Japan

Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Kendall Heitzman, tells the story of Hiroyuki "Larry" Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, '53), a 93-year-old Iowa alum who is bringing alumni together in Tokyo, Japan.

This past summer, after a week of touring the University of Iowa’s study-abroad partner programs in Japan, our delegation joined Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas for an impromptu alumni gathering at a hotel in central Tokyo. We were not sure who would show up on such short notice, but about twenty alums did. The hotel had failed to provide us with any chairs, and I worried about one man in particular, who leaned lightly on a cane and in his self-introduction had mentioned that he was 92. I needn’t have worried; for over three hours, Hiroyuki “Larry” Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, ’53) made his way around the room, introducing himself and eager to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and to hear the latest word from his beloved Iowa.

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Hey Everyone! Well, my semester abroad has come to an end and I am back in the U.S. As much as I miss Nagasaki and all of the new friends I made during my time abroad, it was still great to be home for Christmas with the family. Today, for my last blog, I thought I would tell you a little about the holiday season in Japan and then give some farewell words of wisdom…at least my kind of wisdom.

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Hey Everyone! Well…It’s about that time. I am currently preparing to head back to the U.S. However, before I do, I thought I’d do something a little different and make a video giving you all a tour of where I’ve been living for the last few months, my host parent’s house. I thought you may appreciate it a little more than just a few pictures and me talking about it.

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For those of you who understand the reference in my title, you already know what this blog is going to be about. For those who don’t, it is arguably one of the most famous lines from a very popular show you may have heard of: Dragon Ball Z. That’s right people, today we are going to get nerdy and talk a little bit about something Japan has become extremely famous for worldwide, anime.

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How was your week off for Thanksgiving? I hope you all had a good chance to visit with friends and family and also eat your fill of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and of course, pie. Being here in Japan, I’ve obviously been unable to celebrate in the traditional way. However, throughout the month of November I’ve been keeping myself busy in a few other ways.

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Let me tell you all something. I’ve been here in Japan for a little over two months now. During this time I have seen some amazing things, made some great friends, and had some incredible experiences. But do you know what has really gotten me excited during my time in this wondrous land? If you haven’t been able to guess by the title, it’s the food…the absolutely wonderful food.

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Before I came to Japan, friends and family would always ask me fairly common questions. Because I am missing out on a few holidays back home this year, I usually get this one: “Do they celebrate Halloween in Japan.” Although Halloween is more typically a Western celebrated holiday, the answer is yes.

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As anyone who has visited a foreign country can tell you, they have usually seen a different way of doing things that make them wonder, ‘Why don’t they do that where I’m from?” Therefore, today I thought it would be fun to look back at the things I’ve noticed here in Japan and list some of the smaller things I think would be great to introduce into American society.

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Well, classes officially started last week and my schedule is significantly busier! Today I thought I would tell you a little bit about how classes work here at Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies and some of the things I have been up to with some of my new friends.

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Come celebrate with us as Ms. Sawako Kojima, of the Japan Information Center and Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, presents the Japan Foundation Institutional Project Support Program in Japanese Studies to the University of Iowa.

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