My Goals in Japan

Goals in Japan

Before arriving in Japan and up until now, I’ve been thinking about all the goals I want to accomplish before next July.  I have 11 months to fill with amazing experiences!  Living abroad for a year has been on my bucket list for a while and I’m so glad that I get to do it now and at this age.  I’m young (and wild and free, just kidding.  Not really…) and can learn so much from these experiences and be able to better myself as a person and broaden my knowledge.  My brain screams “TRAVEL WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG!!!” and I’m going to be doing that.  I majored in Anthropology, so I love love love traveling and learning about other cultures.  I really hope that I can incorporate traveling in my future job someday, whatever it will be.

I believe that traveling inspires and motivates you to open your eyes to different experiences and different people.  You learn so much when you travel, even if it’s just an hour away from where you live.  People live in communities different from yours and have different practices and lifestyles.  I’m going to take all these experiences and build myself to be a better person: to be more open, more compassionate, to learn to laugh things off when I embarrass myself, and so many other things.

My goals for this year in Japan:

1.  Study Japanese a little bit every day – Whether they are full on lessons or learning five new vocabulary words, it will help me to become a better speaker.  It’s on my bucket list to become fluent in another language and I will work towards that.

2.  Put myself out there more when speaking – The only way I can get better at Japanese is to put it in practice.  The only way I can put what I’m learning into practice is to talk to people (AHHHHH!!!!).  If you know me, you would know that I’m not one to go up to people first.  I hate small talk, because I’m super awkward and I don’t know what to say.  Now, I have to do that, but in Japanese.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?!  Cue panic attack!!!  I can barely speak and understand what people are saying, how can I even try to have a conversation with them?  But I can see that they’re happy to see that I’m trying to speak, even if it’s a short sentence.  They also get super happy when they see me studying Japanese.  Seeing them happy motivates me to study harder.  I really want to be able to have a conversation with them in their native language.

3. Travel to at least three different places in Japan and once to another country – Like I said before, I love traveling and part of the reason why I came here was to go and see Japan and Asia.  I’m trying to be as realistic as possible, instead of saying, “I want to visit 20 cities and travel to every country in Asia!”  I guess it could be possible to do that in a year, but I need to save money plus I don’t think I have that many breaks to do that.  Maybe in a span of two or three years it may be a little more possible to visit 20 different cities, but we’ll have to see how long I’ll stay here.

4.  Take part in an aspect of Japanese culture – By this I mean, taiko (Japanese drumming), traditional dancing, archery, things along those lines.  I’m really interesting in learning taiko so hopefully I can find a place where I can learn.

5.  Make a Japanese friend – I don’t always want to be surrounded by foreigners, plus I think I’ll be able to learn more about culture and language by having Japanese friends!  I want someone I can go out to lunch with or go get coffee with (even though I don’t think coffee).  This relates back to #2 sooooo we’ll see what happens…

6.  Be conversational by next July – I don’t know if this is too far fetched, but I would like to be conversational in Japanese by next July.  I know I won’t know all the complex grammar and words, but I would like to be able to have conversations with my co-workers at lunch without having to look up words every 2 minutes.  Plus, I want to impress my family and Mark when they come visit me.

7.  Always be learning something new – Whether it’s Japanese, the culture, or how to turn on the stove, I always want to be learning something new.  It’s important to me to be able to be able to teach other people about this culture and the things I gained from living here.

In a year from now, I plan on doing a reflection post to see how much I’m able to accomplish!  Lets do this!



  1. Erika

    I love your goals Mallory! I think these are great and will help you keep on track during your time there.

    I love #4 and I never thought of that one while I was abroad… what a cool idea! (Like I never thought of doing a *uniquely* French activity regularly!)

    And for #5, I’d get started right away, haha! I hear that it takes much more time to make a friend in Japan than in the U.S. Also, a good place to start is maybe look for language exchanges at the local university (if there is one) or even try looking on couchsurfing for someone you can meet up with for coffee and a little chatting?? :)

    And also, you can make studying Japanese fun by finding a Japanese TV show or book you enjoy! I know my French got so much better when I found a TV show I loved and read Harry Potter. It’s like studying, but not really ‘cuz you’re doing something you like! :)

    • Mallory

      Thanks! :) Actually right after I wrote this, I found a taiko club to join! I’m excited to try it out! Yeah, I really don’t know how to go about making Japanese friends! My co-workers are all older than me, but I do know that there are some young teachers around my age that I will be working with (who I haven’t met yet). So maybe once I meet them, I can try to become friends with them or they can at least direct me towards people haha. I think the closest university is about 30-40 minutes away. I guess it’s not that bad. If I ever find someone who needs and English language partner, we could meet in the middle. That’s a great idea! I need to find out how to about finding someone. And I haven’t heard of the couchsurfing idea, so I’ll have to look into that too.

      I do really like watching Japanese dramas and do so, on and off haha. I think I’ll start to watch more dramas now, because a lot of people seem to learn a lot while watching them. I’ve only learned a few phrases from watching. This girl I met, basically is conversational now just from watching variety shows. I have no idea how she did it!!!

  2. Z K

    I love the way you write – I can just HEAR you explaining this to someone! this is also an awesome wishlist – all accomplish-able (is that a word?) and really cool in general. sounds like you’re going to have an amazing year!!! best of luck.

    • Mallory

      Oh my gosh, thank you so much! That means a lot to me! I tried not setting my expectations too high because then I’d be disappointed if I wouldn’t be able to even try at them. I hope they’re accomplish-able haha!

  3. LifeChangesii

    You really have some nice photographs on your blog. Love Goal #2. Putting yourself out there more when you are speaking. At one point I was trying to learn sign language and I was so intimidated to sign in front of people so I did not get to learn as much as I could have.

    • Mallory

      Thank you! I’m always intimidated just to ask a simple question. When I have to approach people at the grocery store or at the train station, I usually get flustered and I’m pretty sure what I’m saying doesn’t make any sense. I do think making that step does help though! Good luck with learning sign language :)

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