The Study Abroad Newsletter

Different World

Neon Nishimura
Rikkyo University, Japan

My name is Neon Nishimura and I studied at Rikkyo University in Japan as a marketing major. While in Japan, I experienced a whole different environment and culture. I experienced many things but two of those experiences stood out.

Cloud covered mountain

The first experience was when I climbed Mount Fuji. It was a memorable experience in a good and bad way. The good part was that I managed to reach the top and got to see the view looking down. The bad side was that it was extremely hard and I encountered some problems along the way. I did the hike towards the end of summer by myself. I did a bullet hike which means you start at night and reach the summit for sunrise. Within the first hour of my hike, I was getting nauseous from altitude sickness. I decided to continue the hike and stopped at the lodges along the mountain trail. Fast forward four hours … I neared the summit. At this point, I had a huge headache and was extremely cold. All I had was a jacket and jeans on. During the final stretched it started to rain and I could not get my rain poncho out due the amount of people on the narrow trail. Therefore, I got wet and extremely cold. When I reached the summit, it was about an hour and a half to sunrise. I was feeling so sick and so cold I went to the bathroom and lay on the ground shivering and trying to sleep. I didn’t get to sleep due to how cold I was and missed sunrise because when I stood up, I got really dizzy. I did manage to get up later and descend the mountain but I missed sunrise which is why I wanted to go. Despite getting sick, Mt. Fuji was an experience I will never forget.

The second experience was basically the whole month of October. In Japan, October is basically Halloween every weekend. I went to Shibuya every weekend and got to see people dressing up like its Halloween. There were many Halloween parties and events two weeks before Halloween that I went to. I dressed up as a JK (High school girl) for every event I went to. So, I was basically walking around Tokyo every Friday and Saturday night/morning in a skirt. It was so much fun. One of the best experiences I had while in Japan. Just everyone dresses up as anything and no one cares what you dress up as everyone just has fun.

Neon Nishimura and friends in costume at a halloween celebration

I really encourage student to study abroad because it is a once in a lifetime experience. Being immersed in a different culture is extremely fun and you gain so much from just a short time being in another country.

As a tip to anyone who does study abroad, try new things and step outside your comfort zone. They are many things that you can do in that particular country, so I recommend you don’t hold back and do it.