Konnichiwa all you blog readers out there. My name is Amber Demery and I'm participating in CIEE's Japan 2011 summer study abroad session. Although we've all been here for about 2 weeks now, I'm just beginning my blog so I figure I'll introduce myself and my reasons for coming to Japan.
I am currently a senior at Howard University in Washington, DC; originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I'm a psychology major with a sort of double-minor in chemistry and administration of justice, also known as criminology. My language of study is, of course, Japanese.
Like most members of this summer group, I am a complete nerd, especially when it comes to things Japanese. From a young age I've been interested, and from an older age I've been obsessed with visiting. Having a study abroad experience in Japan was actually a goal I set for myself before I entered college. And since my school demands all students complete their last year of study in-house, I knew I had to get to Japan this summer or it might never happen.
Luckily, it did. And I'm here now experiecing student life and gaining a cultural experience unlike anything else.
Upon arrival, CIEE allowed us a very rare experience by taking us on a tour of cities in the Japanese countryside before settling us in Tokyo. We were able to experience an onsen, tatami mat flooring & futon sleeping, and learn the history of the towns we visited before we even experienced Tokyo. Not only did this allow us to make comparisons, but it was also enjoyable. It may have also saved us from committing the gaijin fallacy of assuming Tokyo is Japan. It is in Japan, but it's not all there is of Japan. Although, there is a lot to experience in Tokyo alone.
This blog will mainly focus on that: what I experience in Tokyo and the surrounding areas during my month abroad. Much of it will be good, but some of it may not be. Yet maybe it will encourage you to experience it for yourself. I will say this, even after being here for a couple of weeks, the good of this trip is still far outweighing the bad.