Thursday, February 17, 2011

Impressions of Japan: 5 months later (work in progress)

Hello Everyone!

I first came to Japan nearly five and a half months ago after being accepted into the Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata-shi, Osaka, Japan. Since then I have been living a dream come true. I'll forever be thankful for the opportunity I've been given. I've learned more in the last 5 months here than I ever have before. I've been shown such innumerable generosity, compassion and kindness by the people here. From mere strangers met around town and in my travels, fellow classmates both Japanese and international, my wonderful host family, and from all of my friends. I've realized the importance of being eager to try new things, whether it be foods, trips, or just striking up random conversations.

I wanted to remember how it was that I felt in the first few days, weeks, and months during my exchange program in Japan. I've looked at some small journals, emails sent, and photos taken from this time and tried to choose images that captured my sense of bewilderment and adventure at first, followed by revelations about Japanese culture, the various people I have met here, what everyday life is like, and what I have discovered about myself as well. I'm far from an expert on Japan, and I still find myself making mistakes time and time again, but I hope this blog can give you insight into what's possible if you do decide to partake in study abroad program in Japan, live with a host family, or just travel to Japan for a short while. So without further ado some pictures from the last 5 months! : )

A friend during my first visit to Kyoto (at Kiyomizu-dera). I love the feeling of exhilaration in the pose here. My feelings paralleled this for the first few weeks I was in Japan.
Running with some friends through neighborhood Hirakata-shi.

The street leading up to Sensouji in Asakusa, Tokyo (January 2011).
The view from the middle observation deck of Tokyo Tower
Itsukashima Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture (Oct. 2010)

Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima City (Oct. 2010)
Memorial Cenotaph in Hiroshima
Thanks for the dream (Kobe, Jan. 2010)
Miyajima, Hiroshima (Oct. 2010). Taken by some friendly Japanese girls after they struck up a conversation upon noticing we had the same camera.