SSIP swu summer international program 2018

SSIP2018_DAY17.Mon_July9 [2018年07月11日(水)]

Today was the culmination of all the Cross-Cultural Workshops! Each group presented a few advertisements they had found interesting. They explained what was unique or eye-catching about the ads and analyzed them to suggest what the target audience may have been. It was amazing to see the hard work and teamwork of each group.



Afterwards, we had our Closing Ceremony. Chancellor Mariko Bando gave a speech to kick it off, before we presented each student with a Certificate of Completion. There was also a special recognition for Ommura-sensei and for the interns. Two SSIP participants (Kate Pensak and Erina Gudono) each gave a short speech about their experience this summer.








The farewell party came next. Chancellor Bando gave a toast to start the party and we all mingled with each other. The food was good and the company was better! It seemed that almost nobody could believe that SSIP was finally ending.





One of the interns, Ike, put on the recap video she had been working on for the last few weeks. It featured videos and pictures from the whole program and let us reflect a bit on all that had happened. The video was put together very well and enjoyable to watch. It’ll be nice to keep that video around to look at later on as well!



Finally, we passed the mic around to give each person the chance to speak a few words. Many people cried as they talked about how much fun they had and how other people had done so much for them. It was extremely moving. Even the coldest among us had to fight to hold back tears.


We thought that was the end, but it was not so! That night, almost all the international students along with the interns, Kurakata-san, and a CCW/JS participant met up at McDonald’s to eat Gudetama McFlurries together. It was a nice last moment. We stayed in McDonald’s until they asked us to leave since it was late!

Emiri, one of the interns, passed around earrings (both pierce and clip-on ones) that she had made, making for a great final omiyage for everyone! Even Kurakata-san received a pair. It was a memorable night. I’ll miss everyone.

SSIP2018_DAY16.Sun_July8 [2018年07月10日(火)]

It was an early day for all of us with breakfast starting at 7:00AM in Tomei! We ate together before packing up and cleaning the facilities.


We left around 9:00AM and headed off to Kamakura. The first stop was Kotoku-in, where the Big Buddha (daibutsu) was located. For 20 yen, we could also head inside the Big Buddha. It was interesting to see how the structure was built from the inside, but also extremely hot and humid!

Next, we went to a place called Ajitei, where we were able to enjoy a delicious meal set consisting of chicken and rice, sashimi, tofu cooked in various ways, and shrimp, among other foods. It was fun and delicious.

We got back on the bus to head to a different part of Kamakura. We got off at a point close to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the most important shrine in Kamakura. Tanabata (Star Festival) decorations were everywhere, adding extra flair and beauty to the shrine. Many of us then headed off to Komachi-dori, the main shopping street in Kamakura. There was a matcha ice cream shop that offered several different levels of matcha, just like the location in Asakusa. There was also a delicious crepe store called Kokuriko Crepe. Other than great food, there were various cute stores along the street that sold things varying from clothes to handkerchiefs and souvenirs.


After exploring Kamakura for a while, we headed back to Showa, and then to Kawasaki Daiichi Hotel in Mizonokuchi. The accommodations are very nice and comfortable. The end of the program is approaching!


SSIP2018_DAY15.Sat_July7 [2018年07月09日(月)]

We started the day with a great breakfast in the cafeteria in Tomei Gakurin! Difficult as it was to get up, the breakfast gave us the energy we needed for the day.



Today was a full Cross-Cultural Workshop day! For the first part, students broke up into their groups to work on their presentation together. After lunch, each group had 15 minutes to practice their presentation in front of Ommura-sensei and Yamazaki-san.




Since this was the last chance to put the finishing touches on their project, everyone did their best. The final project presentations will be a sight to behold!



After dinner, we went outside to the parking lot to light fireworks together. It was fun trying the different kinds of sparklers, finding friends, and taking pictures together with them! There were a few big fireworks that created larger and brighter sparks than the others, but the best part truly was the people. What a day!





SSIP2018_DAY14.Fri_July6 [2018年07月06日(金)]

We checked out from the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center for the last time today! Then, we took a bus to the National Theatre to see a kabuki performance. For most of us, it was the first time we were seeing kabuki. Before the performance, the meaning behind certain sounds and movements during kabuki were explained to make it easier for the audience to understand. Luckily, there was an English earphone guide for those of us that did not speak Japanese! After having a kabuki lecture last week, it was interesting to see what the performance was really like. One of the most interesting moments was when 7 extra kabuki actors ran onto the stage to serve as the 7 other heads of the 8-headed serpent villain. We sure didn’t see that coming!

We went back to Showa to eat lunch and grab our belongings before heading off to Tomei Gakurin, Showa’s “off-campus training facility”! The bus ride was almost 2 hours long, but people got in some well-deserved sleep and chatted with everyone else. At Tomei Gakurin, the highlight of the day was dinner. Everyone helped serve each other and said “itadakimasu” before eating. Dessert was served soon after, with a “gochisousama deshita” to follow. Then, everyone helped clean up and put away the dishes. It was amazing to see the teamwork that came from the students!





SSIP2018_DAY13.Wed_July4 [2018年07月04日(水)]

Lecture on Bento & Cooking Class
Cross-Cultural Workshop ⑨⑩

Today, Akiyama-sensei gave a lecture on the history of bento, as well as diving into recent bento developments, like more advanced boxes that can keep food hot for hours. She also talked about different variations of bento, like kyara-ben (character bento). After the lecture, we went into the kitchen to make a Pikachu kyara-ben for ourselves!


There were several different components to the bento. Rice wrapped in egg was used to make the yellow face, 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. We also made octopus-shaped sausage and rabbit-shaped apples for the bento. It was fun to make food together, if a bit difficult! The food wasn’t too bad either.


After a break, we had 2 more sessions of Cross-Cultural Workshop. Instead of working at the usual Global Lounge, students went to a computer room to work on their projects with their group members. It was a fruitful day!


SSIP2018_DAY12.Tues_July3 [2018年07月03日(火)]

Check out from Ohashi Kaikan
Lecture on Religious Views
Lecture on Design
Special Lecture on North Korea, China, US – a Japanese View
Check back in to Olympic Center

The day began with a session on religious views in Japan. Lecturer Yoshimitsu Fujimori provided an overview of the different ways religion may manifest itself in Japan and compared religious beliefs/practices in Japan with those of other countries. This particular lecture was also very interesting for the Showa students, who were able to learn more about how Japan’s religious practices may be viewed from a foreign perspective.

After this lecture, the students moved on to a more hands-on session, a class on Japanese design led by Lecturer Daisuke Ishii. This session was more like a conversation, with dialogue passing between Ishii-sensei and the students. A fun portion of the lecture involved the students drawing whatever image that comes to mind when sensei said a certain word (e.g. “sorrow”). So the students not only learned about the basics of Japanese design, but they also saw how design was already influencing their own perspectives!

The final lecture for the day was a special lecture on North Korea, China, US, and the Japanese perspective on these international relations. It was essentially a Q&A session with Ichiro-Fujisaki, former Japanese Ambassador to the US.

After this day of gaining expert knowledge and discussing their own thoughts, the students were dismissed for the day. When they return, they will get a chance to learn about and make Japanese bento!

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!