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!