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Getting into a routine can be a difficult when you’re in a new country. You might not know the in-and-outs of local life and translating packaging at the supermarket is made even more confusing when the ingredients are in a different language. You end up falling into a bad routine of going to the local McDonald’s because it’s familiar or picking up sweets at the convenient store because its a safe option.

After my wonderful adventures over Golden Week, I’ve realised its time to start saving my wallet, as well as my health. It is time to get into a proper routine.

The best way I have found to combat these bad habits is to be courageous. Whether it be in the kitchen, or the local area, I need to step out of your comfort zone.

I love to walk but every since I arrived in Japan, I have stuck out like a sore thumb with my white-blonde hair and get regular stares. This is especially common in rural areas as there are less ‘Gaijin’ (foreigners) around. This has previously prevented me from exploring my local area. But not anymore. I realised that I’m never going to see these people again after I leave, so there is no point in giving two hoots about what they think of me. So this weekend, my friend and I explored the local farm land and rice paddies and went on a 2 hour hike around Kizugawa (the local river). It was wonderfully quiet and we got a greater understanding of the beautiful land that surrounds us.

As for the supermarket and the alien foods that I have come across, I have come to realise that if I eat the way I eat back home then I’m going to be spending more money than sense. I need to eat like a Japanese person and adapt my eating habits to align with what they sell in their supermarkets. This has meant that I have had to give up on cereal, a commodity in Japan, – which has actually been a blessing in disguise as it has meant that I have stopped consuming milk.

Getting into a routine has also meant investing in some items which I already have back home but being without them here has disrupted my usual way of life. For example, I finally got a yoga mat in order for me to continue my yoga and pilates practice without spending any money on classes. Luckily, I was given my mat for free but this is something that I would have definitely had to invest in as yoga and pilates tend to be my only source of exercise. I also had to invest in a proper pillow as the one that was included in the accommodation was severely uncomfortable and affected my sleep. I am a sensitive creature and if I don’t get my 8 hours then I can be a bit of a monster.

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That’s all for now.

I x

Getting into a Routine.

Ilsa Jones


2nd Year BA Film & English Student. Studying at Doshisha University, Kyotonabe Campus, Japan.


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