How I Started My Life in Japan—Part 2
I will definitely never forget my first night in Japan. I was not raised in a big city in California, so I was not used to seeing many city lights, nor many people out at night. I landed in Kitakyūshū Airport, and our drive back to my relatives’ house was quite magical for me. Lots of lights and people walking outside was something I had only seen in movies. I was very excited to start my new life in Japan!
As some of you may know, school years start at different times in the US and Japan. The new school year starts in September in the US (and all of you know that it starts in April in Japan), but technically, American schools are about half a year ahead of Japan. I moved in January 2002, in which I was in the 5th grade in the US, and if it had been April 2002, I would have also been in the 5th grade in Japan. However, since it was still January, I was actually supposed to be in the 4th grade in Japan. Does this make sense? I hope it does! J
So, when I moved to Japan—because of the school year—I felt very…dissatisfied at the time at the thought of having to be enrolled in the 4th grade (although it was exactly the same academically). Somehow, my family and I spoke to the teachers at the elementary school and they allowed me to enroll in the 5th grade instead of the 4th grade. The funny thing is, it actually did not make any difference what grade I was put in, since I had to study alone every day because it was necessary for me to start from learning hiragana and katakana, rather than joining everyone else in their studies.