Videoblogg filmed in Abiko on the 3rd of August 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)
Videoblog filmed in Abiko on the 1st of August 2017.
We started our second day of World Campus International early, arriving at 7:45 at Keimei High School, in Mito, Ibaraki. We left immediately for the Hitachi Corporation, located nearby, where we were met with a smile and a stern policy against photography on the premises. In the effort of preserving memories, we immediately broke the only rule we knew, and took a group photograph on a particularly special staircase, reserved only for workers who have recently retired from Hitachi. After a quick ride up the adjoining escalator, we all simultaneously retired from our short-lived careers at the technology company. If these traditions are to be believed, I can only assume Hitachi has an unusually high turnover for its employees.
To begin our official goodbye tour of the complex, we were shown an informational video about the bullet we dodged by quitting when we did. The technology presented to us was daunting and impressive, and between comprehensive facility tours, and inspired question-answer-style forums, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that nobody really knows all of the secrets that Hitachi Corporation holds. All I know is that it’s beyond my grasp of science and human cooperation. Upon boarding the bus to bring us back to Keimei, we left with heavy eyes and tearful hearts, and returned to our home base with commemorative pens. I assume our final paychecks are in the mail.
After we situated ourselves in the meeting room/dance hall we had overthrown earlier this week, we tested Juuso’s patience, and his ability to rip paper in half, as we spent half an hour meticulously smudging the handwriting on roughly thirty Thank You-cards, all while pretending to write our own names on them. To our dismay, only one card was smudged, but luckily Juuso stepped his game up and kindly ripped a second one for us out of the kindness of his heart. We then changed into our knock-arounds, and practiced our dancing and singing for the Arigato event coming up. Whitney took some personal initiative and kindly volunteered me to sing a solo in one of our songs. My gratitude is palpable, I’m sure. As far as the dancing goes, Juuso says we’ve improving, but I think he might just be getting tired of ripping things in half.
My time spent at home consisted largely of a trip across the neighborhood to a local bookstore with my host brothers. On our way there, we stopped at the Mito Art complex, and took an elevator to the top of its 100-meter tower. The tower was quirky and fascinating, with windows on every side, granting an unobstructed view of the area for miles in every direction. It was a unique and worthy experience, and I genuinely don’t have any jokes to say about my time there. With that, Mito Art Tower is likely the least-funny place in Ibaraki.
Dinner was special tonight. My host family treated me to a night out at a Japanese restaurant, offering me the authentic Japanese experience that any red-blooded American otaku would die for. I couldn’t understand much of what they were saying to the waitress, but in no time I was bombarded with a plethora of foods. Everything from chicken livers to shrimp sashimi and kimchi came flying through the door. Dishes began piling on the table. The waitress had extra help just for carrying plates and bowls into the room. It was after the third or fourth course that I began to wonder if this wasn’t some sort of ritualistic food sacrifice to the white American demon. I had happily filled up on chicken and fish and egg, and yet the food kept coming. After a cartoonishly large stack of plates had been carried away, the American demon had been sated. Sorry about all the rain recently; it’s kinda my responsibility to return the favor.
Overall, my day was exciting and developmental. I look forward more every day to what strange experience Japan and the World Campus International team have to offer us moving forward.
Jack Malban (USA)