they basically are doing everything according to Islam rules except for food. That was actually my only difficulty I had during my stay in Japan. It was never easy to have a meal that doesn't include pork or alcohol. So we were depending mainly on bakery stuff and fish. I was surprised because I thought that the number of Muslims were increasing in Tokyo. We had a lot of funny situations during picking up the food. We got help from a lot of people. I would never forget our first day in the university, there weren't any Halal food but people there helped us a lot and they even asked the manager to cook special food for us. In Nikko also, the university staff had asked to make a special Udon for me. I really liked how the university is really helpful to Muslims. I was surprised to see the pray room, thanks to the university staff I never worried about where and how to pray.
The saddest event was the farewell party when we had to say goodbye. I wasn't ready at all. I have never gotten that emotional before. But just having the feeling that you are leaving and not going to meet your friends anymore was really sad. I was already used to seeing my classmates and professors everyday. It was never about the place but always about the great people I meet. I have met incredible people from different parts of the world. Maybe we speak different languages, have totally different traditions and religions but for sure we have the most important thing in the world which is "accepting others".
I love everything about Japan. The respect culture is probably the best thing I would never forget about Japan. I would never forget every single person who helped me while being lost. I would never forget the smiling bus driver. I will truly miss searching for the Japanese food that fit my religion by trying hard to read the kanji characters quickly. I will miss waiting for the traffic lights and cross the road without any fear. I will miss the unreadable kanji characters that exist everywhere. I will always try to remember separating the garbage. I will miss watching the sunrise before other countries. Japan is a really peaceful place, I felt the true meaning of 平和 from the moment I entered the Japanese embassy.