Experience Our Showa-Era Café in a Town Where the Setting Sun Comes to a Standstill, in Ehime.
Have you been to Japan before this trip? What made you choose Japan?
No, this is my first time. I thought I’d better come here in advance before settling when I become an adult and I’m sure to live here.
I planned to come here to commute to a Japanese school as an exchange student because I applied two years ago. That was a trigger me to want to learn about various cultures also I was studying Japanese in My school, so I always wanted to go to Japan but I couldn’t because of the covid. The country was also locked down, but I still wanted to go to Japan as planned before covid, so I thought I definitely would come here once if I could come. Being asked why Japan, from an English point of view especially, the more I go to rural areas in Japan, the more people are kind, so that easy to learn Japanese, and there are so many natures as well. Maybe this is because I was living there all my life, but England doesn’t have mountains, rivers, or various kinds of birds.
For me, Japan has a lot of exciting things. Nature is also different depending on which prefecture or area I go to. If you go to the North we can see snowy mountains, and there is a lot of green and feels like a tropical area if you go to the South. At least for me, it seems the same wherever I go to England.
Did you have any concerns before coming to Japan?
Maybe I’m still seventeen. To answer honestly…I took my flight tickets and modification for my hostel as soon as came to my mind. So, my parents were worried about whether the lifestyle would suit Japan, especially meals. I was not good at eating different meals. But the anxiety I had for myself soon disappeared. I found the lifestyle here easy to adapt to.
I guess most of all tourists’ trouble might be Japanese. It’s also difficult to make friends. I almost booked a hotel with a private room at first, but I’m so glad I didn’t do that. This is because I felt sad despite meeting many people throughout this home staying. I didn’t feel like I could understand each other because we have different cultural spheres. Luckily, I met a lot of people who could speak English; however, I was thinking about my home country so often and felt lonely because of the anxiety that no one knew in Japan. But this is one of the processes to get used to it.
How about homestay? How about Futami, the area where you are homestaying?
I’ve been staying here since January fourteenth when I came to Japan. It’s been a month. I didn’t notice, time flies so fast.
I love it here. I like old kinds of stuff, so I like this Showa-style building, and there are British-style accessories. It’s really fun to find hospitality from the owner or every people I meet.
I think it’s a beautiful small town, but not as convenient as the big cities, so I go to Iyo or Matsuyama quite often.I think it’s a beautiful small town, but it’s not as convenient as the big cities, so I go to Iyo or Matsuyama quite often. Japanese trains are easy to get to the big city, England’s one is horrible haha. But I like this area as well, it’s not like I have nothing to do. I went to play tennis yesterday also there is a walking trail. Especially, the sunset seen from Futami Beach is the best. I sent those photos to my family in the UK, they got jealous haha. I think beautiful city.
Did you do any unique activities while in rural Japan?
It was also fun to play tennis because never done it in the UK. I loved the arcade in Matsuyama because I love the retro game. There were a lot of retro games I hadn’t played yet; it was so fun to play against friends. I also like nature, going to the mountains and seeing old houses, I like that kind of sightseeing as well. I don’t have any specific, but I do like nature in Japan. It was also fun to go to Matsuyama Castle and Uwajima Castle, hard to climb though.
How did you find a homestay?
To be honest, Google. At first, I wanted to go to Kochi, but I found Popeye nearby the beach when I was looking for a place to stay much cheaper because the hotels within Kochi City were expensive. I feel so lucky to be here, I’ve seen other places in the area, but here is more rural with lots of nature and the sea, and the owner is so kind.
All my family members like go to travel, but none of them have been to Japan before, so I wanted to live there to see how accurate the Japan I see in the media is. I know that this country has a lot of beautiful things, but I want to make sure that it’s true or not. I wanted to know what it would be like to live here and how I feel if I saw daily life here, not just a news report capturing a beautiful place.
I am interested in Japanese history, so I have watched many documentaries. But those are the ones that only show beautiful things. Or articles. For me, it was important to gather information from abroad and compare it with reality.
Right now, I feel like living a normal daily life. This is the biggest difference that the Japan I pictured in England was more illusional, but I came here and realized everyone has a normal living. I’m so glad that I could see a normal lifestyle in Japan not a big castle or waterfall. I mentioned earlier but I want to come here and settle when I become an adult. And I came here and was convinced.
Do you think you are getting closer to what you wanted before you came to Japan (to live in Japan)?
I think it gets closer. This is because My Japanese is improving a lot and made a lot of friends. I made a mistake when I came to Japan on the very first day. I was lucky enough to make friends with a man who can speak English on the bus, but when I bought a different ticket, I realized how important it is to learn the language of that place. I’ve been studying Japanese every day but since I came here my studying gets easier. I have found that many of the difficulties of living in a new place can only be solved by actually coming and seeing it, rather than imagining and thinking about it at home. That’s why it works better for me to book my flights and haphazardly solve problems. I felt every problem might be solved when I became an adult because I’m solving problems day by day. I want to commute to a school next time I came to Japan.
How do you feel about Japan?
This is a very simple answer, but I do think Japan is a nice country. The fact I came to Japan is going to be a good factor for me to grow up more. This country is big stimulation for me because I’m still young and in the middle of learning various things. People, Nature…everything is so amazing. I can’t say completely the same the Japan I imagined in England nevertheless this country is way too cool. I’m so glad came here and definitely want to settle in here for the future.