My Adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun

UMD Study Abroad Blog



My first impressions of Japan were in Tokyo, since we stayed there for two days before moving into our apartments in Kyoto. Tokyo was crowded and busy with lots of screens, which reminded me of Time Square in New York. Also, of course everyone was speaking Japanese, which was a little disorienting at first. Tokyo’s atmosphere was overwhelming for me, but fortunately Kyoto is much less busy. Kyoto has an interesting mix of old-fashioned and modern architecture. Japan does seem to have a certain smell about it, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. My best guess is that it smells like green tea. The weather is really hot here, which makes walking more exhausting. Thunderstorms seem to be pretty common here, and it has rained a few times. 

Vending machines are everywhere here, but so far I have only seen ones that sell drinks. Reflecting on this while I walked to school, I thought that they may have vending machines on every corner to prevent dehydration. Considering the fact that so many Japanese people seem to walk or ride their bike instead of driving around, having drinks readily available everywhere is a smart and healthy decision.

My apartment is small and simple, but it works perfectly for my needs. I worry that I may not be able to figure out how to work the washing machine. Another concern of mine is that I will not separate my trash correctly, as it is a complicated process here. Paper and cardboard, plastic, bottles and combustible trash/food trash are the categories which all trash must be separated into.

The university I am attending seems okay so far, though I am not quite used to getting there or navigating the campus itself yet. The International Affairs Office staff and NINJA cast are very helpful though, which makes me believe that I will be able to get help with my studies if I need it. Considering how little Japanese I know, I foresee myself needing assistance at some point. 


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