Group photo in front of the Kofukuji pagoda at Nara Park
I'm sure any anime lover has always dreamed of going to Japan, the birthplace of all anime and manga, at least once. Well, that dream finally came true for me in the summer of 2006; I participated in an international education extension program from the University of California Riverside(UCR) and their sister university in Kyoto, Japan, Kyoto Sangyo University(KSU). Me and seven other California students interested in Japanese(three of which have been going to the same college I go to) spent a month from June 16th to July 16th in Kyoto studying the Japanese language at KSU. It was very rigorous but worthwhile studying...we went through three semesters' worth of Japanese material in a month(Japanese 4, 5, and 6.) But in spite of all the work we had to do, the program provided us with other excellent activities; we took many fun day trips around the Kansai area, went off on our own for shopping and entertainment, had nice accommodations at the university dorms, as well as many other fun on-campus activities and events. It was definitely one of the best months of my life. Although I still have a long way to go as far as being fluent in Japanese, I learned a whole lot while I was there. I also met many nice people, saw a lot of pretty and interesting places, and just plain enjoyed myself ^_^ The only bad thing? I didn't want to leave! A month really wasn't enough time to do everything I wanted to do, but the main reason I didn't want to leave was because I grew to love the country so much and I wanted to stay and enhance my Japanese skills even more. But I'll always carry this eventful experience with me and hopefully I will be able to return to the Land of the Rising Sun once again(and perhaps even live there?)
Well, if you're interested in reading about and seeing pictures of everything I did on my trip, click the links below and enjoy ^^ I took over 300 photos while I was there, but I couldn't post that many on the site, so I picked out the best ones(which wasn't easy!) Most of the photos were taken by me, but some were taken by my friend Douglas, who also participated in the program(his photos are credited with a "dpk" in the lower right corner. You can also see his web page with all his photos and journal entries here.) Anyway, for those of you who've never been to Japan, I hope these photos(along with my commentary) give you a nice idea of what a beautiful and fascinating country it is ^_^
Class, Campus, and Activities: Here you'll find photos and info about everything we did at the KSU campus and International House. There was much more going on than just studying ^^ You can see photos of our dorm, the room I stayed in, the campus grounds, classrooms, and the many fun parties and activites we had.
Day Trips and Other Places: And here you'll find photos and info about the places we went to off campus. We took a lot of day trips to shopping areas and big tourist attractions around Kansai. Temples, shrines, beautiful forests and mountains, as well as city crowds, narrow streets, and traffic...Japan's got it all ^_^
Also, you can see some videos of my trip on my YouTube channel here.
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