SSIP2019_DAY7_Saturday, June 29th [2019年08月06日(火)]

Today was an atypical day as students went outdoors for the sixth and seventh sessions of the Cross-Cultural Workshop. Student met up with their fellow group members in different parts of Tokyo: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and so on at 9:00am to begin their data collection. Since their main topic is the study of advertising strategies and design, the students took photos of different ads throughout the city. They were hard at work for the entirety of their morning and afternoon.


At 3:00pm, students returned back to Showa to meet their host families who had arrived at the Global Lounge to meet the students for the first time. Kurakata-san gave an orientation for the host families and international students to give them an idea of what to expect.

We took photos of the international students and their host families before releasing them to venture off on their own. We can’t wait to hear about the student’s homestay experience when they return on Monday!


SSIP2019_DAY6_Thursday, June 27th [2019年08月06日(火)]

Thursday was a busy day for the international students as their schedules were pretty filled for the day.

First, they arrived at the Global Lounge bright and early for Professor Higashi’s lecture on Kabuki. He introduced the characteristics of kabuki from three viewpoints: the position that it occupies in contemporary Japanese culture, its three main features, and the mutual relationship between the stage and the audience. In about a week, students will watch a live kabuki performance at the National Theatre to watch the art come alive in practice.

Following the lecture, the students left the Global Lounge to walk over to the calligraphy room for their next lecture and activity led by Utsugita-sensei. The students watched in awe as Utsugita-sensei demonstrated the various ways to write 夏 (natsu, meaning “summer”) using different types of script.


After the demonstration, the students had the opportunity to practice calligraphy. They were given a packet of popular kanji (prepared by Utsugita-sensei) where they could choose their favorite kanji to practice with the help of Showa students. After some practice, they wrote their chosen character(s) on the final shikishi (a harder, more durable paper).


The students were released for a brief lunch break before meeting again at the Global Lounge to prepare for the Ghibli Museum visit. We arrived there at 2:20pm, which was only 10 minutes before 2:30pm, the time that the museum required us to get there by in order to gain entry. In the museum, the students were free to go on their own to explore the exhibits that interested them the most. Some spent most of their time in the gift shop looking for a cute souvenir to take home, while others enjoyed walking up and down the spiraling staircase that took them to the very top floor. At the end, we watched a short animation made especially for the museum. We concluded the day with a group photo near the Totoro statue. It was a busy day filled with fun experiences!

SSIP2019_DAY5_Wednesday, June 26th [2019年08月06日(火)]

The international students arrived at the Global Lounge for Professor Fujimori’s lecture on Religious Views. In his lecture, Professor Fujimori gave students an overview of religion and religious practices in contemporary Japan and how people engage in religion in everyday life. Students also had a chance to share a little bit about their own religion or religious practices.

After a nice, long lunch break and some free time, the students returned to the Global Lounge for sessions four and five of their Cross-Cultural Workshops. This time, they worked together in their groups again for the Marshmallow Challenge. Students were provided with tape, a piece of white paper, and spaghetti sticks and were faced with the challenge to create the highest standing tower that could hold a marshmallow at the top. Because the spaghetti sticks were thin and broke easily, the challenge was a difficult one. For this challenge, teamwork and communication became essential as the students worked together to build a free-standing tower that could support the weight of a marshmallow.


SSIP2019_DAY4_Tuesday, June 25th [2019年08月06日(火)]

Today, the students had a lecture on Japanese Pop Culture by Professor Shigematsu. Professor Shigematsu showed a few clips from popular Japanese anime shows, passed around a couple of manga books, and later explained to the students the strategies that the creators of these shows used to draw in the audience’s attention.

Then, Akiyama-sensei gave students a lecture on the history of the bento box. She went into detail about bento box developments, including those that are now able to keep food hot for hours. Students also learned about different kinds of bentos, for example, those that are made in the home are known as tezuki-bento and those sold in stations are called eki-ben.

Following the lecture, the students eagerly put on their aprons, hair caps, and gloves as they entered the kitchen to make their own kyara-ben (character bento). With the help of Showa students, we wrapped rice in egg to make Pikachu’s yellow face, used seaweed for the eyes, nose, and dark part of the ears, ham for the cheeks and mouth, and cheese for the ears and white part of the eyes. The “background” of the bento was filled with octopus-shaped sausages, vegetables, and a rabbit-shaped apple. The students took many photos of their artistic creations and shared them on their social media accounts for their friends and family members to see back home. Although we were all hungry by the time we finished making the bento, some of us felt like our cute Pikachus looked too good to eat especially after putting so much effort into making it. Overall, it was fun to make and enjoy food together!


