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Journals from Kanto Gakuin University, Japan

2013-11-11 Harajuku and School Clubs

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Friends via windsurfing and wetsuits

As classes progress, it's become more difficult to go on excursions to new places around Yokohama , but a few other students and I rolled up our sleeves and planned an afternoon in Harajuku, a famous, quirky district of Tokyo.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very favorable for the first half of the day, with constant rain, cold, and wind. But that wasn't enough to put a damper on our plans, nor anyone else's—the streets were as full as they normally are on a Sunday afternoon in Harajuku, filled with people carrying umbrellas.

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Although I spent several hours there, Harajuku is a place that requires multiple visits in order to get a full experience. By this, I just mean that because Harajuku is a dense, lively area with plenty of charming shops and restaurants tucked away off the main road, it takes time to explore and find quirky places unique to Harajuku.

That week I also attended two different club meetings—KGU's windsurfing club and the archery circle. In Japan, a school "club" is different than a "circle"; the former is more rigorous and competitive, while the latter tends to be more lax in terms of membership and attendance. Both, however, are dedicated and enthusiastic— far more so than, in my experience, school clubs in America generally are. It was therefore all the more special to get to attend their meetings.

I bussed to the beach with a small group of other exchange students and our Japanese buddies on a surprisingly hot day, and had fun meeting the windsurfing club members. After about two hours in the water talking with and learning from various club members, I was able to stand, balance, hold/raise the sail, turn, accelerate, and stop! ....Sure, I was embarrassingly sore on the way back, but never mind that— I successfully learned the basics of windsurfing!

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