<<  December 2016  >>


  1. Career
    1. My One and Only
    2. Interning at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
    3. S. Takata Memorial Research Library and My Research Theme
    4. Building a Career in Japan - Don't let the Japanese people beat you in linguistic skills and cultural comprehension -
    5. 67 years after World War II
    6. What is a life plan? From the National Bar Exam to becoming a painter
    7. Job-hunting experience note -Receiving a job offer from the first-choice company is not a dream-
    8. Job-hunting experience note -Self-analysis is about "Constructing one-self"-
    9. The skill-levels of world-class top talents are extremely high. That is why, in order to compete against the world, ambition and aspiration is necessary.
    10. Japan's passport did not come falling from the skies. Fight now for the respect of the future Japanese.
    11. OECD Internship Report
    12. Settling down in Waseda
    13. Be true to yourself, boldly step forward into the things that excite you!
    14. Job Hunting experience notes
    15. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    16. Using My experiences from Waseda,
    17. Waseda:An everlasting bond
    18. Recent report from Denmark
    19. Submission from WiN member (Recent Report)
    20. Memories of Waseda
    21. My experience at Waseda
    22. My time at Waseda University
    23. Teaching Position at Korea University
  1. Event Reports
    1. C21 Tokyo Challenge
    2. Enjoying a taste of South-East Asia: Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwiches and Milo
    3. Looking Back on the "Go Global Japan" English Presentation Contest
    4. Student Visa Day at the American Embassy
    5. 3rd Place Finish in the "Hong Kong Cup"
    6. Students' Day at the American Embassy
    7. ASIAN STUDENTS ENVIRONMENT PLATFORM 2012: Environmental field studies by students from Japan, China, and Korea
    8. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 2: Non-academic conference learning
    9. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 1: Academic conference learning
    10. The 7th Foreigner's Traditional Japanese Dance Exhibition: Waseda University student performers' questionnaire interview
    11. [Event] Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 at Waseda University - ended in a great success!
  1. Gourmet
    1. What Do You Do With a Major in Ramen?
  1. Others
    1. "Ship for South East Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP)"
    2. Exchange Students from US Reunite at Waseda after 30 years
    3. "Like" WiN on Facebook!
    4. WiN Blog starts
  1. Sports
    1. Learning How "To Think" Through Waseda University's Track & Field
    2. Participating in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
    3. "Participating in the XXV Winter Universiade Games (2011/Erzurum)"
    4. My experience with Waseda's American Football Bukatsu
  1. Study Abroad
    1. Shifting Cultivation and the Challenge of Sustainability in Mopungchuket Village, India
    2. Building the TOMODACHI Generation
    3. Kakehashi Project Report
    4. The Double Degree Program at Peking University
    5. Camping and Snowshoeing in Canada
    6. An Encouragement of two-stages approach to study abroad
    7. Studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia
    8. A new kind of Study Abroad
    9. 14-Day Short term Study Abroad Program in Chowgule College, Goa - "What can I do? What can they do? What can you do?"
    10. From Tsugaru strait to the African highest peak Kilimanjaro
    11. PIANO LINE -Seattle Study Abroad Chronicles-
    12. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    13. What I learned about China through Shanghai Fudan University
    14. Why are those who've experienced study abroad programs a little different? -Full Japanese SILS student reveals the whole story of studying abroad -
    15. China, The Neighboring Country You Do Not Know ~ My Encounter at Peking University ~
    16. Study Abroad Experience Notes
    17. C'est la vie! This is life! Work hard, Play hard.
    18. Study abroad @ Taiwan
    19. Study abroad @ Beijing
  1. Study in Japan
    1. Visiting the Prime Minister's Residene
    2. IPS Summer School 2016: Culture Meets Culture
    3. The World is Smaller than We Think
    4. Waseda Summer 2016
    5. The Opportunity of a Lifetime
    6. Experiencing Village Life at Kijimadaira
    7. A Fantastic Opportunity
    8. A Rewarding Experience
    9. An Amazing Experience
    10. Take Me Wonder by Wonder
    11. I Couldn't Ask for More
    12. Another Kokusaibu Story
    13. SAKURA Exchange Program in Science
    14. I Want to Go Again!
    15. More than Good Sushi
    16. Immersive Experience into the Japanese Culture
    17. 40 Years of Memories in a Photo
    18. Experiencing Everything First Hand
    19. Waseda Summer Session wasn't like any other Summer Camp
    20. Looking Forward to the Past
    21. Weeding a Rice Paddy ~Field Trip to Niigata~
    22. Japan Study Students to Waseda: A message from the class of 1983-84
    23. Developing Medical and Welfare Robots ~The Challenges of Kabe Laboratory, Faculty of Human Sciences~
    24. Recollecting experiences of Exchange Programme at Waseda
    25. Kuroda Kazuo Interview: About Studying in Japan
  1. Volunteer Activity
    1. Taking the first step in volunteering
    2. "Volunteer experience in earthquake-hit area Natori"
    3. "The Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Volunteering"
    4. How my perspective changed through volunteering
    5. Tohoku Volunteer
    6. Great East Japan Earthquake    "Fumbaro East Japan Support Project"


