Returning to America in Three Days

At least I got to see the cherry blossoms

For the longest time, I was certain I could ride out this terrible pandemic from the “safety” of Japan. However, situations can change drastically in the blink of an eye. While writing this post, I am still in denial that I am leaving in only three days.

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Maintaining a Healthy Long Distance Relationship

Find someone who looks at you like I look at this guy

I was saving this post for further down the road, but since I know a lot of people are separated from their partners during the current global pandemic, I thought I might go ahead and share my thoughts on long-distance relationships.

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Boost Language Learning as an Adult!

honeycrisp apple fruit near books and chalk Google Home Mini smart speaker
Photo by Thomas Kolnowski on Unsplash

Learning a new language in adulthood is HARD! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever undertaken a more frustrating (but simultaneously rewarding) task. I’ve been studying Japanese since 2015—that’s including many semesters worth of college courses and time spent in Japan! Despite this, I’m only at the conversational level, and memorizing Kanji is still the bane of my fragile existence. Don’t even get me started on Keigo.

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Insecurities, Self-doubt, and Healing

Since no one can travel right now because of quarantines, I figured I’d write about something more personal and closer to home. If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced your fair share of self-doubt, insecurity, and jealousy. We’ve all been there. At an embarrassingly young age, I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others. So let’s talk about why we torture ourselves internally and figure out how to stop.

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Learning How to Set Boundaries as an Adult

no trespassing sign
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I realize this post is a little different from the content I usually post, but I think it’s important to talk about.

When I was a child, my parents fought a lot leading up to their divorce. Because I was praised for being “obedient” and “well-mannered,” I learned to minimize my personal needs to receive affection, love, and care amidst the chaos. In an effort to stop the fighting and have my needs met, I tried to be helpful and good. Oftentimes, I did extra chores and negotiated between my parents. It felt like doing so would somehow keep our family together.

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Travel Won’t Solve all of Your Problems, but You Should Still Do It

In recent years, traveling has become more accessible than ever before. We can fly, drive, or take a train to all kinds of exotic and exciting destinations in just a few short hours—for a price, of course. Until college, the furthest away I had ventured from home was a nine-hour car ride to Florida. My single mother simply couldn’t afford to jet us off to Europe or Mexico for the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and appreciated our summers at the beach, but I grew up longing to see the world for myself instead of through the dull flicker of a small TV screen (4K Ultra HD wasn’t a thing back then!)

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Birth Control Abroad

components on blue surface
Image from @rhsupplies on Unsplash

Disclaimer! I am not a medical professional. The following post is based on my experience and personal research alone.

Many people are on birth control for one reason or another. In addition to preventing pregnancy, these hormone therapies can regulate menstruation, treat a host of medical conditions like PMS, and even reduce acne. If you want to travel the world and don’t see yourself having a baby any time soon, it’s probably a good idea to research your birth control options before going abroad. Of course, foreign countries have their own clinics and healthcare providers who can assist you. But it’s definitely nice not to worry about scheduling an appointment in another language while adjusting to a new life and culture. Getting your contraceptives well before you disembark can buy you some time and peace of mind during this exciting transition. If you’d like to know my thoughts and experience, please keep reading.

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Why I’m not Returning to the United States During the Coronavirus

Since my last post, the general attitude towards COVID-19 in the United States has shifted from annoyance to fear. Sure, I still see quite a few people on my social media feeds posting memes about the virus and declaring the world is just overreacting, but with the sudden widespread cancellation of flights, schools, and important events, the world seems to finally realize how serious things could become if officials and the public fail to take appropriate precautionary measures.

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Dealing with an Outbreak Overseas: COVID-19 on the JET Program

I’ll admit that in the early stages of the novel coronavirus outbreak that originated late last year in the Hubei province of China, I was not too concerned and felt quite safe in my small city in Japan. No one seemed worried, and it was business as usual for weeks. However, as infections began popping up in increasing numbers around the world, the looming threat became harder to ignore. On one sunny weekend visiting a long-lost relative in Yokohama, I was constantly reminded that somewhere in that beautiful bay, a quarantined cruise ship housing roughly 621 ill passengers floated uneasily in the waves. Now, I certainly don’t have the expertise to criticize how the situation was handled, but I do know from research that the method of containment was less than ideal for stopping the spread of infection. A few weeks into the quarantine, Japanese passengers who were deemed healthy departed the ship and returned home via various routes of public transportation. Some experts warned even those who tested negative for the virus and showed no symptoms could potentially spread COVID-19 before becoming sick days later due to the virus’s relatively long incubation period. This could rapidly accelerate the rate of new infections in Japan.

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Being Curvy in Japan

Beauty standards are ridiculous and frustrating all over the world, but Japan can be an especially difficult place to live for people with curvier and more voluptuous figures. Since moving here, I’ve lost about 15-20 pounds due to making some extreme lifestyle changes, and I am incredibly proud of my hard work. While there are still a few goals I am working toward, I feel happier and more energized. However, that doesn’t stop the inappropriate remarks from colleagues or rude stares at the gym, nor does it help me squeeze into certain clothes in the fitting room. So how can people who “don’t fit” into the very narrow range of beauty in Japan learn to embrace and love themselves?

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