This semester I continued with my participation in KIXS from last semester. The semester began with many events and dinners and many goodbyes. Many of the international friends that I had made the previous semester were on their way home after the Japanese semester ended. It was really bittersweet as I was just starting to become quite good friends with a few of them and then I had to say goodbye. As they’re all in different countries, I am unsure whether I’ll see them again, but we’ve promised to stay in touch via facebook and other online media.
After the semester ended, not only did most of the international students leave, most of the Japanese students went to study abroad or go traveling during break. I had friends in Malta and California, Australia and England. We stayed in contact via facebook, but as far as meeting face to face and participating in a CIP, it was rather difficult. It was also just difficult outside of requirements, in that for a month and a half, the people I had gotten used to seeing everyday were gone. So for a month and a half I mostly hung out with KCJS friends.
Now that the Japanese semester is finally starting up, most of my Japanese friends are back in town and we’ve gotten to hang out a fair amount. It’s been really interesting to hear about their study abroad experiences and hearing them encounter the same difficulties that most KCJS students encounter. With the semester beginning and the sakura blooming, there look to be quite a few events on the horizon, including a hanami event for new students this weekend.
As far as becoming a member of the group, I feel that I’ve made a few fairly large strides towards that goal. At the beginning of the KCJS semester, a large amount of KCJS students were interested in attending KIXS meetings. This can be rather stressful for my friends at KIXS as they now have a large amount of foreign guests that may or may not understand what they should do. I was able to help show people what to do with their food trays and to try and push people away from the KCJS cluster so that they socialize with the other KIXS members. In addition, at the first nomikai of the year, my friend from KIXS was the only Japanese person there and he seemed to be rather stressed out by the daunting task that usually gets left to Japanese people at nomikais: handling everyone’s orders. I stepped in and took on that role for most of the evening and I think I really helped out. In addition to being able to help out instead of play guest, I’ve also been able to hang out with friends from KIXS just to grab lunch or something small, and through that I really feel like I’ve become more of a normal member. Whether this is simply due to the fact that I’ve been there for a while and am no longer the newest member, or if it’s due to the effort I’ve put in, I can’t tell. But, I know that my success in KIXS has definitely been helped by trying to go to all the meetings and events, and trying my best to help out with things. I can’t wait to meet the new students and make new friends this Saturday!