TRAVEL BLOG: Sam Blogs in Japan!

21 Jan

Hello Readers! My name is Sam Mishcon. I’m 21 years old and a junior at UVM. I am a Japanese major with a Russian minor. This blog that you are reading chronicles my current semester abroad in Nagoya, Japan. I chose to write this blog after Sarah Reid, the program coordinator of the Global Village at UVM, asked me if I would be willing to blog with other Global Villagers about our study abroad experiences. Since I had never written a blog before and wanted others to know how it felt to study abroad, I took up the offer. I will be writing once every week about various topics concerning my time here. As I mentioned, I am studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan at Nanzan University (南山大学) through IES. There are about twenty-five other students from around the country in the same program as I am. I chose the program due to the location (in between Kyoto and Tokyo) and the class selection. The first week of the program was dedicated to getting oriented with the country and the customs. This took place in the city of Inuyama, about an hour away north from Nagoya. In this photo accompanying this post, I am standing at Inuyama’s most famous landmark: Inuyama castle. The Japanese consider this as one of four prized castles in all of Japan. The reason for this has to do with the fact that the four castles were not destroyed in World War II and hold historical and aesthetic value over the other castles of Japan. If you ever get the chance to visit Japan, I highly recommend stopping by this city, even if only for one day. I stayed at a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn, with my program during this week. In a Ryokan, you sleep in a room with tatami mats and futons. Of course one can’t wear shoes into the room, and so a small space before the tatami mats is made for placing shoes. Every room includes and Yukata and matching Haori, a kimono-like garment with matching heavy overpiece respectively. I thought about hijacking one from the hotel, but I chose not to. How foolish of me. One of the best experiences at the ryokan was the onsen (温泉). The onsen is a hotspring in which one can “bathe in.” I put the following phrase in quotation marks because, as is mandatory, one washes up before entering the hotspring. There is a place before you enter where you wash your entire body with soap before entering to avoid contaminating the hotspring. I was warned beforehand that the temperature of the water varies between really hot and center-of-the-sun hot. Fortunately, the water temperature here was reasonably hot, but not unbearable. The experience remains as one of the most relaxing things I have done to date. Thank you for reading this week’s installment of my blog. Check in next Sunday for my next one! じゃ、ね!

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