My name is Pablo Cisneros and welcome to part two of my series of blogs from studying abroad in Tokyo. I want to highlight my favorite experiences from Japan and inspire students to study abroad.
New Japan Pro-Wresting
During my stay in Tokyo, I went to my first Japanese pro-wrestling event. It was New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) presenting the Best of the Super Juniors (BOSJ). NJPW is Japan’s biggest pro-wrestling promotion and is known for its hard-hitting style known as Strong Style. The difference between pro-wrestling in the United States and Japan is that the US focuses on the entertainment aspect, while Japan focuses on in-ring performance. The Best of the Super Juniors is an annual tournament for their Junior Heavyweight division. I was lucky to get tickets to the climax of this tournament. I saw my favorite NJPW stars like Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tetsuya Naito, and more. The event was headlined by the BOSJ final: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi. They had an incredible bout that exemplified the high quality of NJPW matches. Although I was cheering for Takagi, I was happy to see Ospreay win and celebrate his victory. The event being held at the famous Ryōgoku Sumo Hall made it special for me. One of my favorite things about going to this event was that attendees were allowed to bring food and beverages from outside. This was different from going to events in the US, where you are forced to purchase overpriced concessions at the venue. I loved observing the differences between Japanese and American pro-wrestling fans. One of the differences that I noticed was that Japanese fans are quieter and clap often during a match. My first NJPW show was amazing, and a dream come true. Congratulations to Will Osprey, winner of the BOSJ 26!
Return to Ehime
In 2017, I was fortunate to take part in the College of Lake County’s Study Abroad Program in Japan. It was my first time in Japan, and I studied at Ehime University in Matsuyama. I loved my experience there because of the many friends and memories I made.
When I found out I was going to return to Japan, I made sure to make time to visit Matsuyama. Making this trip back to my “Japanese hometown” was a new experience because it was my first time going on a domestic flight in Japan. After taking a train from Shinjuku to Narita Airport and a delayed flight to Ehime, I arrived at Matsuyama Airport. My friend, Yuka, picked me up from the airport and let me stay with her for the weekend. Her family kindly welcomed me into their home, and we got to know each other over dinner. The next day, Yuka and I went on a day trip to Imabari, Ehime, and went to the Towel Museum of Art. It highlighted the towel making process and had interesting exhibits. Later that day, we met up with my friend and his sister from back home, Vins and Shane. Along with Yuka’s family, we went to a bathhouse. Since I have tattoos, Yuka’s family was thoughtful and found a tattoo-friendly bathhouse in the area. We ended that night eating ice cream and drinking milk after our bath. On my last day in Ehime, we had breakfast and went to Matsuyama Castle - one of my favorite places in Ehime. The view from the top of the castle is breathtaking as you can see the whole city from there. Afterward, Yuka gave me a ride to the airport, and I was on my way back to Tokyo. One day, I hope to return for a longer time to reconnect with old friends and discover new places. I’m thankful for the hospitality and kindness from Yuka and her family. They made my stay in Ehime much more enjoyable and unforgettable.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>I am a Marketing student who transferred from the College of Lake County to the University of Illinois at Chicago. I have a passion for art, music, and learning Japanese. My hobbies include video editing, playing guitar, playing video games, watching pro-wrestling, reading manga, and going to concerts. My favorite bands are Dance Gavin Dance and Rage Against the Machine. My favorite pro-wrestlers are Kenny Omega and Pentagon Jr. Finally, my favorite manga is One Piece.</p>