Daily Life in Japan

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Macks Koontz
March 12, 2023

When looking into studying abroad, there wasn’t a lot of information I could find about what life would look like on the daily, so I just wanted to give a little overview here!

Obviously this may look different when you are studying here and such, but here is my school schedule each week, so you might know a little of what to expect:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I take an Intensive Japanese class. The first part of the class is from 9:10am to 10:50am. Then, we have a break until 11:05am and the class ends at 12:45pm. I am only in level one, so there’s not an extreme amount of work (I’ve heard higher levels have more to do). Plus, I have learned a lot of the material already from my classes at my home university (UT). But I will say, it is pretty tiring just because it’s so long. The classes are structured more so to where you learn the material outside of class, and then solidify it in class, which I honestly kind of like, especially because it is more of a review for me—but I could see it being overwhelming if you haven’t studied the material before. It was kind of hard for me at first because at UT, the teachers don’t teach in Japanese and they teach pretty much entirely in Japanese here. But I honestly love it now, I think I’ve learned so much merely just because of them doing that. The late policy and attendance policy is really strict, but I genuinely don’t think it’s too much to be able to handle, at least at my level. You also know exactly what to expect/what to do each day because the Canvas is divided into the schedule day by day which I find incredibly helpful.

After that class, I eat some food on campus. I usually go to Lien Cafe or Sweets Magic Lab for lunch (the meals on campus are so good and filling, plus they’re usually never over like ¥800 which is really nice) and eat with friends.

Then, on Mondays I have Japanese Society and Tuesdays I have Japanese Cinema, which are both from 3:30pm-6:10pm. On Fridays, I have Writing for Communication and that is from 3:30pm-5:10pm. Some people take art classes which are really cool, and they’re usually from 1:35pm-3:15pm, but I didn’t sign up for any. Those classes also filled up so quickly that I didn’t really have a chance to get into one—so if you want to get into those, make sure to ask to get into one as quickly as you can! I usually just stay on campus until my next period because my dorm is a 20-minute walk away (and so do people in homestays), but a lot of people who live in the dorm closest to campus (Janssen) go back to their dorm and then come back later because it’s only a 4-minute walk or so to where most of the classes are held.

I don’t have afternoon classes on Thursdays and everyone has Wednesdays off which I love! Altogether, I take 16 credit hours, and I honestly love my classes so much. Society is so interesting and I love the way it is structured—also my professor is literally so amazing, I love him dearly (if you get a chance to meet Robert, tell him I said hi!). Cinema is really fun as well—it is a bit hard for me because I’ve never had to analyze films before, but because I was unfamiliar with it and pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I feel like I’ve learned so much. Writing for Communication is also super interesting. It’s a very small class, but I love it a lot. It pairs well nicely with the material in my language class, and I’ve learned a lot through it. Kondo Sensei is also one of my favorite professors aside from Robert, she is the sweetest ever.

Outside of classes, I love to hang out with friends, especially going to karaoke! Here, for karaoke, you can rent out a whole room for hours at a time, and it’s so much fun. There’s also so many places to go shopping, so I love to do that! Also, I go to the arcade a little bit too often… Hey! I’ve won at the claw machine 13 times though somehow, so that’s good. Probably isn’t helping the problem of coming back though lol. During the Spring semester, most of the time the Japanese students are on break, so we don’t get to see them that often, but we will towards the end of the semester! There are still Japanese people here that I get to hang out with (like my language buddy), but it’s a bit harder to find people since they aren’t on campus, so most of my friends are just the people in my program. There’s not too much homework in my opinion, so I get a lot of time to travel and do a lot of fun stuff. Plus, there are a lot of breaks in the Spring semester, so you get a lot of time to rest/explore Japan. 

Some of my favorite places in Nagoya I would 100% recommend going to is: Nagoya City Science Museum (make sure to go to the planetarium that is in there as well!), the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, the Osu Kannon shopping area, the Ghibli Park, the Loft in Sakae, Nagoya Castle, and Cat Cafe MOCHA. Most of them are extremely cheap and fun as well!

For food (other than the stuff on campus), I normally go to the conbini to get food or go shopping to get something to cook. There are also some really good restaurants here, but I don’t go out to eat too often unless it’s with my friends. However, I did recently discover that they have Uber Eats here, and I’ve been using that a lot (definitely more than I should). Some of my favorite restaurants here are Kushiage Sakaba Nagomiya in Yagoto, Sukiya, Komeda’s Coffee, 卵と私 栄店 in SakaeChika (they have the best omurice). I also love the Yamanaka grocery store. It’s a pretty far walk, but it’s huge and I love it. I also like going to the grocery store in the AEON Mall in Yagoto. My favorite things to get at the 7/11 are the Cheese Naan and the fruit sandwiches.

There’s also just so much stuff to do here and it’s so accessible because of the subway system, there is never really a dull moment. If I’m bored, I can just pick a random station and explore around there.

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Macks Koontz

Hello! My name is Macks and I'm a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Japanese. I love learning, hiking, reading, and playing the guitar/ukulele. Studying abroad is super important to me and I am so very excited to be able to share my journey with other people :)

2023 Spring
Home University:
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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