When I came to Japan I had many goals in mind, but my top one was traveling. I wanted to make sure that I experienced absolutely everything that I possibly could during our short stay, and I set out to do it right away. Most of my weekends were spent bouncing from train to train all around Kawagoe and Tokyo with a few friends, but my favorite part about JSP was that they planned field trips for us to experience Japan in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to do by myself.
Our first field trip was to Asakusa and Akihabara, and it was my first time experiencing either location. Asakusa was incredible, with beautiful shrines and tons of neat shopping (perfect for omiyage). We went on a mission with some of the PAs to find what would turn out to be the most delicious, wonderful melon pan I’ve ever eaten or will hope to eat again, and I am forever thankful that they brought it into my life. After some tempura and soba, we headed to Akihabara, where I got to experience eight story arcades for the first time. It was an incredible way to start my study abroad.
In May, we went to Coedo and got to wear kimono. I had never had the chance to wear any sort of Japanese traditional clothing before, and it was really fun to see everyone having a good time and struggling to walk around. We got to make cute bookmarks and origami as part of a JR event for foreigners, and we ate purple sweet potato ice cream in Candy Lane. 10/10 would recommend.
In June, we were given the opportunity to visit a Japanese elementary school. There was a huge ceremony, we got to play games with some of the kids, and then we got to eat lunch with the fourth graders and talk with them one on one. I was nervous that I was going to embarrass myself in front of these kids or that they wouldn’t want to talk to us, but they were all so welcoming and even though we thought the game we shared with them wouldn’t be much of a hit (sharks and minnows was harder to explain in Japanese than we had thought), they told us that they were going to play it again at recess, and it made me feel like we had affected each other’s lives, if just in a small way. This was one of the big opportunities that I never could have done without JSP’s help.
Click here for Part 2: Kyoto Excursion