This bulk of this trip is a study abroad program that I'm doing through the University of Utah. The Japanese school is called Shitennoji. There is a map at the top of that page I just linked. It is wrong. This is a bird's eye view of the school:
|Image from Google|
The point of the program is "Intensive Japanese Language." I know my Japanese pretty well, but I think that what I really need is some immersion. Somebody learning Spanish in America can just about do anything in Spanish, and every other person you meet already knows it. With Japanese, you are hard-pressed to find a single person willing to speak Japanese, and forget about finding any text.
I guess my main goal is to become better at speaking. I am bad at speaking. Beyond that it's mostly just a desire to see and experience Japan itself.
Shitennoji is in the Kansai region, near Osaka and Kyoto. According to the first orientation meeting, I will be taking classes, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 and 12:30. The rest of the time is free time, supposedly. There are going to optional guided field trips on the weekends, which I plan to pick and choose. I hope they aren't going to make me feel obligated to go when I would rather go do something on my own, because I want to do that a couple of times.
I am going to use these 6 weeks or so to familiarize myself with everything and to learn how to get around. It's all in preparation for the second part of my adventure.
Once the program is over on July 12th, I will be checking out of Wakoryo and saying goodbye to all of my classmates. Then, I will be taking the Shinkansen (Bullet train) northeast and finding my way to a little little hostel called the Khaosan Ninja.
|Image from Google|
The places I want to go in Japan are way too plentiful to list, but here are a few I hope to visit.
Toyosato Elementary School
A school which is no longer used, but has become a tourist attraction due to it being used as a model for the high school in K-On!. I am a pretty big fan of K-On!, so I feel compelled to go there.
A gamer's paradise. They sell all kinds of old school systems and cartridges. There's one in Akihabara, but there's also one in Osaka, so I may get to see it earlier!
An anime and manga superstore. It seems like the name of this store would be much more fitting for Super Potato, but hey, who am I to judge?
There are supposedly cosplayers hanging out here all of the time. Would be pretty cool to see.
Of all the temples in Kyoto, this is the one I'd most like to visit. If we go there on one of the field trips, I'm definitely in.
This is another one of several places where I might find myself going just to see the real version of an anime setting. In this case, Lucky Star. I'm not so big on that anime, and this one's kind of out of the way, though, so I might pass.
If you have suggestions as to where I should go, you now know what areas I'll be in, so let me know and maybe I'll go there too. I want to take pictures and make this everyone's vacation, not just mine.