Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 7

Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 7

Spring Retreat I just got back from Japan Study’s (the study abroad program I’m in) spring retreat at Minakami Onsen, a five-star ryokan (hotel with onsen, hot outdoor baths, as well as ofuro, hot indoor baths), about a three hour bus ride away from Tokyo. I am pretty exhausted, but in a good way. The spring retreat complements the fall retreat that our program had at Karuizawa, which has ofuro, sports facilities, and great views of Mt. Fuji. I’ve learned…

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Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 6

Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 6

Well, the spring semester has officially begun, and things are off to a great start! Classes seem like they’re going to be a lot more interesting this time around, mostly because two of my classes, Creative Writing and Contemporary Japanese Literature, are taught by an awesome, laid-back, half-Japanese/half-British writer. I’m excited to start writing again; I haven’t exactly written much fiction since high school, even though I’m part of a creative writing club here at Waseda. I’m also taking a…

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Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 5

Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 5

So much has happened since I left Kyoto, but in the interest of brevity I’ll keep this post to just the biggest things. From Kyoto, instead of going right back to Tokyo, I took a detour to Fukuoka where I met up with my host parents, who were there on vacation. They had offered to let me stay at the hotel they were staying at, and having missed out on a prior outing with them due to lack of money,…

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Eliot Cowley | Kyoto, Japan | Post 4

Eliot Cowley | Kyoto, Japan | Post 4

First Two Weeks in Kyoto A lot has happened in the past couple weeks–I’ve finished my first job at the Airinkan, the day care center for people with cognitive disabilities, and I’ve started my next job, at the Bazaar Cafe. I’ll do my best to neatly sum up how it has been. February 11 was a Japanese holiday, National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi). This day celebrates the ascension of Japan’s first emperor, Emperor Jimmu (Thanks, Wikipedia!). For some…

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Eliot Cowley | Kyoto, Japan | Post 3

Eliot Cowley | Kyoto, Japan | Post 3

Well, I’m finally here! This is my second full day living in Kyoto. The day I left Tokyo I had to get up at 5:30 AM to make the shinkansen (bullet train). I wasn’t sure if I would be able to because the night before I had suddenly become very sick. I have no idea why, but thankfully I was well enough to travel the next day. Kayla, who also attends Vassar, is doing the same practicum as me, and we both…

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Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 1

Eliot Cowley | Tokyo, Japan | Post 1

From September 2013 to August 2014, I’ve studied and will study at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. I’m a junior, double-majoring in Computer Science and Japanese. The program in which I’m enrolled is Japan Study, through Earlham College in Indiana. There are about twenty other students in the program, one of whom is also from Vassar. I’m living with a host family in Shibuya, which is a very wealthy and popular district of Tokyo. My host dad is the president of his company, so the…

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Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 3

Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 3

“What are you doing for Golden Week?” was the newest addition to the standard small-talk for the weeks leading up to last weekend. In Japan, “Golden Week” is a series of holidays that occur within a close period of time of one another. Many people get the entire week off of school or work, but unfortunately, I only enjoyed a 4-day weekend. I had originally planned to spend the entire weekend in the historic cities of Kyoto and Nara—famous for its Giant Buddha and bowing deer—with friends from my study abroad program, but…

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Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 2

Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 2

My study abroad program CIEE follows the Japanese school year. This means that we exchange students entered the university at the same time as the freshmen did, which also meant that we were able to share in their orientation week activities, including their club fair, and that I continued to feel a bit like I was a freshman again myself. Joining a club in Japan is a much stricter affair than back in the States. Clubs are divided into two groups—bukatsudō (部活動) and circles…

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Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 1

Maxelle Neufville | Tokyo, Japan | Post 1

So far, the most difficult part of my JYA experience has been just trying to get to Tokyo. Flying from New York to Chicago went without a hitch, but the two planes provided for my connecting flight—the second one after an hours-long delay—were both unusable due to mechanical issues.  Luckily, I was able to find and band together with three other students, participating in the same CIEE program as me, who were booted off of the same flight to be placed in the same…

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