Post taken from Claire Huitt’s blog site https://clairehuitt.wordpress.com/
An update from Claire Huitt, SMU ’17, who is analyzing Japanese domestic perceptions as well as the role of the United States in the triangular relationship between Japan, China, and the US with a specific focus on the disputes in the East and South China Seas.
Neither the best days nor the worst days of our lives last longer than the rest; 24 hours is all there is to it. Time is limiting. It’s finite, and it’s out of our hands. 24 hours.
Not today. I have been on this plane for at least 3 weeks today. I’ve slept at least 4, maybe 6 times. The salted caramel gelato from lunch is the only thing keeping me going. At this point (6/10 7:45 PM CST; 6/11 9:46 AM in Tokyo) I’ve read three articles for class, watched two movies, listened to the new Nick Jonas album (which I am pretty sure was written expressly for me, as a token of our love and his telepathic understanding of my hardships) at least 5 times, and I am LOSING MY MIND.
Finding balance between my anxiety and excitement hasn’t always been my strong suit. To be quite honest, finding balance between anything and my anxiety hasn’t always been my strong suit. That’s especially true for this morning. I don’t know exactly how I’m still awake, but I would assume it has something to do with the overwhelming stress of knowing that sometime in the next 24 hours (I say sometime because this time change is really throwing me for a loop) I will step out of a plane in a foreign country, on a different continent, where I will spend the next 6 weeks studying East Asian relations and having my life changed. I am both terrified and in awe of what’s in store for me. I mean the farthest I’ve ever been from home is Canada, and I can’t exactly say that was any kind of culture shock. Yes, there was a two-hour time difference, but I survived.
I get asked a lot, why Japan? Well, there are two answers to that question:
- I’ve wanted to visit Japan since I was 6 and first played Pokémon Yellow on my Gameboy Advance. Hello Kitty has and always will be my jam, and learning how to count to ten in Japanese in the third grade was the highlight of my year. Also anime. Also ramen. Also IT’S JAPAN.
- Since coming to SMU I have fallen in love with studying international relations, particularly with regard to the East Asian region. Asia is such an amazing part of the world. It’s the home of the world’s second (China) and third (Japan) largest economies. Japan has a rich, beautiful culture. The triangular relationship between Japan, China, and the U.S. is so unique and so powerful. Volatility in this relationship must be attributed a great deal of attention; thus I am more than enthused to be studying the disputes in the East and South China Seas (for more info please read “Introducing, MDATT”).
So that’s why. Japan is amazing..
but that doesn’t mean I’m not still extremely nervous. That’s ok though; it’s good to be nervous. It just means something really important – something really exciting – is about to happen.
Legend says hell has the same layout as DFW airport. But, more to the point, when did I become old enough to navigate my way through baggage, security, and a million terminals on my own? When did I become old enough to travel to a foreign country on my own? I should not be given this much responsibility. I am a child. I am a 20 year old child. I still watch Anastasia at least once a week, and I can’t sleep without Kaycee. Stuffed animals are people too. Someone send help in the form of a real adult.
Hour 3 (Dallas to Tokyo):
I didn’t even make it through the safety video before falling asleep.
Hour 6 (Dallas to Tokyo):
Hour 11 (Dallas to Tokyo):
I just want to get out of this chair. 11 hours in 43G is too long.
Layover (Narita Airport, Tokyo):
I SURVIVED MORE THAN 12 HOURS IN 43G. I should have a shirt made. Ok, so apparently you can just walk away from your bag, phone, laptop, etc. in the Tokyo airport because crime is really rare and you can just trust people to not steal all your stuff (U.S. I’m looking at you). This is an amazing feeling. Also, these vending machines are magical, and they’re everywhere. Boss iced coffee (little canned coffee that tastes like heaven), everywhere.
Narita to Itami (Tokyo – Osaka):
This is the most beautiful flight I have ever been on in my entire life. To put that in perspective, I once flew to New Jersey – I mean wow, scenic, beautiful Newark. Well, this is better than that. Anyway, I know I just spent 3 hours in a Tokyo airport, but it’s starting to really sink in. I’m in Japan. I’m almost 7,000 miles from home. What spurred this existential realization? Mt. Fuji. Pictures of Mt. Fuji are beautiful. Movies featuring Mt. Fuji are beautiful. Flying right next to Mt. Fuji is awe-inspiring. I had to physically pick my jaw up from the plane floor. It’s a very humbling feeling to see something so wonderful, but I’ll spare you all the deep and meaningful prose I could write about this volcano.
This flight is so short; we’re already about to land!Share on Facebook