My five-month stay here in Japan is coming to an end and I must say it was a very interesting time. The beginning, about the first 2 weeks, was a special challenge. There were some hurdles to overcome, such as the completely new environment here in Japan and the climate, which was probably the biggest challenge. The midsummer here in Fukuoka is very warm and humid, a combination that is rarely found in Germany, at least to this extreme extent and from what I heard this summer was hard even for Japanese standards. The oppressive, humid heat and lack of wind made getting around outside of an air-conditioned room a challenge. All the worse when the air conditioning in the apartment breaks down and you have to live in a blazing hell for a few days. Luckily the weather got a lot better in the later part of my stay here and the cheap drink vending machines everywhere helped a lot.
But besides these small weather challenges, Japan of course offers a lot more enjoyable thing. Always punctual trains and the ever-present convenience stores make life in Japan resp. Fukuoka quite easy and pleasant. All necessities are available at the 24/7 store just around the corner and the food selection at the convenience stores like 7-eleven and Lawson is really good (the snacks and hot fried food are highly recommended). Otherwise, almost everything in Fukuoka was easily accessible by train/subway/bus and with a prepaid card, traveling around is very easy and relaxed.
Fukuoka itself offers a paradise of dishes for people who appreciate good food. If you like fish and fried chicken, you will definitely get your money’s worth in Fukuoka. There are also a lot of good Indian, Chinese and Korean restaurants, so you can try something new every day. However, you have to be a bit careful about English skills. Fukuoka is not Tokyo and not every employee understands or speaks English, but this was rarely a problem as people are still very helpful and do their best even with gestures or apps. Also, as a European/American in Fukuoka, one is rather a rarity away from the tourist spots, which is why the people are friendly and helpful, but also very reserved, so one should therefore not take this as impolite.
Apart from my everyday life here in Fukuoka, I was naturally focused on my internship at Mizu-trans/K-iTG. Looking back, I can say that I was very lucky with my choice of internship. During my time in the office, I was able to meet many friendly and helpful employees and support them in their work. The atmosphere and behavior were open and much less strict than I would have expected and almost all employees could speak English, which made communication much easier. My office tasks mainly included proofreading, smaller translation and normal office works like sorting, arranging and destroying documents. Due to the office move, however, I also had some exhausting tasks such as transporting boxes, clearing out and sorting the warehouse, and cleaning.
The internship also gave me a variety of opportunities to visit Fukuoka and meet new people. During my time here, I was able to participate in seminars and tours, as well as actively contribute to them. Be it English training seminars for students in preparation for the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, an English tour through the old town of Fukuoka, a seminar for prospective interpreters or at the end of my time the opening ceremony of the new office with guests. In all these events I got a participatory role, e.g., as an international language partner for students or presenter of a self-prepared presentation. At the same time, I was able to participate in some practice tours/seminars as an observer, which allowed me to visit some of Fukuoka’s most famous tourist attractions (Kushida Shrine + Gion Yamakasa Festival, Tōchō-ji Temple, Yusentei Garden) in a kind of private tour. Even a visit to a baseball game of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks at the Fukuoka PayPay Dome was possible thanks to my internship.
Despite the seminars on the weekends and my normal working hours, I always had a lot of free time here in Fukuoka in which I could go shopping in the many malls near Tenjin and Hakata Station, visit neighboring towns like Kurume or just go to the sea. I will of course use my remaining free days at the end of my stay just as much to travel around and enjoy Fukuoka, because there are still many things to see in Fukuoka City and nearby, sightseeing spots like Canal City, the Ohori Park or cities like Hiroshima.