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Blog : Study in Japan

Visiting the Prime Minister's Residene

Name: Bilguun Chuluunbaatar
Nationality:  Mongolia
Status at Waseda University: 1st year, Graduate School of Business and Finance

On December 2nd, 2016 I had the opportunity to participate in a special event held for foreign students by the First Lady of Japan, Mrs. Akie Abe at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. The students invited to participate in this event were MEXT government scholarship students studying at various Japanese Universities who possess a firm command of Japanese. When I heard that only two students would be selected from Waseda I realized that the selection process would be quite competitive, but I decided to give it a shot and fortunately I was accepted as a participant.

The 22 foreign students who participated in this event hailed from 17 different countries and are currently enrolled at universities all across Japan, such as Hokkaido University, Hiroshima University and Kyushu University. Aside from one undergraduate student, the majority of the participants were Master’s and Doctoral students pursuing a wide variety of research here in Japan.


The event hall before the opening speech

The event began with some warm words of welcome from Mrs. Abe. Mrs. Abe spoke in a very understated and friendly manner which I found to be quite engaging. In her speech, the First Lady mentioned that as the wife of the Prime Minister she often traveled to foreign countries and was told by many people from around the world about how much they loved Japan. Such comments made her curious to meet with those students who had chosen Japan out of all the countries in the world to study in.



After that, each student gave a short self-introduction and described their various research topics. I was really impressed with the wide variety of fields and research topics that my fellow students were studying. In my self-introduction, I focused on how the Great Kanto Earthquake of 2011 had drastically changed my way of thinking up until that point.

Originally I was I majoring in Japanese language education at the Mongolian National University of Education. During my 3rd undergraduate year, one year after the disastrous events of 3/11, I visited Japan through a program that brought foreign students to the affected areas in an effort to strengthen international support for disaster relief.

As someone who comes from a seismically stable inland country, that was the first time I realized how severe and unpredictable natural disasters could be. I told the First Lady that I was very moved to see how courageously the disaster victims were working to rebuild their communities and that was the experience that made me decide to study full time in Japan in the future.


kokuhi5.jpgAfter our self-introductions, we tried our hand at making sushi under the supervision of a chef from a world famous Ginza sushi restaurant. It was the first time for all of us to make sushi ourselves, so we all tried our hardest to make each piece as well as we could.

Since sushi is normally made by laying a piece of fish on top of rice, I had assumed that the taste of sushi comes down mostly to the type and quality of the fish used, but the chef explained that the rice, especially how it is cooked and seasoned, is an equally if not more important contributor to the final product. Although I have been in Japan for almost 3 years, I don’t often have the opportunity to eat sushi, so I never really paid attention to the different flavors of sushi. But thanks to this sushi-making experience, I feel like in the future I would like to learn more about the flavors of sushi and be able to describe them more fully to my fellow Mongolians.

After eating our self-made sushi, we received a tour of the Prime Minister’s residence. As we walked through the various rooms of the manor, it became obvious how sturdily built it the complex was. Mrs. Abe’s secretary explained about how some of the events surrounding the “Feb. 26th Incident” happened right in the Prime Minister’s residence, and showed us some of the historical remnants from that time. “The Feb. 26th Incident” refers to an attempted coup d’etat held from February 26th to February 29th, 1936 when a group of young army officers influenced by the radical “Kodo” army faction lead a group of 1483 soldiers in revolt against the government.


We were also shown a room that contained a number of rare ornaments and artifacts that had be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Abe as gifts from various parts of the globe: a veritable trove of cultural treasures from all over the world! Among the objects on display, I even saw a bow and arrow that had been given by the President of Mongolia himself. A very curious room indeed!

After the tour, the day’s events were brought to a close. Thanks to the warm words of Mrs. Abe, the support of the MEXT directors, and the opportunity given by Waseda University, I was able to experience a day that I shall not soon forget.

During my time as a student here in Japan, there have been times when nothing seems to be going well, but there are also days where I feel like I’ve learned and accomplished a lot. This day was certainly one of the high points of my student career here in Japan, and one which reminded me of all the people and institutions supporting my studies here. Exchanging comments and opinions in Japanese with students from so many different countries made me very excited to continue in the future to foster friendly international relations even beyond the borders of Japan and to make the most of my time here in Japan learning about and appreciating different cultures. 





