Tag Archives: Session 3 2017

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)

Personal day in Mito: Being a member of the family

I’ve actually managed to make myself to believe that I’ve adjusted to the heat here in Japan. As the day went on, I realized how wrong I was! The feeling you get isn’t that you’re sweating. It’s more that you start to get a gooey feeling all over your body from the heat. It’s like your skin is slowly leaking out the water in your body.

But enough about me trying to deal with a heat and humidity uncommon to Sweden. The personal day for has felt like some kind of sanctuary for me, since everything during this program has been outside the box for me. I’ve been panicking like crazy and felt like just disappearing into thin air. During Wednesday evening, that feeling luckily left me. Thursday was fine and today I’ve just been enjoying myself, the time with my host family and the time I spent on my own today.

After Oba-san served lunch for me and Taiki, the younger of the two brothers I’m staying with, we ended up folding origami together. I can’t communicate that well with Oba-san, since my Japanese isn’t good enough. I find this quite sad, since I would love to hear about the Japan she used to live in when she was young. After Masaki returned home from school, they gave me a ride to the climbing gym. That was a good thing, since it was a bit tricky to find the gym. They were so worried about me that they even called beforehand. After a brief explanation about how the facility worked I got to enjoy some great climbing. That was, of course, after convincing my host family that I would be ok with going to Mito station by myself. As I’ve been living by myself and traveling a lot by myself, I’m incredibly independent in a way. This is to the extreme that I sometimes feel suffocated by my host family and their care. So being able to at least spend some time on my own is a great vent for me during these occasions.

During my walk to the station I boosted my ego in Japanese language. This was because I got lost on the way several times. Did I mention that I have no internet on my phone except for Wi-Fi? Somehow my phone just hates Japanese sim-cards. Some people might find it crippling to walk around without any internet access on their phone. I, on the other hand, find it extremely handy. This is because I have to interact with people and actually try to find a way around some obstacles. I feel that this is definitely something to try out a bit more in Sweden. I also walked past some kids on the way to Mito station. They stared at me and were so happy to meet a foreigner. They greeted me in both Japanese and English. Sometimes it’s the little things that create memories for some.

Since I’m without internet, I got a bit worried at the station. Have the others gone on without me? Did we miss each other? Well, worst case scenario, I’ll just eat alone and bend the truth a little to ensure my host family that we were having fun as a group. As things turned out, we met up without any drama though and quickly went for an Izakaya. We ran into some minor problems though. Curse those minors, always getting in our way of consuming the nectar of the gods, known as alcohol! But we found a place where everyone was allowed and got to ordering. I feel a bit sad for the waiter though, since we couldn’t get our order straight in the beginning. You could hear that he got a bit frustrated at us too. I ended up taking care of the children, like a good uncle. This was fine for me since I’m restrictive with consuming alcohol while representing a company or an organisation.

When I returned home to my kind host family, I surprised the boys with a small gift. After eating an evening snack my host family surprised me with presents for me and my family. The world certainly needs more of this. Not the gift giving but the part where you’re mindful of others. As we sit down I start thinking about one thing. It must be a big step for my host family, letting someone in like this. It makes me think about my foster family and what a big step it must have been for them to accept someone into their family. That’s what my host family has done for me. They’ve accepted me into their family. This is such a humbling feeling for me. I can’t possibly find any words to describe this feeling, except that I feel a lot of gratitude towards them. I also feel a lot of joy for them being so relaxed around me, it’s like I’m a family member now. It gives proof to that family isn’t blood, it’s the relations you build with the people around you.

Oscar Tindvall (Sweden)