Kyoto was a magical year that showed me the best of Japan and somehow shielded me from the worst. It was my first time in Japan, the first time on my own, and the first time surrounded by people of so many different places. I joined the ping pong club, and treasured every minute I could spend with them, even I could barely follow their conversations. I wandered through a city filled with both crumbling, ancient temples and modern college campuses. I learned more Japanese in six months than I had in all my time at university. I hurt one person very badly, because I wanted to experience everything that I could without caring who it could affect. I became outgoing, adventurous, ridiculous, but it was the first time that I could feel comfortable being such things. It was too quick and went on forever, and I called it the best year of my life.
I’ve grown up a bit, and those memories are starting to fade, but I don’t think I’ll have another year that will have quite the same impact on me.
Ritsumeikan University – September 2007 – August 2008