All posts by Thomas Greve

Anime studio tour and saying goodbye to World Campus – Japan 2017

My host family told me ahead of time that I had to get to the meeting place earlier than usual, as my host sister was gonna take an English test (I still find it absurd that they have classes during summer break, but different school system I suppose) so there I was, at the Parthenon Tama– dying because of the heat. Well I didn’t care because I was excited for NIHON Animation! I’m gonna be honest, it’s not like I’m the biggest anime fan (I read manga though) but to see how it’s done professionally sounded awesome.

Just before we left Hiro decided it was kind of him to hand me my shoes I left at Mito… I had completely forgotten about those and it wasn’t like I was excited to carrying them throughout the day! I didn’t have space in my bag either… But Elizabeth had enough kindness to place one of the shoes into her backpack.

When we arrived at our destination, it was a lot smaller and less dramatic than I had anticipated. I’m not sure what to expect but it wasn’t what I had in mind? Well, my odd imagination is partly at blame here. We wandered around, taking pictures as your everyday gaijin. It was so much fun for sure!

We were taken back to a shopping mall. There we had our lunch and got dressed for our, sadly, last ceremony. By dressed I mean a very Japanese clothing called yukata. We were shown awesome performances as well and we managed to wrap everything up nicely.

Of course, the session wasn’t gonna finish just like that. We had our own little last meet up together. Hiro had a lovely speech about what we’ve faced and how much we’ve progressed. Also, a hug from each of the staff as we received a signed thank-you letter. It sucked how it as the last time together with all of us but it’s gonna be a cherished memory for sure.

And to end a great day, my host family took me to onsen! A very Japanese way of finishing it.

Dahabo Omar (Sweden)

Natural disasters and fireworks; what a perfect host family day!

Host family day is always a fun day! As my host family had already noticed that I was quite tired after a week of many exciting activities, they told me that we wouldn’t start the day until closer to 9, so it was ok for me to sleep past the usual time of 7, which I found very satisfying. Breakfast was served in the traditional Japanese way of delicious, and once the full family of four (counting myself) were ready for adventure, we departed for the local museum of natural disasters!

At the museum I gloriously failed a quiz on how to react during an earthquake, and managed to bleed some nosebleed during a fire evacuation drill, which really impressed the group of Japanese people I was getting a tour with. In addition, I got to experience an earthquake simulation of how a scale 6 earthquake would have been, which was fairly terrifying. We also went into a rain chamber to get a feel for how it is to stand in 30 m/s winds and 30mm/h rain, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that the winds of a typhoon are twice that strength, it puts things into perspective.

Once we finally finished at the museum, we moved on to the Buddhist temple Shibamata Taishakuten in Tokyo, which is surrounded by very touristy shops. The temple itself had a very nice garden behind the main building, which was only overshadowed by the amazing wood carvings surrounding the temple. The last part of the day was dedicated purely to watching the awesome Japanese fireworks display, which was a really good finish for the day! Relaxing and interesting all the way to the end, and I could not have asked for anything better.

Simen Solum (Norway)

Sleep is for the weak, Arigato Event is for World Campus – Japan!

If you thought that World Campus – Japan is the kind of program that would make you feel rested, well you’re very, very far from the reality. The previous day, I went to sleep at 2:30 am, because I had to write a letter to my host family and didn’t have time before. My host family invited two other host families in the evening (so there were 8 little kids running around in the house, which might sound very cute, but is at the same time very tiring).

So the morning, with my eyes half opened, we had our first Naginata practice! Even as a half Japanese, I had no idea how this sport was done. We practiced it in a tiny room with 25 people in it doing some Naginata moves. It was actually very fun, even if I almost made a hole in the wall. I enjoyed it much more than the Kendo we tried in the previous week.

Later, we tried Taiko. I usually love it, but today the song was a bit repetitive, so we decided that it was much better to dance Bon-Odori all together instead. Here is the World Campus – Japan mentality: “If we find a way to dance and make fool of ourselves, we’ll probably do it.” I guess that Arigato event is a perfect example to illustrate that. Anyways, it was much more fun dancing traditional Japanese dance with Japanese people around, all wondering what kind of weird gaijin we were.

After eating our lunch, which consisted of onigiris and soup, we had an exciting meeting about the next city, with our beloved city runner Jürrien – yayyy!

Later we started practicing for our Arigato event. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take a clever risk (just as Hiro-sama always says) by standing in the front row for the dance. I have to admit that even if my dancing skills are as bad as most of the participants, the dance of the Arigato event is probably one of the best part of the whole trip (as much as being thrown away by Juuso when he gets a bit excited).

During our Arigato event, I saw my host mum crying. This is the kind of thing that makes you feel very proud of yourself, and which makes World Campus – Japan such a great program. Even if it’s just one week, the people are accepting you as a member of their family. Creating bonds with different people from different age is very rewarding.

After the arigato event, the Abiko city and all the host families prepared food for all of us – yayyy again! I started running around with the little kids and got exhausted (again)…

But guess what? Tomorrow for our host family day, we’ll wake up at 4 am to go to Tsukiji fish market. Don’t get me wrong though, I am very excited, but am I ever gonna have a normal amount of sleep one night during this program?

Miya Ferrisse (Switzerland)