Home At Last

Anh Nguyen
June 3, 2014

After Nanzan’s graduation ceremony, I travelled around Japan with my mother and her friends before returning to my home country Vietnam. It was fun visiting places I have never been before, like Tokyo and Hakone, and revisiting places for what might be my last time there.

The Kaminarimon in Tokyo.

A display inside the Edo-Tokyo museum.

Japanese crepe!

The roses in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

My first Eki-ben (boxed lunch you can buy at train stations to eat on the train).

View from the Hakone Detached Palace in Hakone. It was very cloudy that day so we could not see Mt. Fuji!

The ship that took us across Ashi No Ko Lake in Hakone.

Another shot of Ashi no Ko Lake.

Japanese breakfast at the hotel in Hakone! (There was miso soup on the side too)

We also made a brief stop at Nagoya, and came back to visit my host family. I fortunately had the time to rush to the subway station and take photos of the platform and the train, my daily life in the past five months.

It was very amusing during the trip to compare what captured my interest with what captured my mother’s. They were often radically different, and unsurprisingly so since I have been in Japan for 5 months and her for the first time. Through my mother I noticed the little habits I have unconsciously picked up during my time here (I was surprised at my mother for insisting to eat bread instead of rice for breakfast, then I remembered that we never had rice for breakfast at all in Vietnam), and was able to see how different I was compared to when I left for Japan. Seeing Japan through my mother’s comments, too, helped me to appreciate Japan in a different light, and to understand my own home country better. I understood more and more the value of studying abroad: compared to just touring Japan, we got to live with the locals, and we got to travel with Japanese IES Abroad staff who taught us many valuable things, from Japan’s history and values to how to properly eat the food at dinners in Japanese inns. I am so happy to have been given the chance to get to know Japan more intimately, and to come home in the knowledge that these past few months have changed me for the better!

Cookbooks I bought from Japan! I will use these next semester when I will start to have to cook for myself in college.


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Anh Nguyen

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Anh hailed from Hanoi, Vietnam and is currently a sophomore at Haverford College, Pennsylvania. She plans to major in Computer Science, but decided to take a non-CompSci semester abroad before coming back to it in her junior year (after all, when else will she get the chance?). In her free time she enjoys reading, exploring new places and new types of food, people-watching, as well as reading food blogs, planning to make every single dish that catches her eye, and then completely forgetting about them. She is as excited to blog about her journey as she is about her Spring semester in Nagoya!</span></div>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Haverford College
Computer Science
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