Vielleicht ist dir beim letzten Anime oder Manga schon mal der Gedanke gekommen selbst für ein Semester an einer japanische Universität zu studieren. Aber wie es wohl ist als Japaner*in in Österreich zu leben? Ayato war ein ganzes Jahr lang Student an der Universität Salzburg. Wir haben ihn gefragt, wie sich sein Alltag in Tokyo von dem in Salzburg unterschieden hat und an welche Dinge er sich erst gewöhnen musste.
Das Interview ist original auf Englisch entstanden. Die deutsche Übersetzung kannst du am Blog der Universität Salzburg nachlesen.
1. In 2015/2016 you went on a year abroad. Why did you pick Salzburg?
At first, my plan was to go to Europe because it is such a multicultural place. In Japan, over 95% of the people are ethnically Japanese. It is culturally a very homogeneous place. I wanted to do a lot of sightseeing, so I thought that Salzburg would be a good place to stay due to it’s location in the middle of Europe. Also Austria is a very safe country. Apart from this, most Asians go to English speaking countries for their semester abroad, so I wanted to try something ‘new’ that not everyone does. I decided to go to a place other Europeans would choose for a holiday.
What was your favourite place in Salzburg?
My favourite place in Salzburg was probably the Kapuzinerkloster - the view was just so amazing!
2. What were the biggest differences in university life in Salzburg compared to Tokyo?
Tokyo is a very big and crowded city. Salzburg has fewer people which was very pleasant. In general, I loved the small size of the city. You could go by bike or by foot nearly everywhere within 15 to 30 minutes.
University life was very different. In Tokyo, student life revolved more around club or circle activities and part time jobs. Those extra activities are sometimes even more important than the actual studies. In Salzburg, the university courses were taken more seriously and were more difficult to pass. I had the impression that the students here were studying a lot more than the Japanese students at home. In Japan, we study very hard to get into university. After you are accepted, the extra activities and the name of the university are the important factors for finding a good job.
However, luckily I could find one essential similarity: students, both from Tokyo and from Salzburg, love to party and drink a lot of beer. Though, the beer was by far a lot cheaper in Austria than in Japan. Also people were kinder than I expected. Once, I went out and ended up singing karaoke with some random other exchange students in O’Malleys Irish Pub.
Did you miss anything?
The thing I missed most was Ramen. I just can’t live without Ramen.
3. Did you experience a cultural shock?
The biggest culture shock for me was the difference in greeting. In Salzburg, it was normal for people to hug or kiss on the checks as a greeting between friends. In general, people were more ‘touchy’. This is totally different in Japan!
Furthermore, the amount of alcohol consumed is a lot higher in Austria. In general, people prefer to drink beer or wine for the whole evening, not longdrinks or liquor. I went to a first of May festival and we started drinking beer around noon.
The open-minded attitude towards cannabis was also quite a culture shock for me.
4. Do you think that your year abroad changed you?
I first realized that I changed when I visited Finland during my year abroad. There was a group of Japanese businesspeople in a restaurant and they were bowing a lot when they met. I thought that it was so strange for people to bow that much.
Because of my year abroad I was able to learn a lot about other cultures. This made me see my own culture from a different perspective - good and bad things. But I guess I am back to my ‘old self’ now because my time in Salzburg was years ago.
Ayato studierte liberal studies an der Waseda University in Tokyo und machte im Studienjahr 2015/2016 ein Auslandsjahr in Salzburg. Im Zuge des Buddy Programms der Uni Salzburg lernten wir uns kennen und wurden Freunde. Bis heute sind wir in stetigem Kontakt und konnten uns Jahre später in Salzburg und in Tokyo erneut treffen.
Lust auf dein eigenes "Auslandsabenteuer" bekommen? An der Universität Salzburg kannst du dich beim Internationalen Büro über mögliche Partneruniversitäten informieren. Falls du nicht (mehr) studierst, wäre vielleicht Work and Travel in Japan eine bessere Möglichkeit für dich.
Bildquellen: Fabia Klinger
Titelbild: von Wokandapix auf Pixabay