IPS Summer School 2016: Culture Meets Culture


Name: Li Hanshen
Country: China
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University: Double Degree Student
at Graduate School of Information Production and Systems, 2015-2016
Specialty at Waseda University: Information Architecture; Neurocomputing Systems
Advisor at Waseda University: Prof. Takayuki Furuzuki

How has studying abroad at Waseda aided you in your academic path?
The Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems provides an exceptional environment where an assortment of grad students coming from diverse countries around the world research and discuss numerous subjects and fields with each other. Local students are able to exchange thoughts and opinions with overseas students as well, which broadened my own horizons as well as enriched my life quite a lot.

Most memorable event at Waseda University:

I’m a Waseda University-Shanghai Jiao Tong University double master degree student that entered the Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems on Sep, 2015. In August of 2016, IPS held their AY2016 summer school. 56 college students as well as teachers from four overseas universities including Fudan University took part in the summer school. It was an honor to become a student assistant throughout the summer school period. During the entire event, I come to feel everybody’s enthusiasm along with their excitement. We were all able to have not merely an unforgettable experience but also to forge profound companionships with each other.


A gathering by all summer school members
All through the summer school, participants were able to experience the Japanese educational system as well as various cultural differences. They were able to select seven professors’ courses including those offered by Professor Osamu Yoshie. Courses covered supply chain management, semiconductor technology, computer network engineering, robotics, etc. Students got not a mere glimpse of the Japanese graduate learning atmosphere, but additionally were able to gain an in-depth knowledge of Waseda University. After classes ended I frequently saw students gather around the professor to put forward their own points of view. I do believe most of them really enjoyed themselves a great deal.


Kokura Visiting with Professor Osamu Yoshie and Fudan University students
During the factory visit component, every student visited the Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc., the Denso Kyushu Co., and the TOTO Ltd., where they witnessed Japanese business culture. Inside Toyota, they got a feel for how they produce automobiles for the establishment of a rich social contribution as well as the Toyota Production System. In Denso Kyushu, they discovered the way an automobile components supplier works as well as the development of science and technology. At TOTO, they experienced 90 years of brand history and its patented "Washlet" technology (a combination of plumbing and electronics) which has propelled it to the forefront of the business world. Through the factory visits, they sensed the team spirit of Japanese business, their innovative spirit and the integrity of their relationship with the outside world. There is no doubt that this is the primary reason why Japanese companies have large distributions around the globe.


Visiting Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc.


Visiting TOTO Ltd.
Aside from that, they also took part in certain cultural experiences. They appreciated the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, the Tenjin City Walk, Japanese Tea Ceremony, Japanese Flower Arrangement and Wasshoi Hyakuman Natsu Matsuri. Through such peaceful and delightful Japanese activities, the students were able to encounter a totally different culture from their own, experience the tranquility of the tea ceremony, and feel the vibrance and excitement of a fireworks show. This summer school was not merely an act of verbal communication, but a profound cultural interaction. Through the process of understanding and gaining experience, the students now have a deeper comprehension of Japan. In my opinion this will become a valuable experience for them in their lives.


Flower Arrangement
For the most part, we forged in-depth friendships, and many students expressed the hope that they could return to Japan someday as well as to Waseda University. I would like to thank Waseda University and also the Shanghai Jiao Tong University for giving me the opportunity to research in a foreign country. Thanks also to the Dean of IPS, Osamu Yoshie, and IPS staff Taro Umetsu for making such a fantastic summer school possible. Finally, thanks to every one of the IPS teachers. I love WASEDA; I adore Japan!

Message to WiN members:
Thanks to the Waseda University Vision 150 Plan, a growing number of international students like me are able to come to Waseda University to experience Japanese culture. I hope to make the most of my experiences in Japan in the future. Best wishes to Waseda University!

The World is Smaller than We Think


Koh Liang Wei
Home Institute
: Fudan University, Shanghai
Nationality: Singaporean
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2016

My first contact with Japan during my childhood was one that made me fall in love with the country and all it had to offer. My parents had brought me on a trip to Tokyo—one of the first trips that I could remember as a child and one that I would never forget; the numerous wars waged against the clock during rush hour, the vibrant lights and colourful signs glued haphazardly to the sides of buildings, the glow of dreams come true plastered on people’s faces at Tokyo Disneyland—these were what captivated my younger self. In the following years I would make three or four more trips to Japan, each time engaging in new activities and never going home disappointed. Even as my travels took me around the world to different countries and continents, there was always something about Japan that kept pulling me back.

Due to my late semester end date, it was always challenging to apply for summer programmes that started early in the summer. It was thus with excitement that I was finally able to make it into the Waseda programme this year, finishing my final exam in Shanghai just two nights before orientation started in Tokyo. I was fortunate to have a friend from my home university of Fudan join me on this programme, and this made planning a lot easier.