SSIP2019_DAY3_Monday, June 24th [2019年08月06日(火)]

The students gathered with excitement as they entered the tatami mat room used by the tea ceremony club at Showa. Ash-sensei graciously introduced the history of the Japanese tea ceremony to the international students in his lecture, followed by a question and answer component. With the conclusion of the lecture, the participants rearranged themselves to sit around Ito-sensei and her tea pot to watch her demonstration on making tea for the tea ceremony. Knowing that some students may feel nervous about the tea ceremony because it appeared to be a formal process, both Ash-sensei and Ito-sensei focused on creating a comfortable atmosphere that emphasized learning and experience.

The interns, with the help of a tea ceremony club member, served the confectionaries to each participant. The confectionaries were made from bean paste and had a light, sweet, fruity taste that helped balance out the bitter taste of the matcha. Every student had a chance to make their own tea with the help of Ito-sensei, who was extremely skilled in the tea making process. Students also learned the Japanese way of bowing as a way of saying “thank you” and sitting on their legs, although some found it difficult since they were not used to sitting this way. Overall, the students found the experience to be relaxing and enjoyable.


After the students had lunch, they attended Professor Takao’s lecture on Food Distribution followed by Professor Tamura’s lecture on Design. The international students listened attentively and asked many questions throughout the lectures, with some sharing their own knowledge about the food distribution process and architectural designs from their home countries.

SSIP2019_DAY2_Saturday, June 22nd [2019年08月06日(火)]

The second day of the program began with the first three sessions of the Cross-Cultural workshop. Ommura-sensei and Yagishta-sensei lead the workshops where international students and Showa students partook in various ice-breaker activities that allowed them to get to know more about each other. They played the Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors that included a special twist where the victor would point either up, down, left, or right while saying “Acchi Muite Hoy!” and the other person would have to look in a different direction. They also arranged themselves according to height, birthdays, and waiting times. For the latter half of the day, students gathered into assigned groups to build a tower out of paper and paper only. At the end, Ommura-sensei awarded the winning group with a box of chocolates. Although the icebreakers had a competitive component, the students nevertheless collaborated with each other to help break down language and cultural barriers, thus filling the Global Lounge with laughter and excitement throughout the day. For the third session of the Cross-Cultural Workshop, as students are beginning to get more comfortable with their group members, Yagishta-sensei introduced the project component of the Cross-Cultural Workshop. This year’s theme is Advertisement. With their groups, students will travel around Tokyo to take photos of advertisements that fit their chosen theme and conduct an analysis for the final project. They will also present their findings to the group at the end of the program. We can’t wait to see what their projects will look like!



SSIP2019_DAY1_Friday, June 21st [2019年08月06日(火)]

The international students arrived with the interns at Showa Women’s University from the Olympic Center to begin the very first day of SSIP 2019. There were 15 international students (2 had yet to arrive) and four SSIP interns who arrived at the Global Lounge ready to kick off the Opening Ceremony and a Program Orientation from Kurakata-san. After Kurakata-san gave the students an orientation and an overview of three weeks that they will be spending in Tokyo, the Opening Ceremony began with remarks from President Kaneko. Afterwards, the international students had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the group and share their reasons for choosing to come to Tokyo and participate in SSIP. For many students, it was their first time in Japan. While some expressed their anxieties about being in a foreign country, all students were excited to get to know people from all over the world, immerse themselves in culture that may completely differ from their own, and explore Japan as much as possible.

After the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony, the international students were sorted into four different groups to get ready for a campus tour of Showa’s campus. Several Showa students volunteered as campus tour guides to introduce their school—important locations, histories, and interesting facts–to the international students. It appeared that for many, the beautiful flowers and the scenery of the Showa Koi Pond quickly made the location a favorite spot on campus.


The students returned to the Global Lounge to begin the Welcome Party. The party was kicked off with a toast from President Kaneko, followed by a wonderful performance by the Koto Club. After saying kanpai and itadakimasu as a group, the students were able to enjoy some delicious catered food—ranging from chicken nuggets to a wide variety of sushi and kamaboko. Many engaged in conversations with Showa’s professors who will be leading the lectures for SSIP and the Showa students that they will be taking classes with. The Koto Club graciously offered to stay for the entirety of the event to give students a chance to try playing the koto themselves. It was a great day of many introductions, new experiences, and the start of new friendships.