I finally finished my last final a week or so ago, which means that winter break has officially begun. Victory!

It also means that I’ve been here for a whole semester, which is a little more difficult to believe. Time has flown by like I never would have anticipated. But I’ve also had more amazing experiences than I can count, and I’ve been learning a ton, so although this year is already half over, I don’t feel in the slightest like it’s been wasted.

Being at the end of a semester, as well as just about the end of the calendar year, I thought it’d make sense to reflect a little on what I learned so far in Japan. When thinking about this post, I’ve been unable to decide if I want to style it as a letter to my past self–what I wish I knew–or a note to future AKP students, or who knows what. In the end, though, I think I’m just going to leave it as reflections.

Here, in no real order, are some reflections on this first semester in Japan.

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