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Bikes, bugs, and bumps

Posted by on June 8, 2018

I am a person who likes to plan. Before going abroad, I read every article I could, so the shock would be diminished. Yet nothing can be entirely planned for, and every time I go to a new place, I make many new mistakes and learn from them. In Italy, I locked myself in my homestay bathroom and mt host mother had to go through the window to unlock it. In Japan, I struggled with biking, bugs, and bumps.

I guess the phrase ‘just like riding a bike’ does not apply to me. I can ride the bike ok, but everything about biking here was different than I am accustomed to, and riding bikes with trucks and cars is still a bit scary for me. So the next day at work, a problem arises and there are not enough bikes. I gladly volunteer my bike, knowing that I will get a new bike in a week.

The bugs problem was less of a problem and more of a funny happenstance. My room in the residency has a beautiful view of the surrounding hills.

I opened the window to find a little friend (spider) on the window screen. Nathan helped me get the spider by flinging it off of the window. We then discovered that it was bug day, a holiday where you are supposed to honor and respect bugs more than normal. Whoops!

Every new workplace has bumps along the path to success. In this case, there were also daily literal head bumps on the doorways (doorways are much shorter here in Japan). But most of my silly mistakes were small. I was laminating posters for the exhibition coming up, but that lamination machine seemed to be eating my paper. My site superviser, Kjell, starts laughing and taking pictures of me
as my coworkers help me get the poster out of the laminator. Apparently, last year the intern Christina
did the EXACT same thing, which is supposedly hard to do.

But all of these bumps are small on the long journey. On the same day, I was able to help an artist,
Colin, assemble his artwork for the exhibition. I had no idea what the final product was going to be,
and it was incredible to watch his idea take shape as I also heard the inner meanings behind why he
chose to pursue this path for his artwork.


I am excited to call Onishi my home for the next 7 weeks. There will be more bumps along the road, surely, but the community here is so caring. All of the artists are incredible people (I am not sure how niceness was screened for in applications, but it must have been). The local town is very welcoming to everyone, even though I do not speak Japanese well. I am learning new things, like photography! (See the photo taken on a manual camera below) There are cats, dogs, young children, and freshly baked cookies. Onishi will surely, with time, begin to feel like home.



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