That girl on the left above is my pen pal. I wrote my first letter to her 4 years ago. My Japanese was horrible, I could only use Hiragana and Katakana, my Kanji was illegible, and I could only say, “Hi, my name is Brittany, I’m in college.” I never imagined I would actually meet her in real life.
Now, my language skills are still subpar, but every day I can understand more, my world is opening up, and I’m meeting new people all the time. My pen pal and I made plans to meet at the Skytree train station. I was so nervous that day. I was sweaty, stuttering, and forgot nearly all the Japanese I learnt already. Then, all of the sudden, “Excuse me…” AHHH! It was her! My pen pal! Finally I had met her after all these years. Now, I know that this isn’t the custom, but I gave her a big American style hug! She had brought a friend along and I am so happy that I could meet more people. They are the nicest people I’ve ever met and I hope that the language barrier becomes smaller and smaller as I learn more and more. There were many times where we would walk in silence, just enjoying the moment until we warmed up to each other. I was so happy when we started talking!
First we walked around the various shops and made small English mixed with Japanese conversation. Their English is really good! They also taught me many things about Japanese as well. Plans were made to go into the Moomin Cafe, we waited an hour or so to get in, but we were waiting for our turn to go to the top of the Skytree, so it all worked out perfectly.
The cafe was warm, and we were greeted kindly. They helped me order so the waitress would be more comfortable, and then we got to take photos with silly hats!
Of course all the food was Moomin themed or shaped into Moomin Characters! It was so cute, and scrumptious! I highly recommend this cafe if you have any extra money. The dessert was pumpkin flavored and even though we were all really full, we ate every bit! Trying on the hat was fun, as was chatting about boyfriends, college, etc. even if I could only say things in broken Japanese. I’m pretty sure when they asked when my birthday was I said、「20月」which means 20th month! We all had a good laugh about that.
I took so many photos and video, but I want to cherish it for myself, I hope you understand! So for now, just have these various iPhone snaps we took throughout the day, as well as my video about Tokyo Skytree. Thank you for listening, and I encourage everyone who lives in Tokyo to visit Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, or a tall building to see the view of Tokyo for themselves. It really puts into perspective the city you live in. You are part of a community as a foreigner, even if you don’t feel like it or see it all the time. It really hit me at the top of Tokyo Skytree that I was in Japan, meeting people that I feel like I’ve known forever. The tears were definitely under the surface and I constantly had to swallow the lump in my throat as I looked out over the horizon and watched the sun set. I think I said thank you a million times that day. I will never forget meeting her for the first time at Tokyo Skytree, and now this place will hold a happy memory for me every time I visit, or see it in the distance in Tokyo. Thanks to my new friends for a beautiful day, and a relaxing train ride home. I will never forget it.
Thanks for reading and listening. If you have any questions, as always, stop by the Study Away office and tell them Brittany from Japan sent you!