I've been losing track of all this time I've been in Japan. First a week in Ibaraki, then some time with IES Abroad in Nagoya, and finally my first full week at Nanzan University. It's been incredibly busy and incredibly fun being here in Japan, and the program at Nanzan University is really impressing me with not only the magnitude of learning material, but all the trips and experiences offered to students. My main reason for staying in Japan is to bring my understanding and speaking levels of Japanese up to the point where I can comfortably talk with others in the language. This can be achieved through the classroom enivronment, but mostly through contact with native speakers, which is my favorite thing at Nanzan. There is a room in the university called the "Japan Plaza", where Japanese speaking students will go to meet foreign students and help their Japanese by speaking with them. I've been going there every day after class and it's amazing how much I can feel myself progressing with the language. It's also been a great way of making some great friends!
Aside from the academics, it seems to me that there is always a lot going on in Japan. Last week I visited a local shrine called "Atsuta Shrine" for its annual "Atsuta Festival" where there were all sorts of foods, performances and events, ending in a beautiful hour long firework display.
On that very same weekend there was a sports festival between Nanzan University and it's rival school Sophia University. The event had a huge array of sports like volleyball all the way to things I wouldn't expect from Japan, like Lacrosse!
Every day has been full of interesting activities and great people. During my times at the Japan Plaza during the week I had made some friends who took me to a popular outdoor shopping district today called Osu Kannon, and then to an ice skating rink. Osu Kannon was full of a lot of interesting shops and delicious food stands, but my favorite moment from the day was when we went to a Game Center, which is essentially an arcade. As a person who likes video games, I was very excited to see what Japanese game centers were all about, and I was not let down at all. The game center I visited today was bright and lively and had more machines than I could have ever imaged seeing in the States!
All in all, my first week here has been so incredibly busy that I can rarely even find the time to miss home. I can hardly believe this is only just my first week at Nanzan University!
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<p>Hi! I'm Peter Fitzpatrick. I major in New Media Interactive Development and minor in Japanese at Rochester Institute of Technology. I'm going to be spending a few months this summer achieving my dream of visiting Japan by taking part of the Nagoya Summer - Language and Culture program. I'm excited to experience Japan and it's language in a natural setting and meet tons of new people. After the program is over I hope to have a much deeper understanding of the Japanese language. When I'm not programming or brushing up on my Japanese, I'm often playing volleyball or reading some of my favorite manga.</p>