That nervous liminal day before travel

So, I’m flying tomorrow.

There have been so many documents to sort out, tests to take, things to pack. It’s particularly difficult because my family is moving house, so once I get back to England next August, I will most likely have a new home. So I’m cramming my entire life into a pair of suitcases and gathering all the confidence I have.

I’ve been a bit neurotic about packing, cause I tend to get overly practical, and grab many bits and bobs that I can buy later or won’t need at all. I just wish I could bring my cat, my family, and Theo with me. Sadly living beings don’t appreciate being stuffed into suitcases. So I’m trying to become a Skype guru instead.

It’s gonna take 17+ hours of airport time, and add to that commute to Heathrow and then from Osaka to Kobe… it all gets kinda scary. I’ve got my snacks and my Paracetamol (which is apparently hard to get in Japan), and now all that’s left to do is sitting nervously in my comfy bed and saying goodbye to everything familiar. I thought that starting uni last year was a fresh page, but this is far beyond any new starts I’ve made before.

Good luck to me.


Two weeks till takeoff


My beautiful Oxford college Wadham, preparing for the summer ball. Gonna miss it a lot!


My name is Maria, and I’m a second year student at Oxford uni, reading Japanese. As part of my course this year I get to go to Japan, to a town called Kobe. I will be staying at Kobe university and exploring many other corners of the country. I’ve been obsessed with Japan since my childhood, so I’m still struggling to believe any of it is happening!

This website is for you to be able to keep up with my adventures. I will try and regularly write about things I see, do, and experience; I hope some will be of interest. As well as general stuff about Japan, I will be writing about personal feelings, such as missing my family and managing a long-distance relationship with my partner Theo.

My flight is in two weeks, which is both exciting and terrifying. Being a bit crazed about organisational stuff, I’m running around packing and putting documents together. I’ve travelled a lot in my life, but never so far and for so long – a whole 10 months! Whenever I get home from holidays I always feel relieved to be back in my beloved, familiar London, so I can imagine myself panicking when I see nothing familiar in Kobe. It might be particularly hard since I only had one year to learn the language, and don’t have much confidence in my fluency.

However, I’ve always been drawn to Japan and its culture. As well as a huge personal challenge, this year abroad is one of my biggest dreams coming true. So roll on Japan!