SSIP2018_DAY11.Sat_June30 [2018年06月30日(土)]

CCW 5-6

Rather than having formal courses, the students spent the day out and about. With their Cross Cultural Workshop groups, they ventured into various parts of Tokyo. The topic of study for the CCW course is advertising, so the students looked at different ads throughout the city, some in Harajuku, others on the subway, and some in other diverse locations. With their final presentations approaching (T-minus 9 days!), the students were hard at work!

SSIP2018_DAY10.Fri_June29 [2018年06月29日(金)]

Lecture on Film; Ghibli Museum

For today, the students finally had a chance to reflect on and discuss the film, Tokyo Story, they watched last week. Professor David Cozy led the discussion and provided questions for the students to go over in small groups. The topics ranged from which characters they deemed good and bad, the appeal of the film to Japanese people, and the dynamics of the family–and how it has changed in Japan over the past several decades.


After the lecture, there was a quick lunch break before we rushed over to the Ghibli Museum. Because the museum is very strict, we had to get there by 2:30pm to gain entry, and we made it with 15 minutes to spare! Inside the museum, the students were allowed to freely roam on their own and experience the wonder of Studio Ghibli animation! This included a recreation of the animators’ workspace, a real-life neko (cat) bus, and a short animation made especially for the museum. Only some exited with cute merchandise, but all the students left with lasting memories!

SSIP2018_DAY9.Thur_June28 [2018年06月28日(木)]

Special Lecture on Paris Convention and Global Environmental Problems; Lecture on Kabuki; Lecture on Business Project

While the majority of this day was spent indoors, the lectures brought the students outside of their own worlds.

The first lecture was a special lecture on the Paris Convention and global environmental problems. The students were encouraged to think about international relations, and were reminded of the fact that–although they’ll be going home to various countries–they share the same Earth and, thus, share responsibility for it.

The second lecture was on Japanese Kabuki theater. Lecturer Harumi Higashi introduced the students to one of Japan’s leading traditional performing arts, discussing the dance, beauty, and other aspects of the theater. Kabuki is unique in many ways, including onnagata, the fact that the women characters are also played by men. Higashi-sensei shared videos of a male performer’s transformation into one of the beautiful women in the play, along with videos of the training that the men undergo. Later on in the program, the students will have the opportunity to watch kabuki theater.

The final session, in fact, was not a lecture. The students, in their partnerships with Showa students, presented on the potential tourist destinations they investigated for the business project. The presentations were attended by Locobee representatives, and two pairs of students were awarded prizes for having the best report!


SSIP2018_DAY8.Wed_June27 [2018年06月27日(水)]

Japanese Tea Ceremony; CCW 5-6

Today, we gathered in the tatami mat room used by the tea ceremony club here at Showa. We began with a short lecture about the Japanese tea ceremony by Ash-sensei. Then, everyone took part in a tea ceremony themselves. The interns, aided by a tea ceremony club member, served a small treat to each participant. The treat was a bit too sweet, but at least it was very cute! Once everyone was finished eating, Ito-sensei demonstrated how to make tea for the tea ceremony.



Next, every student had a chance to make their own tea! We soon realized how skilled Ito-sensei truly was when we compared her lightning-quick whisking speed to our own. Some students found the tea to be a little bitter for their tastes, while those more accustomed to the taste of matcha disagreed. The most difficult part about the tea ceremony was constantly sitting in seiza, which is the name for the way Japanese people sit on their legs. Overall, however, it was a very relaxing and interesting experience!


After a nice long lunch break, everyone headed back to the Global Lounge for two more sessions of the Cross-Cultural Workshop!


SSIP2018_DAY7.Tues_June26 [2018年06月26日(火)]

Yukata Experience, Lecture on Japanese Women, Lecture on Japanese Pop Culture

Today was full of exciting Japan Studies sessions! To begin the day, professional kimono/yukata dressers came to Showa. In a traditional Japanese tatami room, the international students chose from a selection of yukata. With some help from Showa students, the kimono dressers transformed each international participant! After the students were dressed, the photo shoot began! Photos were taken in the tatami room and at Showa’s beautiful pond (despite the scorching weather).






After returning to their normal clothing and having a short lunch break, the students had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by Chancellor Mariko Bando. Chancellor Bando shared about the various experiences of women in Japan and the expectations society places on them.

