Category Archives: Abiko City

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)

This is the end

World Campus participants and counselors for Session 3 in 2016
World Campus participants and counselors for Session 3 in 2016

Here it is, the final day of World Campus Japan 2016. It has been quite a ride. When I first came here on the 4th of June I didn’t expect it to have been so much fun, or the goodbyes to be so hard. As one of the counselors I stayed for all three sessions of the program, meaning that I had had my share of teary goodbyes and promises to meet again in the future. Now, doing it for the third time I consider myself lucky. I’ve met tons of amazing people, stayed in many great host-families and made lots of new friends.

Admittedly, a part of me is wondering; why do all the good things have to come to an end? But another part of me, the optimistic one, looks back to this summer as an experience that I will remember ‘till the day I die. That part of me also sees ahead. It sees the bright future I, and I’m sure every last one of us, is heading for. And we won’t be going there alone, no, we are on our way together. As Hiro said, once a World Campus member, always a World Campus member. I have more friends from more diverse places around the world than I’ve ever had before. I have ten families now. And although the distances are great, our homestays are over and we won’t be having scheduled activities with the entire group any longer, I hope that I can see everyone again someday.

And so, we prepare for the final Arigato Event of the year. We dance and sing. We dine with our host families, cramped in a small room enjoying the delicious pot luck goodness. And we cry and hug and say our goodbyes. This is not the end. This is just the beginning.

I love you guys 🙂

Juuso Myller, Finland