Spring 2017 Classes

Here are the classes I’ve been taking this semester.

  1. Japanese Buddhism and Social Suffering.
    1. We learn about the role of Buddhism in Japan and how it is different from Buddhism around the world. We have field trips to supplement our understanding of the culture of Japan
  2. Children, Youth, and Migration: Everyday Experiences in Japan and Beyond
    1. We learn about immigrant youth in Japan and their experiences. We have a connection to the local high school in which we have a service learning project called One World Activity
  3. English and English Education in Japan in the Age of Globalization
    1. We learn about how English is taught in Japan and how how English education in Japan is developing considering the recent globalization
  4. Japanese Sound Culture in the Global Context
    1. We learn about different sounds from all over the world. This class is like the musicology class that UH offers
  5. Introduction to Japanese Art History
    1. We examine Japanese art from many years ago and relate it to the Japanese culture today.
  6. The Culture of Sports, Health and Longevity in Japan and Other Countries
    1. We examine why Japanese people have long life by looking at the culture and behavior of Japanese society
  7. Otaku Culture in Japan and its Transnational Relation
    1. We learn about the unique Japanese culture of otaku and how it is changing within Japan and in the world

During spring break, I went to Osaka with my cousins to visit my mother’s friends. We went to Universal Studios Japan on the first full day we had there. My target was the Harry Potter world. I love Harry Potter series, and have always wanted to visit this place. As I expected, the Harry Potter world was realistic and mysterious. Since we wanted to have a best of our times on our trip, and visit to USJ, we bought the express pass 7 which allows you to ride on the specified 7 attractions without lining up in the regular line. Instead we stood in the express line which moved quicker and smoother than the regular line. Still, however, we had to wait for average of 20-30 minutes for each attraction. I recommend people to purchase the express pass because without it, you will most likely be spending majority of time lining up for a ride instead of enjoying the ride. Express pass allows you to fully enjoy the rides there. The problem with express pass is that it is expensive. You must buy the separate pass in addition to the park entrance pass. However, it is worth it as if you don’t have this pass, you will be wasting your money spent on buying the entrance ticket.

On the last entry, I introduced Huis Ten Boss, a park in Kyushu area, and this week USJ, a park in Kansai Area. This weekend, I will be going to Disney Sea and Land, so I will introduce these parks in Kanto Area in the next post. After this weekend, I will have visited main parks in three areas on Japan.

 

 

Trip to Nagasaki

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Nagasaki with my relatives.

It was a two night, three days travel of which we stayed at a theme park in Kyushu area called HUIS TEN BOSCH the first day and hot spring hotel called Mikado the second.

At Huis Ten Bosch, I played some Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) games. These games are becoming popular in Japan currently and there is a VR Park in Shibuya which I recommend.

Unlike Tokyo Disney land and universal Studios Japan, Huis Ten Bosch did not have ride attractions. This theme park is more for older generation who like sightseeing. They had beautiful flower garden and illumination for the audience to see.

 

The second day, we took a car ride to a place called UNZEN which is famous for its onsen or hot spring. We stayed at a hotel called Mikado Hotel.

I personally loved his hotel. The hot spring had a great view for you to see and the buffet for breakfast and dinner was beyond amazing. They had variety of fresh food from Sashimi to meat to to noodles. Also, they offered all you can drink alcohol. Since the minimum drinking age for Japan is 20, I drank a cup of acerola rosehip alcoholic drink. Just one cup of alcoholic drink gave me a headache and I thought to myself that alcohol is still too early for me.

Spring Break Ending Soon

In February, I went back to Hawaii for 20 days.

I realized how busy Japan is every day and how relaxed Hawaii is every day.

24 hours in Hawaii seemed longer than 24 hours in Japan.

I used to think Hawaii is a boring place with nothing interesting to do, however, this return how made me realize how nice it is to be able to call such a calm and relaxing place my home.

Prior to studying abroad in Japan, I was so sure I would not stay in Hawaii after college graduation, however, now my view has changed and I am starting to think that staying in Hawaii isn’t so bad.

I would like to thank my parents and university of Hawaii for letting me experience this study abroad to Japan which may have determined my future whereabouts.

 

Spring semester will start on 4/7.

This semester, my goal is to do previews and reviews for every class.

I am going to make this semester a great one that will remain as my college memory forever.

 

END OF FIRSTSEMESTER

First semester is ending. I just have one more week of school before first semester is over. For the final assignment, I have/had five presentation and one final exam. Two out of the five presentations are done, so I have three more presentations and one final exam to go.

At the beginning of the semester, I had no assignment to do and could do whatever I wanted; however, as the semester ended, the assignments for every single class piled up and I’m struggling every day to complete all the assignment.

I realized that what is important to not struggle in Japanese college is to nudge the professor about what assignments they are planning to assign way in advance and don’t leave off those assignments until the last minute.

You can earn credit for all the classes if you attend the class and complete all the assignment. Unlike American colleges, the passing cut off is low in Japan. You just need to earn 40% to pass a class. Japanese university seems to value the regular attendance and consistent submission of the assignment rather than quality of your work.

Illumination

 

Long time no see!

Recently I have been busy going to the doctor’s, trying to find out the cause of my cough that hasn’t stopped for 2 months. As the year gets wrapped up, your workload for school increases massively. Be prepared for that.

 

Today, I want to introduce to you a beautiful illumination spot you can go to for Christmas.

Doitsu-Mura, or German City is one of the 3 greatest illumination spot in Kanto region. I only went for the illumination, but you can also enjoy many attractions at Doitsu-Mura. One of the attractions that caught my attention was the Ferris wheel. Riding on it at night during the illumination period must have been beautiful. If I get a change to go there again during Christmas season, I would like to ride on the Ferris wheel.

 

New Yeas is approaching, and the experience you can get in Japan is far different from those you can gain in Hawaii.

  • Kouhaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Festival,
  • Toshikoshi Soba
  • Hatsumoude
  • Osechi
  • Mochi-tsuki Taikai

 

There are so much to enjoy for new years in Japan.

School is important, but I recommend you to seek out the opportunity to enjoy the event culture that you can only enjoy in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

!CAUTION!

After a few months of attending classes here in Japan, I noticed some major differences in the Japanese and American education system. In America, teachers are very clear as to what they expect from their students. In Japan, teachers are unclear about what they want from their students. For example, in America, students have a general idea of their grades throughout the semester because teachers give feedback on assignments and tests; however, in Japan, you never get feedback on your assignments. Teachers collect the assignment, and you just hope it was good enough.

 

Here is the list of things you should not expect in Japan:

  • Prompt feedback on assignments
  • Clear explanation on the test dates
  • Clear lecture
  • Knowing your grade throughout the semester

 

Just remember, everything is UNCLEAR.

Organize your class schedule and assignments early in the semester!

ASK the teachers what the evaluation method for the class is.

 

The evaluation method seems to include the following:

  • Participation
  • Class attendance
  • Weekly assignments
  • Exams
  • In class assignments
  • Presentations

 

All the classes here do not have that many assignments so it is important for you to complete all the assignments that are given.

 

This week, I plan to email my teachers and ask them if I’m on the passing line for the class.

I just thought I should let you know that the system here is very different so future students know what to expect in Japan.