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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

How do I cope with homesickness? 

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"Dear Ai, I came to Vancouver one month ago and I'm homesick. I'm not sure if I can stay here 6 more months to study. I heard that you have been here for more than 6 years. How do you cope with homesick?" - Takako from Japan.

"Hi Takako. Actually, I've been homesick several times during the past six years. But here are some things to do to make the most of your time in Vancouver.

1. Rent Japanese videos and watch them with your friends.
Sometimes, I will translate a whole drama series for my Korean friends. Some videos have subtitles, so you can enjoy watching them with non-Japanese friends. One type of film you can easily find in Vancouver video stores is Hayao Miyazaki's animation(e.g. Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke). He's quite popular in North America. By the way, my roommate's favourite Japanese film is, Shall We Dance?

2. Get recipes from your mom.
When you're not eating properly, you can become sick. I have ten Japanese cookbooks, but mom's cooking is still the best!

3. Maintain a connection with your family and friends.
Write and send emails. Writing will help you clear your mind and clarify things.

4. Find people who want to learn Japanese.
Start with the other students and teachers at your school who might be interested in a language exchange. You can also meet other people wanting to learn Japanese through volunteer work, other friends, or by putting an ad on a school bulletin board. Try teaching your language to other Canadians; it can be fun and exciting to teach somebody your view of Japan."

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