Finally feels like a campus

Since starting college, I encountered the fact that Japan runs on a different system of semesters than the U.S. Conveniently though, Nanzan has a program that works with American college systems. However, the rest of the college is still on their own time except for the area where the international students study.

Because of this difference, there are many times when breaks happen and things don’t overlap so for almost a month the campus has been quiet due to the lack of Japanese students, who were on break.

We have multiple week long breaks for the international students but they are scheduled around graduation and exam time for the Japanese students, so contact has been rare. as a matter of fact, it has not felt like a real college campus to me until today.

Finally, everything is running together and it was the first day of class for them as the new freshman hustled down the street. There was, of course, a few confused looks as a small group of foreigners made their way dodging through the crowd.

Something that I have yet to see in America though, was the kind of welcome that was given. The football team lined up on both sides of the main street leading into the campus and welcomed the freshman with boisterous yelling, despite the rainfall.

Finally, the campus was alive again and beyond the football team were rows of tables promoting clubs.

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Himeji castle

Himeji castle is claimed to be the most visited castle in all of Japan and is classified as a national treasure.  It dates back to 1333 and survived through the Meiji period when it’s destruction was planned but never executed. It then later evaded destruction after being bought, but the new owner realized it would be too costly in labor to tear it all down.

The castle held through firebombings during WWII  while the surrounding area was scorched and was undamaged during the great Hanshin earthquake.

It stands as the largest castle in Japan with an array of feudal era defenses. the architecture of the castle was even designed to give defensive archers more cover during combat without compromising to much vision.

The ghost story in the well states that a  woman was falsely accused of stealing valuable dishes and committed suicide by jumping into the well and drowning. It is said that you can hear her ghostly voice counting plates in the dead of night. For the complete story look up okiku himeji ghost story.

http://ghosts.wikia.com/wiki/Himeji_Castle#

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Honen Matsuri (fertility festival)

The Honen Matsuri is a fertility festival that happens across Japan. the biggest one is held in a city just north of Nagoya called, Komaki.

The festival is held at Tagata Shrine and during the event, the area is filled with various stands selling food and trinkets. Like anyone would expect, some of the vendors played to the theme of the event and sold phallic shaped food and charms.

The main attraction is the almost ten-foot long penis that is hoisted upon men’s shoulders and marched from one shrine to the next. Hundreds of people lined the streets with penis candy in hand as the erect float made frequent stops and was spun fervently.

Once the phallus reached the other shrine and was placed inside, rice cakes were thrown into the crowd from atop a platform.

despite the seemingly X-rated nature of the festival, it is meant for people of all ages as parents brought their children along as well.

There is also women who walk through the crowd and provide, all you can drink Sake.

for more information visit

http://www.tagatajinja.com/pg18.html

link to a video

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Nabana no Sato; A festival of lights

The festival is held through the month of March and features millions of lights and walkways leading through intricate plum blossoms. Despite the rain that showered the event, it was still a sight to behold and even added to the atmosphere.

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Gunpla Expo in Japan. Build your gundam.

Gundam is big in Japan and along with that comes building replica models. Gunpla is a growing trend of buying the kits for anyone’s favorite Gundam, building it and then painting it. Along with any major art-related trend, there is sure to be an expo for it.

The Gunpla Expo travels around Japan throughout the year showcasing the best models built and opening a shop for enthusiasts to buy more.

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Nagoya Port photos

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Photo’s; beautiful and weird Japan

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