ようこそう!(youkosou!) A Warm Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun!

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Hello all!

Whether you’re a prospective TUJ student, currently enrolled, or just found this site in your free time, I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having clicked that link!

This is my first photo blog, not to mention first blog ever, so I’m extremely excited and nervous about how this whole project will turn out, but for the most part I hope you will be able to learn just as much about Japan as I am about blogging (and for those of you who aren’t quite sure how much that is…let’s just say it’s a lot).

Firstly, the purpose of this blog is create an accurate account of what it’s like to be a study abroad student at Temple Japan. My perspective is a little different because I chose to do independent housing and have been to Japan twice before. The first time was as a student ambassador through the TOMODACHI program for 2 weeks and the second time was with a friend of mine when we decided to travel extensively throughout Japan for 6 weeks (42 days), so I felt confident enough to try independent housing.

If you are a prospective student, I can recommend with utmost sincerity that you DO NOT DO THIS!!!! Definitely go to the dorms. From my experience researching and going through the whole hassle of locking down an apartment, I’ve learned that it would have just been easier to sign up with the dorms and have everything there and prepared for you, ready to go. I arrived a whole week before the program even began, and I’m still working on getting chairs to sit down at my table with at a week into the program. Thus it would probably be best for those who were considering renting an apartment as an option to simply move into the Hiyoshi/Kitazono dorms (not to mention that they’re prices are unbeatable on the market). They come fully furnished, and all the amenities are right there for you. I will admit, my friends in the dorms do say that it is a bit of trek to get to class, so while the opportunity to be closer to school and time is lost on commuting, it more than makes up for the time lost attempting to get an apartment. Just as a reminder, this is for prospective students who are not originally from Japan and don’t really have a grasp on the system. So if you are from Japan and know exactly how to go about doing things, go bananas.

With this in mind, while I won’t be able to provide the experience of the typical TUJ student, I will be able to let everyone see the TUJ Study Abroad experience in a different light, and provide a new perspective on TUJ.

Ah, glad to get that out of the way! So now that we have a little background as to the perspective lens the photographer is looking through, I’m just going to delve into my equipment a little bit. For all of my photos, I will be working with a Canon T5i Rebel camera with a 18-135mm lens. Nothing too fancy, but it’ll do for the purpose of this blog. I was also going to be working with a GoPro Hero4, but alas it got damaged on my trip to Tahiti this summer, so I don’t know the exact time or date when I will receive it here in Japan after it’s recovery in the states. My poor baby T.T

So finally, here comes the actual gallery of my first couple of weeks in Japan!

Tokyo-TUJOrientation-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

First day of orientation! Everybody seems nervous, but really they’re just thinking about how to destroy their competition… 😉 Make sure you don’t fall behind in classes!

First day of orientation just like any other school! Classic yet fantastic presentations by the Dean and Associate Dean as well as the rest of the faculty! They made great strides to make us feel welcome, giving an almost casual feel to the presentations allowing for dialogue among the students and faculty. Way to make the students feel welcome!

Tokyo-TUJOrientation Smiling Friends-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Serai and a couple of brand new friends pose for an up close shot! When I asked how long they had known each other for, I was met with a laugh and a collective “10 minutes ago!”

Lunch provided by TUJ was a nice and familiar pizza lunch; something I hadn’t had in a couple days. Chain pizza is always good no matter what country you’re in!

Tokyo-TUJOrientation Represent-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Chris showing off his temple pride! Which does he look better with: his blue t-shirt, or in cherry and white? You decide!

Shinjuku- I spy godzilla-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015Shinjuku-Street Lights-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

 

If you’ve never been to Shinjuku, chances are you will pass through should you visit Tokyo. A bustling hub, Shinjuku maintains one of the largest train stations in the city, providing transfers to all sectors of the city. Whether its shopping, photo ops, or a filling meal that you’re looking for, Shinjuku has it all. My recommendation: get off of the big streets and into one of the side stalls or izakaya’s (traditional Japanese dining establishments).

 

TUJ-Azabu Hall Sign-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Terrell Nowlin: Sophomore at TUJ Major: Finance Aspirations: To build his successful empire starting as an entrepreneur

One of the main reasons I came to Japan was because my friend Terrell (whom I had met back at Main Campus) was going to be attending TUJ at the same time as me. We became good friends back on the mainland, and felt it was time to take over Japan! As you can see, he was very excited to finally find Azabu hall (I thought we were going to get lost…)

 

Akihabara-Navigating the Maze-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Terrell and I navigating the maze that comprises the Tokyo Metro/JR system

 

Akihabara-Excited for Aki-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

What better way to announce your arrival into Akihabara than to strike a power pose?

 

Get used to seeing Terrell, because he’s going to be in a lot of my pictures this fall. At least his mug isn’t too bad…. just kidding! Hahahahah! We had to go to Akihabara because I was in need of a router. There’s not many photos right now of it because it was just an errand run, but from the small amount of time we spent there and the atmosphere, I get the feeling we’ll be returning to the capital of anime very soon…

Yoyogi Park-Festival dancers with fans-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

During the Super Yosakoi festival, dancers perform on stages (depicted) or by parading through the streets!

Yoyogi Park-Festival crowd-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Tokyo in one word: crowded Tokyo Festivals in one word: GIANTPARTYBONANZA!!!!!! 🙂

Yoyogi Park-Festival dancer close up -Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Focusing intently on the next move, all of the dancers must have supreme concentration and superb memory to remember all of the steps of the parade dance, lest they wish to trip up their comrade coming towards them from behind!

While we did try to attend the picnic set up by Temple, instead we got lost in Yoyogi park. Luckily, there was a festival nearby and we immersed ourselves in Yakitori from the stalls and enjoyed watching traditional dancing. We later found out that what we had witnessed was the Super Yosakoi, a giant festival endorsing the traditional Yosakoi dance featuring about 100 different teams of dancers each year. Highly recommend attending if you want to get into the festival scene within your first couple weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

Roppongi-Softbank robot, hello-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

“Moshi moshi? How can I help you?”

Minatoku-Greenspace park sign-Michael Kent-TUJFL2015

Green spaces are like little Eden’s in the cityscape, providing hardworking Japanese business people to get away from the daily toils of life.

The rest of the week comprised of gathering a cell phone and visiting numerous little parks in the Minato area. More on the cell phone later, but as a teaser, I’ll leave this photo of a REAL LIFE ASSISTING ROBOT right here for you. And if that’s not cool enough for you to come back next week, then I don’t know what is. I mean, I know this isn’t Optimus Prime, but still…

 

Till next time,

Michael V Kent

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