Yonsei Study Abroad

Nathan Kenji Kasai is a fourth generation Japanese American foreign exchange student at Ristumeikan University in Kyoto.  He is studying Japanese and international relations and will be traveling throughout Kyoto and other parts of Japan. He will be staying in Japan for one semester from March until August 2011 and will be writing biweekly articles on his experience.

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Up and Down Mt. Fuji

The Japanese here have a saying, “A wise man climbs Fuji-san once, a fool climbs it twice.” After getting myself and some friends up and down the volcano a few weeks ago, I can definitely understand the saying.

Climbing Mt. Fuji was by far one of the most rewarding things that I have done in Japan, yet it was also one of the most difficult things I have accomplished since coming here.

Our Journey to Mt Fuji started by meeting at the Kyoto central station at eleven on a Saturday morning.  We had discussed taking the two hour Shinkansen ride ...

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And then my professor asked, “What frustrates you about Japan?”

My Japanese professor recently assigned a short essay in which we had to compare life in United States to life in Japan. Specifically, she wanted the paper to focus on things that we found frustrating or did not like in Japan. I was a bit taken aback by the assignment, in that for the most part, I genuinely enjoy life in Japan and it seemed as if anything I wrote would come across complaining about how Japanese life was not American life. There have been times when life has been difficult here, yet that is to be expected anytime a ...

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2 Months In

I’ve been in Japan in for about 2 months and at this point I’ve settled into life pretty well. This experience is going by incredibly quickly and its surreal to think how fast time flies by. In the two months that I have been studying here, I have seen my Japanese improve immensely. Constantly reading Japanese around me and using it every day has been fantastic for my language skills. Speaking Japanese is definitely still a challenge but all in all, I find I can more quickly piece together sentences and comprehend what others are saying. The best ...

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Greetings from Japan!

My name is Nathan Kenji Kasai and I am a Japanese American student studying abroad in Kyoto. I’ve traveled to Japan after studying Japanese for a year and a half both to study the language here and try to learn more about my Japanese heritage. This study abroad experience was over a year in the making, yet despite all the planning, the March earthquake occurred ten days before my departure and seriously made me reconsider coming to here. The earthquake amplified all of the anxieties I had about living in a different country.

My family and I had quite ...

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