I was so lucky to grab the last spot to participate in the University life in Japan (Oceania) programme 2016 in December which hosted by Sonoda Women’s University.
Image: Sonoda Women’s University.
This is one of the best trips in my life so far. I kind of having some Japanese culture contact since young through anime and entertainment. I have been longing to travel to Japan for a long time. I was extremely excited for the long awaited trip when I received the email from David regarding to my successful application!
On the first day of the programme, David (the person in charge) fetched us from Kansai airport to our hotel at Amagasaki. The coach journey from Kansai airport to Hanshin Amagasaki station was so enjoyable due to the excellent scenery and introduction given by David along the way. David brought us to tour around Amagasaki and introduced us some places near our hotel. I can feel the kind hospitality of Japanese from the very first day of the trip. I feel like the living expenses at Japan is similar to Brisbane. However, I was so spoilt with the various options of food and products. On the other side, the size of the accommodation is much smaller if compared to Brisbane. Regarding to the transportation, the train lines there are very confusing so do bring a map with you in case you get lost. The buses are always on time so do arrive early at the bus stop if you can’t take the risk to miss the bus.
Image: The bus and train station near to our hotel.
Sonoda Women’s University doesn’t offer as many courses as QUT so the size of the campus is also much smaller compared to QUT. We don’t have the chance to explore the student accommodation because we were arranged to stay in the hotel nearby the campus during the program.
Image: The student accommodation of Sonoda Women’s University.
I always have the interest to learn Japanese language. I have the chance to learn some basic Japanese language during the cultural exchange programme at Sonoda Women’s University. Even though there is communication problem, however Fujiwara sensei tried her best to make the class become an interesting one for us. Now I am so proud of myself because I am able to introduce myself in Japanese language. The another class I enjoyed a lot is the Japanese crafts. We learnt to make some beautiful Japanese crafts and got to bring it home as well. We got the opportunity to be clad in two types of Kimono and also being introduced about Shinto and tea ceremony. It was an interesting experience indeed to learn about Japanese culture this way. I also got the chance to handmade ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi) and savoured it after that. It tastes so yummy and I am craving for it now.
Image: The group photo with the professor and staffs of International Students Department at Sonoda Women’s University on the first day of the programme.
Image: Having fun during Japanese craft class.
Image: Our very first Kimono experience.
Image: Having been introduced about Shinto by the priest and trying on the red and white kimono.
Image: Ichigo daifuku aka strawberry mochi making lesson conducted by the students.
The two highlights of the short-term program are the visit to primary and junior high school and the homestay at Ojiro. I am so impressed by the friendliness and discipline been cultivated in Japanese since the young age. I had so much fun while spending time with the adorable and polite students. During the homestay at Ojiro, we were so lucky to see the snow. My first snow in life was so beautiful and I will forever remember it in heart. I have been assigned to homestay at a sensei family consists of grandmother, father, mother and two little girls. My host father is a vice-principal of a primary school and my host mother is a primary school teacher at Ojiro. My two little host sisters are studying at their high school and junior high school separately. My host father tried his best to communicate with me in English and introduced me Japanese culture in English as well even though he is not familiar with the language. I got to know more about ‘yukigassen’ (snowball fighting) from him as he is one of the judge for the game. I had wonderful time spending with the family and also the visit to the primary and junior high school at Ojiro. I will definitely plan my visit to Ojiro again whenever there is a chance.
Image: The drama performance by junior high school students.
Image: My host family at Ojiro.
Image: The scenery outside of the house of my host family.
Even though the program schedule is quite packed, we still have the time to do some travelling.
The following photos are the scenery where we managed to arrange the time to travel to.
Photo: Osaka Shinsaibashi.
Image: View taken from Tsutenkaku Tower.
Image: Street view at Kyoto.
Image: Kobe Port Tower.
I am grateful for being one of the members for this cultural exchange programme. This trip gave me so many wonderful cultural exchange experiences. I cherish the rapport relationship we forged among the members and also with the host family. Big thanks to Sonoda Women’s University and the host family for hosting us so well at Japan. And also thanks QUT Global for giving us such a good opportunity to have this type of experience during our university journey. It made this trip possible for me with the bursary provided by QUT.
Image: The group photo taken at our farewell party.
I collaged some small clips during the trip into a video, here is the link for you if you are interested to know more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wptNWklDOKs&feature=youtu.be