Returning Home For Haruki Nakajima

Jackson Nielsen

Most college students travel far distances from their childhood homes to pursue a higher education. It may be 100 miles, 200 miles or even 500 miles. But for Haruki Nakajima, he traveled nearly 6,000 miles across expansive oceans in order to further his education. Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Haruki has ventured to the United States in order to pursue a degree in aviation in the hopes to be a commercial airline pilot in the future.  Being in a totally foreign culture and being so far from home would be tough on anyone. So, sitting down with Haruki, I asked about what it was like traveling back to Tokyo after an entire school year of being in the United States. 

“After the semester was over,” says Haruki, “I flew out of the Kearney Airport. I then traveled to Denver, Denver to Los Angeles, and then Los Angeles to Tokyo”. A total of 24 hours of traveling, Haruki made this trip all by himself and said that he was very tired and the jet lag is always something that is hard to deal with when returning to Japan, which is 13 hours ahead of American time. “I usually stay up late and talk to my friends who are still in America,” Haruki says “but I am always very tired when I first arrive in Japan”. I asked Haruki what was the first thing he did when he first returned home and he commented that “I take the bus and the train from the Airport to my home city, it is about one hour away, where I get to see my family and my girlfriend. It is hard being away from them for so long so I feel very happy when I finally get to see them because I don’t get to see them for over six months so it is totally happy when I get to see them”. 

I asked what he did on that first day back in his home country and he replied, “That first night, I went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner with my family and girlfriend to get real Japanese food again”. Haruki makes it a point to say that the Japanese food, aside from his family and friends, is one thing he misses most when being in the United States. He says “there is no real Japanese food around here, I cannot eat fresh fish or fresh vegetables here so I totally miss eating Japanese food”. 

 Unlike other return trips to Japan that Haurki has made, this one carried more weight as he was going to be taking an exam which would aid in him obtaining his commercial pilots license. Fortunately for him, he passed this exam and is able to proceed to the next stage in becoming a commercial pilot. Haruki is currently studying at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, majoring in aviation while also minoring in photography. For most college students it is not easy to be away from home, even if it’s just a few hours away.