(For those who don’t get the reference, it’s a video game thing. Don’t worry.)
On Friday I will head out for my first solo trip ever. I’m pretty nervous, but I know I have the safety net of my phone if I need it. I can’t really get lost so long as I have battery, and I have a battery backup to help with that.
I am once again reminded of how lucky I am to have technology while on this adventure. When the JET Program started (the late 80s/ early 90s, I can’t remember the exact year.) the only way to contact home would have involved putting pen to paper(how archaic) or dealing with an international calling card. The isolation would have been more complete, especially out here in the relative boonies.
And while I could have adapted to some degree, (I had a physical journal back in the day, before blogs were a thing) other things would have been nearly impossible. My family and friends in other parts of the world and other parts of Japan have been vital to my ability to live here. I don’t think I would have been able to do it.
I have a great respect for people who studied abroad before the advent of the Internet. The safety net of the Internet and the current interconnected-ness of the world means that you can spend a year on the other side of the world, and still talk to your parents on a regular basis.
I have an even great respect for the people who were part of the first few rounds of JET. My predecessor’s predecessor’s (etc, etc) predecessor. (Although, now that I think of it, I think most of the people in my position have stayed the full five years. So it wasn’t that many preds ago.)
Miyazaki, Hyuga especially, was even more rural then. There’s four of us in the immediate area, but when it started there was probably only one. They would have been probably the only foreigner in the area.
Just the thought is enough to make me appreciate my phone (which I’m using to type and publish this entry). I really wonder if I would have been brave enough to be a part of those first JETs. I like to think so, but I’m glad it’s not something I’ll be putting to the test.
And compared to that, navigating Osaka on my own should be a breeze.