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Dog Mountain? A small yet beautiful Japanese city

November 12, 2017

The IES Abroad Nagoya program at Nanzan University had its kick-off with a three-day orientation. We stayed at a traditional Japanese inn, called a ryokan, in Inuyama -- a small city north of Nagoya. Inuyama translates to “Dog Mountain.” This orientation exceeded my expectations in several ways. Firstly, I didn’t think I would make such incredible friends so quickly. Within the first day of orientation, I already felt at home though I was in an unfamiliar land. Secondly, we got three-hour Japanese classes each day to review key parts of the language as well as prepare us for the Japanese lifestyle. Having rusty Japanese, those 9 total hours were much needed. Additionally, the activities that IES Abroad had planned for us were rich with history and traditional Japanese culture.

 

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First, we walked around the lush green garden. It was peaceful.

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Next, we visited the tea house called JO-AN.

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A volunteer tour guide explains how to hold and turn the tea bowl when drinking traditional matcha green tea.

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IES Abroad Nagoya students enjoying matcha at the Joan tea house in Inuyama.

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Then, we entered a museum of Japanese wooden puppets called Karakuri ningyo.

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Karakuri puppets are mechanized wooden puppets that date back to the 17th century. It takes multiple people to control the movements of the puppet.

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IES Abroad Nagoya students get a chance to try controlling the puppet. It’s a lot harder than it looks -- good communication with fellow puppeteers is necessary to coordinate the movements.

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An IES Abroad student attempts a traditional Japanese flute.

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A trip to Inuyama Castle calls for silly poses!

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An IES Abroad student peering over the top veranda of Inuyama Castle. It was quite a view.

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At many Japanese shrines and temples, a fountain is available for purifying oneself by pouring water over the hands and mouth with wooden ladles.

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A wall of wishes at the entrance of the Sankou Inari Shrine. A popular Instagram spot among young Japanese women.

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There was so much more I wanted to explore in Inuyama, but we had to go to Nanzan University to start the academic semester. If only I could just continue traveling instead of studying! 

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