My First Summer In Japan

Bina Antarbudaya
4 min readDec 21, 2022

Angelika Putri — INA AKP to Japan YP 22/23

Hello! I’m Angelika Putri from Indonesia as an exchange student in the AFS program, Asia Kakehashi Project to the Land Of The Rising Sun, Japan. While here, I was placed on a small island located in the southern part of Japan in Kyushu called Yakushima Island. And I’m sure that many of you have never heard about it. And here, I want to share my story about the days that I’ve spent all this time until now on this beautiful island.

Starting my exchange journey from Jakarta to Narita, there were a lot of exciting and nervous feelings. At Narita, we’ve met participants from other countries and we shared our culture together. When I first arrived at the hotel, I had the chance to try Natto! The traditional Japanese food that is made from soybeans and has been fermented. And surprisingly, I didn’t hate it! And I like it even more with raw egg. So what I’m going to say is, don’t be afraid to try it! And after a few days of orientation at Narita, I had to take two planes alone to get to my placement on Yakushima Island. And Just wanna tell you a fun fact’, that if you know the Ghibli movie called “Princess Mononoke”, the forest in the movie is inspired by the Yakushima forest!

And next, When I first arrived, it was summer season in Japan! Summer : 夏 (Natsu) It was very hot and humid, so it’s kinda new for me and to be honest it took me some time to adapt with the situation. But other than that, let me tell you about the things that i spent in my First Summer in Japan!

On this island, I lived with a lovely family. Especially when my host father is really good at cooking ^^ The people at the school that I go to are very welcoming and kind too! They’re really kind to me and I feel really relieved about that. They always talk to me and we always eat bento together at lunch time.

So, as the island is surrounded by the beautiful sea, in the summer I went to the sea very often even though I can’t swim! It was my first time to swim in the sea, just like what I’m going to say here, I always do and learn everything new everyday. With the life jacket and diving tools, I felt very happy to see the fishes and the corals under the sea. And sometimes if it’s getting hot, we go to the river that is cold and refreshing.

The beautiful sea at Yakushima Island,

But not only did I just swim, I went kayaking too! It was so fun and the view from the river and under the bridge was just really beautiful. The beauty of this island is just magical. That I’m always in love with the blue sea and the beautiful forest and mountains on this island.

And not only playing with the water here, I’ve done so many things like made my first Mochi, Gyoza and Takoyaki with my host family. I learned so much about their food and their culture too. Me, who previously couldn’t really cook now, have learned a lot too!

Made my first mochi with my host family
Our homemade Takoyaki

And we often have BBQ parties because, yeah, BBQ is associated with summer! And I also wrote my first Tanabata (Star Festival) and hung it on the tree, went to the summer festival and watched fireworks. And I’ve also been to Kagoshima to see my host sister’s concert! I had to take a ferry to go there, and at there I’ve been done so many fun things like karaoke with my host family and ate a lot of delicious food.

Tanabata

And at school we have the school sport festival that was so much fun! I participated in Tug of war and the others! Even though it was superrrr hot, it still matters that we’re having fun!

Sports Day

This is my first ever summer and it’s happened in Japan as an exchange student! That is one of the moments that I never thinked would happen. Here, after a lot of the things that I’ve been through, I learned alot about so many things. It’s not as easy as it looks, but here, I learn to improve, how to survive even though sometimes it’s hard. I’m so blessed and grateful to be part of this journey.

I still have a lot to learn and do, See you next time!

またね!

Thank you for reading my story! Xoxo

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Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs