Hectic, eventful or was it undeniably nerve-wrecking? I must say, the process and planning for my exchange program has been a bit of all of the above. My destination? All the way across the sea, a small country made up of four main islands, the country of Japan. Hi, my name is Roger and I am currently on exchange in Japan. I have been interested in Japan ever since high school, as I first got introduced to the language in year 8. Ever since then I have kept up (kind of) with my Japanese studies as I grew more and more fascinated with its culture, its people, and more than anything else, wishing to visit there someday. When UTS offered me for an opportunity to go on exchange to Japan, how could I say no? So, I started my planning for my exchange, full of anxiety whilst at the same time, excited for whats to come.
I suggest that if you are going to Japan, please get all your documents ready well before the required date, especially if you are going to Meiji University. Two weeks before the required date, UTS International called me and said “Meiji have just asked me if you could get everything done by tomorrow”. Now, at this point I have nothing completed, in fact, I didn’t even think about it very much. Somehow I managed to get everything done by the following Monday and my application was sent off. Meiji University replied after what seemed like years and possibly at the latest time possible, that I got accepted and now I have more paperwork to do (yay!).
After arriving in Japan the first thing I thought was, now where to kill time for a hour or so. Having to check in at Izumi Housing (the best one) sometime between 9 – 3:30, I arrived at Haneda Airport around 5am local time and exited customs around 7am. Since it’s only around 1 hr from Haneda to Izumi Housing, I recommend you to get your flight to Haneda, (if you can of course). Haneda is also closer to all the other housing Meiji University provides, so it is the better choice out of the two airports, Haneda and Narita. I took a taxi since I had a lot of luggage – the first surprise I received in Japan was that the taxi doors are automated!
Izumi Housing is great because you get your own room, toilet and even a small balcony! Its location is close to stations any shops and you’ll never get thirsty! Japan’s streets are filled with vending machines with drinks for around one to two dollars per drink!
Last Saturday I went to Shinjuku and Shibuya, where I saw Godzilla and a shrine. Looking up at Godzilla just takes your breath away. I also stopped by many arcade or game centres, filled with crane machines. In Japan there are pachinkos (gambling machines) with various anime themes and game centres – so you can tell what Japanese people like. I also got to witness a Japanese wedding ceremony at the shrine in Shibuya. Sadly I couldn’t take any photos but it was a great experience.
To conclude, Japan has been a wonderful experience for me, the culture, the people have all been very nice and interesting. Orientation for Meiji will start in two days, so I hope I get to meet new people and practice my Japanese!
Roger Hu 12559567, Bachelor of Global Studies, Meiji University, Japan