How well do you keep up with manga? I’m terrible at it. They stretch on for so many years, I eventually get busy and forget to catch up, even if I really love them. Right now, one that I’m trying to get up to date with is Yona of The Dawn, one of my favorites that I happen to have in common with a Japanese friend that I’m trying to stay in touch with.
When life gets busy, even though I have other things I should be doing, that’s when I really want to find some way of escape, and stories about adventurous are one one of best ways to do that. Yona of the Dawn is about someone taken out of her comfort zone and forced to adapt to a harsh reality, which may not sound relaxing at all, but when a harsh reality involves dangers scarier than bad grades and high stakes like saving a country, it is.
Adventures don’t just exist in stories, of course. I remember the first time I went to Japan, it felt amazing. It felt like for all my years watching anime, I was seeing another world through a window, and then when I got off that plane it was like stepping through the door. Last year, I was able to go to Japan with my school. Unlike the first time, when I did a DTS, we were constantly moving from place to place, and even when I stayed with a host family, it was only for a week. It was kind of disorientating, but the kindness of the people I met at that time really blessed me. It feels so vulnerable to be in a different country where you barely know the language, so it really puts the grace others show me under a brighter light. Every time someone took a moment to try to understand my broken grammar, give me a small gift, or help me learn something, their actions had a real weight in my life. Even though it’s difficult, I long for the day I can go again.
Of course, travel is kind of expensive for me right now, and I can only afford it on a very small scale. I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve even been able to leave my province. I also know plenty of people who don’t enjoy going places. But you don’t need to go anywhere to experience the rest of the world, as these days, it is more than easy enough for the rest of the world to come to you.
For the past two years, I have been involved in a ministry for international students, and through it I have met so many dear and wonderful friends who have come a long, long way to meet me and share their world with mine. They have helped me see the world more clearly, and in return I try to let them know how much I value their friendship and how glad I am they undertook this journey. I want to make their time away as wonderful as other people have done for me.
Leaving your country isn’t easy. A lot of them have difficulty not just adjusting, but going back home. One of the problems that they have is making friends who are from the country we are presently in, rather than seeking the camaraderie of fellow international students. This is a pity, because they have so much to share.
So if you happen to meet someone from far away staying in your country, I would encourage you to find them and ask them questions. You never know what might happen.