Japan

The view from the guard tower hill
A few things I’ve learned about Japan and spring: Japan has a lot of flowers They bloom beautifully If you don’t have hay fever when you get to Japan, you might have it when you leave.

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The Makuhari-hongo International Dorm BBQ
I’m sure many of you have heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers,” but in Japan, the rainy season is a bit longer. The name for the rainy, damp season is tsuyu. Fancy.

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Ohanami with friends
Hello Iowa! As you guys are finishing up your spring semester, ours is only just beginning! I’ve had some time to adjust to my class schedule and homework load since March, and it’s definitely been an enjoyable journey. Class registration happened earlier this month, so everyone’s schedules have been finalized.

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Welcome to Kanda! (featuring me, Mette, Nerissa, Karina, and Lorena)
Hello from Makuhari-hongo International Dormitory in Chiba, Japan! Spring has arrived, marking the start of a new semester at Kanda University of International Studies. When the cherry blossoms opened to welcome the sunshine, they also welcomed planes from all over the world at Narita Airport in Tokyo, dropping off students for the Bekka Program here at KUIS!

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I’m so happy to be writing this because it’s about one of the highest of highlights from my experiences thus far: my first festival in Japan. More specifically, what happened during my first festival in Japan.

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Having been in Nagoya for a little less than 2 months now, it’s safe to say I’ve gotten into the swing of things. Of course it’s taken a few weeks and a lot of mistakes, but I was expecting that.

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Travel anxiety is not a recent development of mine. Of course, I call it “travel anxiety” because I don’t know what else to call it, and it’s difficult to pin with words

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Gwendolyn Gillson square
Gillson’s research will focus on how Japanese women use Pure Land Buddhism in their day-to-day lives. Her dissertation is titled “Women Creating the Pure Land: Socially Engaged Buddhism in Japan’s Jodo Sect.” She will be a visiting researcher at Bukkyo University.

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Kasuga-san with Iowa class ring at International House
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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