The Study Abroad Newsletter

Ookina from Fukuoka

Lauren Mizuba

Linguistics major
Seinan Gakuin University, Japan

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, JapanFushimi Inari Shrine Ookini! In the ten months I spent in Japan, I experienced so many first’s. It was my first time living in a big city, my first time traveling on my own, my first time living on my own, my first time in a different country, and so on. It was an incredible and overwhelming experience. I never wanted to leave! I was able to travel to different places in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima. I even went to Saipan, since it's a mere three hour plane ride, which is something I’ve never said about a plane ride. I made so many friends from all over the world! I also really enjoyed my Japanese language, kanji, and culture classes, especially those that focused on calligraphy and Japanese literature.

One of my favorite memories was going to Kyoto last September. It was a field trip for the international students and I spent most of the morning of our second day hiking up the mountain of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous for the 10,000 torii, or gates, that line the path that leads to the top of the mountain. Because it was early in the morning, there was no one around and I was able to get dozens of pictures of torii with no one else in the picture. However, I only got half of the way to the top because I didn’t have all day to climb a mountain!

Student posing in front of a posterLauren Mizuba and friends at the Fukuoka Tower, Japan My other favorite memory was when my family came to visit me in Fukuoka! We went to Fukuoka Tower, the tallest seaside tower in Japan, the local baseball stadium and watched the SoftBank Hawks defeat the Hiroshima Carps! The next day, we travelled to Huis Ten Bosch, a replica of the actual town in the Netherlands! The flowers were beautiful and there were so many trees! But, I was just happy to see my family again.

As my time in Japan came to an end, I thought about the experiences that I had, of the knowledge I gained, and of how much I learned about Japanese culture and language. I still can’t believe I was given this opportunity! Thank you to everyone who made this happen. I hope your experience will be as amazing as mine!