Much to my dismay, this fantastic trip to the great country of Japan will soon come to an end. With roughly six days left before I depart, I will have managed to spend half of those days dealing with classes (most of which consists of homework and studying for my Japanese language course and finals). Out of the free time I have had, and the free time I will have after the program ends, I had the most amazing opportunity to explore the rich culture and unique activities that are in Japan. For one of my classes this morning, I was able to go visit one of the few Imperial shrines in Japan, Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to, and the permanent residence of, the war dead who fought on behalf of the Emperor. I also had an opportunity to visit another famous shrine, Meiji Shrine, earlier in my stay on this program.
The one part of Yasukuni Shrine that was most magnificent was the war museum Yushukan. The museum contained a lot of artifacts collected from Japanese history, including swords, kamikaze planes, cannons, art pieces, and portrayed a lot of the history of World War II. For only 500 yen, I was able to circle through 19 full exhibitions and was amazed at each and every one. The shrine grounds also hold many monuments prominent to Japan like the monument of Justice Radha Binod Pal and the statue of Ōmura Masujirō.
During my stay I have been able to enjoy various cuisines ranging from common Japanese specialties like ramen and curry, to American cuisine such as spaghetti. Earlier today I went to a fried rice/ramen/miso soup place that had some of the most amazing fried rice I have ever eaten. They served white rice in the middle of a hot stir fry pan, and cracked eggs around it, and you got to mix it up and cook it right at your table. I also ordered some gyōza and bean sprouts to add to my fried rice. It was absolutely delicious.
Overall, I am very sad to leave, but have been extremely happy with everything I got to experience here in Japan. Everything from the intense language and religion survey classes, to the early morning commuting, it was an experience I will never forget. I hope to be able to do it again. For all of you who may have second thoughts about studying abroad, I would highly suggest you go ahead and take the opportunity, because it really is something special. Keep an open mind on your trip, and enjoy all that it has to offer!