Japan: The beginnings

Indiana Christoffersen 
Exchange to Japan
Semester 1, 2018

Japan. Wow. Where to start.
I arrived here 3 months ago and it’s been a whirlwind, adventure packed, difficult experience.

The lead up to coming to Japan was a little bit different for me personally. I left Australia on March the 1st and travelled around America for one month, flying from John F Kennedy airport in New York direct to Tokyo. I have now been away from Australia for 4 months, with one month remaining – a little longer than most one-semester exchange students.
My first impression of Japan was wonder and amazement. The tall buildings, gleaming lights, and endless droves of people. Month one consisted of a lot of paperwork, setting up my room, battling the packed rush hour trains and making great friends with other exchange students.

Classes began and proved to be very different to Australian style university classes. Classes are shorter, 1.5 hours and occur twice a week. They are all lecture styles opposed to lecture and tutorials/workshops like ACU. Japanese language class is the exception occurring 5 mornings a week every week. Most of my days are finished by 12:30 or 3pm leaving the rest of the days free to explore Tokyo city.

Japan has a national holiday called ‘Golden Week’ in which I flew with some friends to Osaka and Kyoto for 4 days. Osaka is known as the food capital of Japan, here i enjoyed my first ever ‘Okonomiyaki’ – a savoury vegetable pancake and ‘Takoyaki’- fried octopus spheres… delicious!!

The highlight of Kyoto was visiting the Fushimi Inari Taishi the famous shrine, over 1300 years old, consists of around ten thousand traditional red Tori’s covering 870,000 square metres. It is colossally large and astonishing to witness.

Overall, Japan thus far has been nothing but wondrous and ever surprising; each week I discover a new town or interesting place I have walked past many times. It could be many lifetimes before you could ever see all of Japan.