Photos by Rina Lindenmayer, (Soka University of America) Student Correspondent CET Japan, Fall 2017
I was fortunately able to visit Hakodate, Hokkaido on a personal trip for a few days. Hakodate is a coastal city on the southern part of Hokkaido, its roots beginning as an Ainu fishing village, and is famous for its sea cuisine. Pictured in the distance is Mount Hakodate, a popular hiking destination for the beautiful night view from the summit.
The CET study abroad students participated in the annual Osaka Gakuin University school festival, also known as the Kishibe-sai. We set up a hot dog tent amidst the rainy typhoon weather and served both american and “japanese-style” (curry powder mixed into the sautéed onions and peppers) hot dogs.
Kankaku Piero, a famous Japanese rock band, held a concert at the Kishibe-sai–the CET students were able to get in for free!
A group of CET students and roommates went to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. The aquarium is huge, with multiple floors and a variety of mostly sea as well as land creatures, such as a Capybara. It took a few hours to get through the whole building, and we were able to watch many animals’ feeding times, when explanations of their characteristics and abilities were presented to the crowd. There is even a room where visitors are encouraged to reach down into a shallow pool to touch sting rays and small sharks! Pictured is myself posing inside the mouth of a statue of Jinbei-san, a whale shark, which the Kaiyukan is famous for.
A group of CET students took a day trip to Nara, where we visited multiple temples and the famous deer park. Visitors can buy deer crackers, or shika senbei, to feed to the deer. A popular activity for tourists is to bow to some of the deer, and many of them have learned that if they bow back they receive the coveted treat. Be warned: some of the deer may try to jump on top of you if they get too impatient, or even butt their heads against you. However, the antlers of the stags are taken off so there if little chance of getting hurt. It is best not to tease them with the food!
There are many stray cats throughout Japan. Many of them don’t seek human contact, but some of them are fairly friendly. This cat is well known by the OGU students for hanging around outside of the nearby 7-Eleven. It’s gender is a mystery (at least to me), but I’ve heard some people call it Yuuko. I myself call it Hige-chan, on account of its long whiskers.
CET students and roommates went on a 2-day-1-night trip to Hiroshima. We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum, which exhibited the history behind the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that ended World War II. Visitors quietly and somberly read captions, viewed pictures, and watched videos as they made their way through the museum. Afterwards, we walked to the Genbaku-Dome, or the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, to see ruin that memorialized the 70,000 people killed from the bombing and the other 70,000 who suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.
During our trip to Hiroshima, we stayed at a Japanese-style ryokan , or inn, with tatami floors and even an onsen! Many of us played board and card games late into the night in the spacious playroom, snacking and chatting with our roommates and fellow CET peers. The ryokan was situated in a mountain, with an incredible view of the misty city and colorful autumn mountains in the early morning.
On our last day in Hiroshima, we took a ferry to Miyajima (also known as Itsukushima) to visit the many shrines on the island. it’s most famous shrine is the Itsukushima Shrine, known for its elegant and dramatic torii, or gate, located a bit offshore from where the main shrine is. The shrine itself is built on pier-like structures, making it appear as though it is floating on the water.