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Journals from Rikkyo University

2012-09-05 The start of a new life!

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Hello to all of you who are willing to give up your precious time to read my blog. I will have you know that I appreciate you as well as everyone. 

Let’s start with a proper introduction.

My name is James Rogers. I come from Salem Oregon. My majors are International Relation and Japanese. I would like to think that I am a kind and fun person, but that is up for others to decide. I'll be studying at Rikkyo University for 1 year, mainly focusing on Japanese. Now for Japanese majors there are actually 3 choices. One, obviously, is Rikkyo university in Ikebukuro (Tokyo) Japan. The other two are Aoyama Gakuin in Shibuya (Tokyo) and Doshisha University in Kyoto. To be perfectly honest there is little to no differences in the programs. So why did I choose Rikkyo, you might ask? It came down to the small things. For me Doshisha was out of the question because I like business and observing international interactions and though Kyoto has foreign business happening within its domain it is not as plentiful as in Tokyo. As for Aoyama it came down to the fact that the campus allowed foreign exchange students to study at only the 3rd and 4th year level. Those years are some of the busiest for Japanese students because they are working on getting jobs. Rikkyo, on the other hand, has all 4 years.

So now that my little introduction is done I'd like to tell you about what I have been up to.

I actually arrived in Japan roughly 2 weeks early. My orientation doesn’t start until the 10th of September (classes start on the 22nd... a Saturday) but I have been in Japan since the 21st of August. Getting to Japan was a trip in itself. Since I live in Salem the best route to go is Portland to LA then to Narita (not really the best, but the cheapest). My flight to LA was at 9 A.M. so my mother, grandmother and I all stayed in a hotel overnight and then took a shuttle to the airport. From there I went to LA, had a 4 hour layover followed by a 12 hour flight to Narita. It all was actually pretty easy, but when I arrived in LA I had to walk 5 terminals down from where I arrived and then wait in line for an hour to get my ticket from Singapore Airlines. The flights went really well, though I must stress two things: 1) if you like coffee like I do, don’t drink it! You’ll end up being that weird guy getting up to go to the bathroom ever 30 minutes. 2) Eat a good meal in the morning and bring your own snacks. The reason I stress this is because the flight is long and though they serve you food, it isn’t always good for you. I know i had some digestive issues after arriving, so take caution. Also, avoid sleep. I left at 9 am on the 20th and arrived in Narita at 7pm on the 21st, the whole time in which I did not sleep. I found that I actually didn’t have jetlag the next day. 

At Narita I was met by two lovely friends of mine, Mika and Mizuki. It was a sight I was glad to see. I was tired but they were so happy to see me that it made me happy. It was good they came, because getting out of Narita can be tricky. You can take a train or "limousine bus"... well, actually it’s that simple. It seemed difficult because we actually took a bus to a hotel, stayed the night and then took a train to Gunma where I then stayed for two weeks with Mika and her family. Be aware, though, that it will cost you at least 20 dollars to get to Tokyo from Narita, if not more.

So far I have stayed with my friend Mika and her family for two weeks. Within those two weeks I have been to Karuizawa, which is known for its natural beauty very similar to the Willamette Valley, as well as Izu, which is by the coast. Watch out, though, Japanese families are almost too nice. I have hardly paid for anything which seems like it would be nice but for me it makes me feel bad. They will go out of their way to make you comfortable. I mentioned that I had been eating salad a lot before coming to Japan and that I love coffee, after which I had a salad with every meal and a cup of coffee whenever drinks were being served. I enjoyed it, but I hated feeling like they were going out of their way to make me comfortable. Mika and her mom even came with me yesterday (4th of September) to Shiki (Saitama)  to make sure that I got to my dorm OK (a 2 hour train ride and 15 dollar cost per person one way). But in all I am so happy to have stayed with Mika and her family and now that I am in my dorm all alone I can truly say that I miss them already.

Well, that will be it from me today. My next post will probably include ways to save some money and updating you about school.

Until then, stay healthy as well as happy, because a life that is lived is one that should be enjoyed every moment!

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