The Study Abroad Newsletter

A Year Abroad in Tokyo

Kaimana Banagan-Brock

Japanese Studies major
Tokyo Gakugei University

Kaimana posing in a kimonoMy name is Kaimana Banagan-Brock and I attended the Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan as an ISEP student. I am a Japanese studies major at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Throughout my year abroad, I was able to meet many Japanese and international friends. We went on many adventures together exploring Tokyo and made unforgettable (and sometimes embarrassing) memories during our time abroad. Living in the International Student Dormitory Association of Kodaira (ISDAK) wasalso a great experience. There are many students from all over the world, as well as many Japanese students, who live there. Through the events that ISDAK held throughout the year, I was able to meet many people and experience Tokyo and Japanese culture.

Student having a group meal

Posing in kimonos

Whole class posing for pictureOne of my favorite things that I did in Japan was participating in the kimono workshop. It was held at Gakugei for the exchange students. Prior to the workshop, I had only ever worn yukata, so I was excited to try on a kimono. I was grateful for everyone who had volunteered to help with the workshop, as it took a lot of time for all of us to get our hair and make-up done and to get dressed. Luckily for us, the workshop also included a little photo shoot. It was kind of awkward having to pose, but it was a very fun and enjoyable experience. It was also nice because the workshop was during Sakura season!