The Benefits of Going Abroad

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I do. As part of, I get to travel to Japan every year to connect with members of the anime industry and work on bringing them to our events in the US. It’s an absolutely incredible experience that I cherish deeply.

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? It can be a life-changing experience, allowing you to step outside of your comfort zone and gain new perspectives on the world. Japan is a country that is steeped in history and culture, offering a unique blend of traditional values and cutting-edge technology. It’s no wonder that so many people dream of visiting this beautiful country. The kindness and hospitality of the Japanese people only add to the richness of the experience.

For me, visiting Japan was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I have always been fascinated by Japanese culture, and being able to see it up close and personal was truly a dream come true. From visiting ancient temples and shrines to exploring the bustling streets of Tokyo, every moment was a breathtaking adventure. But what made it even more special was the incredible warmth and generosity of the Japanese people. They welcomed me with open arms and went out of their way to make me feel at home. It’s no wonder that Japan is often called the land of the rising sun – its people radiate an amazing warmth and kindness that is hard to match.

The first time I got to go to Japan, in 2013, wasn’t so much about business as it was about learning the culture and getting to explore and understand more about the anime that has been so enriching. From the moment I landed in Japan, I felt a sense of excitement and wonder. Everything was so different from what I was used to, from the language and the food to the customs and traditions. But it was all so fascinating, and I felt like I was constantly learning something new.

I also had to grow as a person – a lot.

Despite my excitement about being in Japan, there were also many challenges that I had to face. For one, I had to learn how to eat foods that were completely foreign to me. Sushi and ramen were somewhat familiar to me, but even those basic foods tasted so much stranger, fresher, and different overseas. It took quite a while for my pallete to catch up. And there were many other dishes that I had never encountered before.

Gyudon – a bowl of fatty beef over rice – just seemed so weird! Before Japan I never even really liked meats. And the first time I tried it, it almost made me gag. I couldn’t handle it. Well, I learned what it really meant to grow up poor!

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to different types of food. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we mostly ate whatever was cheap and easy to make. The cuts of meat we could afford in America were usually the lower quality ones, so I never really developed a taste for something rich in flavor. But being in Japan and experiencing the incredible quality of their food was a real eye-opener for me. It made me realize that there was a whole world of cuisine out there that I had never even imagined.

I also struggled with travel – getting around Tokyo’s massive train system was overwhelming at first, and I often found myself lost and unsure of where to go. And as someone who didn’t speak Japanese very well, communicating with locals was a constant struggle.

Now Gyudon is one of my favorite foods! And I love sushi and ramen more than ever!

Here’s some sushi we were taught how to make in Tokyo. Sushi is an iconic dish that originated in Japan and has become popular worldwide. It’s a dish that requires skill and precision, and it’s a craft that has been passed down through generations. Learning how to make sushi from an expert teacher in Tokyo was an incredible experience. The teacher we learned from was a true master of his craft, with years of experience owning and operating sushi restaurants.

Getting to go abroad was so eye opening for me.

I had never really traveled before, and getting the opportunity to explore a new country was truly eye-opening. It made me realize how small my world had been before and how much more there is to see and experience.

I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness as I boarded the plane, not knowing what to expect. The unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells of a new place were overwhelming at first, but as I started to explore and learn about the local culture, I felt myself becoming more and more comfortable.

One of the things that struck me the most was how different people’s daily lives were in this new place. From the way they dressed to the foods they ate and the way they interacted with each other, everything was so different from what I was used to back home.

I want to say that instead of feeling intimidated, I was fascinated. That I wanted to soak up as much of this new culture as possible, and I found myself constantly asking questions, trying new foods, and trying to understand what made this place so special.

But in reality I was pretty scared. Anytime a waiter seemed impatient as I tried to order things, or anytime I found myself at the wrong bus stop, I just often felt so defeated.

But I was able to be resolute.

I reminded myself why I was there, and that I had worked so hard to make this trip happen. I didn’t want to let my fears and insecurities hold me back from experiencing all that Japan had to offer.

So I pushed through the discomfort and kept trying, even when it was difficult. I learned to appreciate the small victories, like successfully ordering a meal or finding my way back to the hotel after a day of exploring. And with each small victory, I felt a little bit more confident in myself and my abilities.

Eventually, I realized that my fears and insecurities were holding me back from truly enjoying my experience in Japan. So I made a conscious effort to let go of those negative thoughts and embrace the adventure. And once I did, everything felt so much better.

I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture, try new foods, meet new people, and explore new places. It was a truly transformative experience that taught me so much about myself and the world around me.

Looking back on it now, I’m so grateful that I didn’t let my fears hold me back. Because if I had, I would have missed out on one of the most incredible experiences of my life. If you are thinking about visiting, I wrote an article on the costs related to going to Japan so that you can think about it sometime!

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