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Journals from Kanto Gakuin University, Japan

2010-09-10 Hi from Japan!!

Hi everyone! We arrived in Japan on the 26th (due to the time difference we actually arrived on the 27th and lost almost a whole day!) and we have all been getting used to the new culture, language, and foods here! I think the biggest thing everyone is trying to get used to is the outrageous heat + humidity combo. Stepping outside is like walking into a sauna, and it really does sap the energy right out of you. However, it's hard to get too down about the weather when you're only five minutes away from an absolutely gorgeous beach and seconds away from new shops and new experiences! There are 11 students from America (9 from Linfield, 1 from Arkansas, and 1 from Minnesota), and one of the nicest things about this trip is the fact that we all get along and are eager to help each other out in speaking and learning new things. We have a Japanese language placement test on Wednesday that we are all somewhat dreading, because it means our mini vacation (explained in more detail in a bit) will come to an end. On the other hand, it's going to be exciting to start school and learning from a new perspective. All right, on to the fun stuff! > When we arrived at the Narita airport, our buddies were all lined up waiting for us with super cute signs. After meeting and greeting, we took some pictures (of course) and got on a bus for a two and a half hour ride to the Hayama Seminar House. Typical, after flying for a whole day, we get to go right back to sitting! It was fun being able to talk to the buddies more, but most of us were pretty tired and somewhat disoriented from the time difference. We stopped once at a "mall" to get some food and stretch our legs, but once we arrived at the Seminar House, we basically moved our luggage into our rooms and promptly went to bed. The next day, we met with our buddies again for orientation and some more meeting and greeting, and after getting our alien registration cards, we got to walk around and sightsee around our dorm building. Yesterday we got to go in to Yokohama and do lots of fun tourist things (like visit China Town!) and buy clothes and stuff for school. We seriously walked for a good nine hours, and by the time we got back to our rooms, we were all more than ready to be off our feet. Our buddies were extremely helpful in helping us ride the buses for the first time, as well as (somewhat) figure out the trains - for someone who has never really used public transit (thanks, Central Oregon!), all the different train lines were pretty confusing and seemed really crazy. The trains were a lot of fun, but at night when we rode home, they were so crowded everyone had to pack tightly together. We called it "bonding." :) There are so many different styles around here! I have had so much fun reading shirts and store names (Tomorrowland, Portland, WITCHERY NAILS!!!) and basically just staring down everything I see. There is so much to see and do! Today we are heading to Kamakura, where there is supposedly an extremely large Buddha! Definitely going to wear comfortable shoes (NOT flip flops..) and take pictures, which I will be sure to post soon! Sorry this is pretty short; the buddies have been doing a great job of keeping us busy these first few days, so we are on our feet and out of here! :) Kelli Brooks

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