Posts from Japan
- Week One in Mishima – Part 1. on June 9th, 2012
This past week has been incredible.
Continuing from the last entry, we woke up around 6 A.M. and had to leave the hotel by 7 A.M.. Nagase-sensei has arranged for a bus to take all of us to the station to catch the shinkansen to Mishima.
We were meeting our host families today so everyone dressed to impress. There are tons of stairs in Japan and the elevators are generally very small. Something to consider when packing for your trip; you will have to carry it all up and down stairs at some points.
Waiting for the shinkansen. English signage is excellent in Japan so even if you don’t speak any Japanese, you will be able to get around very easily with some intuition.
Like every other aspect of Japan, the shinkansen was extremely clean. The seats can be turned around to created groupings of seats instead of just individual rows.
Our group on the shinkansen with the rest of the group in the back. The shinkansen runs at between 150-180 mph if I recall correctly, so our trip only took 45 minutes. Looking out the window as you pass everything by at such speeds is incredibly relaxing.
We arrived at Nihon University’s International Relations building. We have class here two to three times a week, but for today, we walked to the main campus where our host families would be gathering.
The campus is beautiful. From the higher floors of the buildings, you get a breath taking view of the mountain landscape in the distance. All around campus you can see tons of students walking around, participating in club activities, or just sleeping on couches between classes.
In the main lobby, we dropped off our bags and met Nishigaya-san. At this time, we were all given our cell phones to use for the remainder of the trip. The families were still trickling in at this point, so we had some free time to walk around and explore the campus. Right next to the university is the high school, so on the commute to school the trains are mixed with both school’s students.
After all our families had arrived, we went across to another building where they were waiting for us. We were introduced individually to the group, and given a microphone to greet everyone. “Haijimemashite. Watashi wa Mike desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!” Your host family will be waiting for you here so this is where you present your school omiyage.
John-san, Takahashi-sensei, Nagase-sensei, and my host mother, Nakayama-san. My host family is very close friends with John’s family, the Nagatomo’s. We do a lot of activities together, like eating lunch here, and other activities that will be mentioned later in this post.
After lunch time, we said goodbye to our classmates and other host families, and were taken to our new homes for the next month. The Nakayama’s live in Susono, which is about an hour away from the university by a combination of walking and taking the train. We arrived at the house, dropped off our bags, and were out the door right away. She does move extremely fast, so you better keep up!
Seems like I hit the limit for the amount of pictures I posted. Had a feeling this would happen. ^^; That’s all for now!
- Our Journey So Far in Mishima, Japan on June 5th, 2012
Konnichiwa. Watashi no namae wa Jessica desu.
Hello. My name is Jessica.
This is my first post since travelling to Japan. I am studying abroad in Japan through Stony Brook’s short term or summer session program. The programs is from June 1- July 1. There are 18 people in this diverse group we have, which doesn’t only contain Stony Brook students but also students from other SUNYs and CUNYs. We all travelled to Japan through a series of planes and trains. The plane from New York to Detroit was about 3 hours. Next, we took a plane to Japan’s Haneda airport, which took about 13 hours. Arriving at Haneda airport, we were all pretty exhausted and excited. Another student from my group is also blogging about our experience. Here is his account of our travel experience: http://admissions.cc.stonybrook.edu/studyabroad/?p=810
After arriving in Mishima Sunday morning, we were all excited to meet our host families. We had prepared omiyage for them, which is a gift for the host family thanking them for welcoming us into their homes. We had both a Stony Brook omiyage and a personal omiyage. The Stony Brook omiyage was a zipper hoodie from the campus marketplace. My personal omiyage was a candle stand with some candles and a Disney toy for my one year old host sister. During orientation, you find out who your host families are and receive information about them, which helps you to choose out an omiyage for them. We were all growing more and more excited as we watched our host families walk into the building next to ours, where the reception would take place. After everyone was settled in, one by one we were presented to our host families. It is very nerve-wrecking, almost like adrenaline pumping through. After this handoff, we all left with our host families. Some people ended up going shopping for dinner and some, like myself, ended up going back home to unpack and talk to my host family.
Each student lived within an hour radius to Nihon University, where we have class throughout the week. I was fortunate enough to be within walking or biking distance to the university. My host family was very sweet and cooked me an american style dinner- hamburgers, french fries, and mashed potatoes. After dinner, my host father walked me to school to show me the way. The next day, I decided to try to go to school by myself, which surprisingly worked out fairly well. It is not too difficult to navigate and the people are extremely kind and willing to help.
There is much more to tell, but I will continue this tomorrow. Pictures will come very soon!!
- Konnichiwa from Japan! on June 3rd, 2012
Konnichiwa to everyone out there reading this. My name is Mike and I am a senior at SBU majoring in Information Systems. I live on Long Island so Japan has quite a bit of culture shock from the moment you step off the plane. Nothing that Nagase-sensei won’t prepare you for though!
The program starts off with your initial application and interview process with Nagase-sensei. She is the director of the program and has been running it since 2006. After I submitted my application, I received an e-mail which stated that an interview would be set up with Nagase-sensei as a sort of meet and greet. I had to move mine up a bit because I was a bit of a unique case; I was leaving for Japan the next day just because I had always wanted to go. ^^; The interview was nerve-racking because she is selective with who she brings over to stay with the host families. Somehow, I made enough of a good impression to be selected!
After I came back to New York on April 7th, I found out I was accepted into the program. It was a great feeling knowing that I had just spent two weeks there, and would get to go back in a month and a half. I was ecstatic, and that is a huge understatement.
A week prior to our departure, we had our orientation. I met the other 17 students who would also be coming with me to Japan. The orientation mainly discussed Japanese customs, etiquette, culture, and also provided us with many useful tips for traveling. In the afternoon, we divided up into our language levels and had our first week of intensive language preparation. I am currently in the JPN111 course (Introductory) so I’m not that great with Japanese yet, but this immersion is speeding up the process exponentially.
On June 1st, myself and 17 other students left New York to travel to Japan. After a quick flight to Detroit, we embarked on the grueling 13 hour flight. I loathe flying but I managed to have an entire row of 4 seats to myself, so it was slightly less painful. Before we knew it, our rag-tag team had made it into Tokyo!
Here is most of our group waiting at the airport for the monorail to take us to Shinagawa station. Everyone got to experience their first Japanese ticket system and the immaculate public transportation Japan has to offer.
Ridiculously photogenic Kyle observing the monorail as it comes in.
On the monorail itself. We even had our first accident here! Russel forgot his carry on bag when we got off. Whoops!
Trains stop running around midnight in Japan. It was already 12:30 AM at this point, so Nagase-sensei booked a hotel for us near the train station. A quick five minute walk and we were there, all so happy to drop off our luggage and finally get to explore Tokyo for a bit before getting what little sleep we could.
Japan is so clean!
Discovering our first convenience store, or “konbini”.
No matter where you go in Japan, you are never more than 10 feet away from a vending machine, or three. You will never be thirsty here, and they have pretty much any kind of drink you could think of.
Wrapping this first post up here for now. Just wanted to introduce myself and test out how this all works. It is currently day 2 and we were all just introduced to our families so it’s time to go spend some time with them. More to come soon!
Mata-ne~ (See you later~)