|Kinkakuji, Kyoto, Japan|
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For those who don't know/remember, I was on exchange in Japan for eleven months. It literally changed my life as I was introduced to a foreign culture and was essentially forced to live in an alien world where everything was different - even their McDonald's. It was a life-altering experience that had both good and bad experiences, though regardless, they were all memorable.
I remember watching Lost In Translation for the first time not too long ago (I THINK it was after I left Japan, or right before). That movie left a big impact on me. I feel indifferent about romantic comedies; I don't hate or love them. However, I think that the movie was really well-made. The story, the dialogue, the comedy, the drama. Everything was in nearly-perfect harmony. It was a very entertaining movie, but it also made me realize something.
I feel that it was a perfect depiction of what it's like to be a foreigner in Japan (or in any country, really). No matter how good you think your Japanese is, there always will be some sort of dissonance or misunderstanding between you and the natives. The culture, the architecture, their way of life. Some of it you can relate to. Some of it is just puzzling to you. Even if you try to integrate and become like them, they can still see you as an outsider, but that's okay - because you are, and you can't change that.
Of course, you can also end up making unexpected friends, too. Whether Japanese or other foreigners who are in the same situation as you, you end up connecting with people and going on unexpected adventures, such as a trip to Koyasan, or "Nomihodai" (all-you-can-drink, alcohol) at the local karaoke parlor. You end up doing things you can't do back at home. You might even be sought after due to your exotic features. E.g. commercials, teaching, etc. Some foreigners end up staying long-term for those reasons.
Basically, what I am trying to say is, this movie was able to portray fairly accurately what some of my experiences in Japan were like. Being lost in another world, seeking comfort in the company of others like me, and in general trying to make the best of any situation, good or bad. I love to travel, so this movie spoke to me. If I could, I would do it all over again. It was a wonderful experience.I know some people may disagree with my opinions and views, and that's okay! Thank you for reading.