Something really cool happened today while talking to my classmate, Natsuki! When I first introduced myself and told her my name, she shared hers and said that it means Summer Queen in Japanese! Meeting someone with the same name is always pretty cool, especially when it’s a name that isn’t super common but meeting someone with the same name translated into another language is even cooler! I then learned that Natsuki is actually from Japan! This surpised me at first because her English was so clear and I could not detect an accent at all! She then shared that she was born in Japan but actually spent the first 9 years of her life growing up here in the U.S., right in Palos Verdes! She moved back to Japan with her family when she was about 9 years old and has lived there ever since until the beginning of this school year. Natsuki is actually spending her sophomore as a film major year here at CSULB as a foreign exchange student! Although it is a bit different from her home in Tokyo, Japan she said it was not hard to adjust since she grew up in the area but that she does miss Japan alot!
I was so surprised to hear Natsuki describe Long Beach as quiet and spacious and very slow paced but I guess that compared to Tokyo it is! She compared to Tokyo to New York City; very loud and busy and just the typical city life. It’s funny to me that two people can have such a different opinion and view of a place like Long Beach due to what they are used to. To me, Long Beach is this crazy big city that is a lot to take in because I was raised and grew up in a small town but to someone like Natsuki who grew up in a place even bigger than Long Beach it’s nothing! I also thought it was very interesting to hear that her college in Japan is really not that different at all from CSULB. It’s crazy to think that things may really not be all that different in a place that seems so far away and different. Another thing that is different is the weather apparently! Natsuki misses the distinct changes of the four season and is tired and bored of the constant summertime weather that we experience in Southern California!
Talking to Natsuki left me in awe because it’s always so interesting talking to someone who has lived in a place that you are unfamiliar with and it also made me think about studying abroad myself in the future, maybe even in Japan!