Following this lecture, the students enjoyed a hands-on lecture on Japanese pop culture, given by Lecturer Yu Shigematsu. Shigematsu-sensei shared his extensive knowledge of Japanese manga and anime with the students. To do so, he prepared many video clips and brought in various manga books for the students to pass around.

It was a Tuesday filled with cultural immersion on many levels!

SSIP2018_DAY6.sun_June24 [2018年06月25日(月)]

They enjoyed the homestay!








SSIP2018_DAY5.sat_June23 [2018年06月23日(土)]

CCW 3-4; Homestay

The only classes for today were two sessions of Cross-Cultural Workshop. Ommura-sensei began class with a fun game called “Acchi Muite Hoy.” Two people played rock-paper-scissors, and the victor would point either up, down, left or right while saying “Acchi Muite Hoy!” The other player would guess the direction and try to avoid the direction that the victor will point in by looking a different way. If she looks in the same direction that the victor points in, she loses.


Losers had to file after the person who beat them, so there were soon long lines of students trailing behind the most skilled players. The final matches were especially intense as everybody looked on to see who was the best “Acchi Muite Hoy” player! The victor was awarded with candy corn. After the game, Ommura-sensei dived into discussions about culture.

After the Cross-Cultural Workshop ended, host families began to file into the Global Lounge. The international students were nervous but excited to meet their host families and spend the weekend with them. At first people were a little shy and quiet, but within a few minutes everyone seemed to be having a good time talking to their host family. With all the positive energy in the air from both the students and the host families, they’re sure to have a good homestay!

SSIP2018_DAY4.Fri_June22 [2018年06月22日(金)]

Today, we went to Asakusa! The Showa students met us at Kaminari-mon, the big gate that leads to Sensoji, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Then, we went to Sensoji, and there we split up into 4 groups and each group went to sightsee on their own.



Students went to a variety of places around Asakusa. After leaving Sensoji, some students went to a matcha ice cream shop that had several different levels of matcha, based on how much matcha is in it. Others went to try the red bean paste-filled pastries everywhere on Nakamise-dori (Nakamise Street). Everything seemed to be delicious!

We met back at Kaminari-mon and asked the Asakusa group for the business project to meet back at the gate once more after lunch. Everyone else was dismissed and many of them went to the Tokyo Skytree, which was a 20 minute walk away.

After lunch, Asada-sensei’s Asakusa group students met us at Kaminari-mon and the students went together to complete their business project!

SSIP2018_DAY3.Thur_June21 [2018年06月21日(木)]

Today was the first Japan Studies course of the program. Over the next few weeks, students will take classes on various aspects of Japanese culture, including the roles of Japanese women, Kabuki theater, Japanese religion, and more. We began this Japan Studies curriculum with a course on Japanese calligraphy, led by Lecturer Yoshie Utsugita. Utsugita-sensei taught the class in Japanese, so two of the interns (Jen and Emiri) translated for her. However, the language barrier was of no consequence as she spoke to them with her hands, sharing her well-practiced craft.

After watching a demonstration from Utsugita-sensei, the students had the opportunity to practice calligraphy themselves! Sensei provided a packet of popular kanji for them to choose from, and many Showa students helped them practice the chosen character(s) before putting it on the final shikishi (a harder, more durable surface).








Following their lunch break, the students were introduced to the Business Project. This project, organized by Associate Professor Yuko Asada, is a new addition to SSIP. The international students were each paired with a Showa student and told to investigate and report on a good travel spot in Tokyo. The reports, which included restaurants, matcha and tea spots, and shrines, will then be posted onto Locobee, a Japanese tourism site. Since the purpose of this session was just providing background on the project, so students have yet to begin working on their reports. Stay tuned for later blog posts to see how they will turn out!



SSIP2018_DAY2.Wed_June20 [2018年06月20日(水)]

Today, Nishikawa-sensei gave SSIP participants an overview of the Japanese language! Her students aided the international students as they learned how to do things like write their name in hiragana and katakana, speak basic useful phrases, and introduce themselves. The students learned quickly and had fun practicing their newly learned Japanese skills!


Afterwards, we watched Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story together. The well-known and acclaimed film showed the complex relations between an elderly couple and their adult children. Though the movie is fairly old (released in 1953!), it was an interesting look at Japanese culture.

Lastly, we had our first two sessions of the Cross-Cultural Workshop section of SSIP, led by Ommura-sensei. The international students and Showa students played various icebreakers together. The Global Lounge was filled with laughter as everyone enjoyed the games and learned more about each other. What a great start to the Cross-Cultural Workshop!