My experience started the moment the plane touched down in Tokyo. Despite being separated by only a two-hour flight, Shanghai and Tokyo were so culturally different. I remember how my friend was extremely impressed with the punctuality of the Japanese transport system, being able to plan our trips down to the very second. After checking in at the arranged accommodations for the month, my friend and I spent the evening exploring nearby Ikebukuro. Back in Singapore and even while studying in China, there were many aspects of Japanese culture that we always came into contact with, whether it was the Japanese language to the animated films that we always watched as kids, and even down to the stationery that we use (Pilot has always been one of my favourite). It was no surprise that we were extremely excited about everything around us.

The next day was the start of the Waseda Summer Session, beginning with the student interns guiding us to the campus from our respective accommodations. Ekoda had the largest group of students attending the summer programme and the journey to school was pleasantly peppered with conversations of everyone getting to know each other. Though we came from different parts of the world, there was always something we could talk about, and that was our love for Japan.


Tanabata Festival in Tokyo!

I took two classes during the summer session. The first was “Controversies in Southeast Asia” by Professor Dabney and the second was “Japanese Popular Culture” by Professor Lim Tai Wei. In Professor Dabney’s class, we explored the concept of being a nation and a state, in the context of Japan, as well as how those ideas shaped and developed the behaviour of Japan as a country towards the way it deals with many of its modern day issues. Everyone was extremely open to different ideas and viewpoints and this was key in allowing us to have mature and deep conversations about a range of many different topics. It was supplemented by visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine where we explored the many facets of the delicate situation that it was in. Professor Dabney also provided a rigorous syllabus, trying to teach us as much as he could during the duration of the summer programme, whilst making use of the diversity of the students in the class to allow us as much time as possible to voice our opinions about the issues.


With classmates from Professor Dabney’s Politics III Class

Professor Lim’s class on Japanese popular culture was an extremely interesting one as well. It allowed us an in depth look into the Anime Comics and Games (ACG) industry, one whose products I myself have been a consumer of but never took the time to understand the process behind its development. From articles and books about Pokémon and Godzilla, Professor Lim provided us with many an interesting read—something that I as a finance student would normally not see as part of my reading list in school. Our field trips took us to Harajuku as well as Akihabara, the mecca of the ACG world. It was not difficult to see the amount of influence Japanese Popular Culture has had all over the world, with the entire class being really excited to see their beloved ACG characters. The trips allowed us to experience and explore the different subcultures that exist in Tokyo and understand how they all coexist together and contribute to the larger Japanese culture. With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe even dressing up as Mario during the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics when the flag was passed on to Japan, we can see the significance of the role the ACG industry and its products play in shaping the Japanese identity.


Professor Lim’s Culture III Class!


Akihabara! The mecca of ACG fans

On top of the lessons we had at Waseda, there were also the numerous trips that we went on within Japan. I was very fortunate to have been able to arrange my classes to be on just two days a week, lending me time to explore this beautiful country. With a highly efficient and connected railway system, it was unbelievably convenient to take many day trips to places just outside of Tokyo. Weekends at Yokohama and walking along the beach at Kamakura while exploring the many temples and shrines scattered around Japan allowed me the chance to be intrigued by the nuances that differentiated Japanese culture from so many others.

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Travelling at Kamakura/ Wedding Ceremony at Meiji Shrine


Interacting with locals over lunch at Shibuya!

One of the highlights of the programme was the trip to Nikko; over 150 students, student interns as well as staff spent a weekend at the beautiful town of Nikko. It was a chance for many of the students who had classes every day to take a break and learn about the history and culture of ancient Japan. Nikko was also home to the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the key figures in Japanese history. After a few hours of travelling by train and bus, we arrived at the scenic town and were treated to the beautiful and tranquil scenery of the mountains and rivers that surrounded Nikko. Many of us were more excited about the onsen at the hotel, rushing to take a dip the moment we settled down in our rooms. Come nightfall, the students—most of whom were dressed up in Yukatas—descended upon a grand Kaiseki dinner with tables upon tables stretched out across the dining hall. That the weekend was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to mingle and get to know each other, as well as for us to get to know the staff and all of the other student interns.


Kaiseki Dinner in Nikko!/ Onsen is a must!/ Kegon Waterfall

All in all, my four weeks in Japan were nothing short of amazing. The Waseda Summer Programme offered me the opportunity to study under wonderful professors who were all extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields and to be able to interact with students from a host of different nations, cultures and walks of life. It was definitely sad to see everyone return home, but if there is something we learn from such programmes, it is that the world is smaller than we think and we will all definitely cross paths again. I myself hope to return to Japan in the near future and continue learning about the intricacies of Japanese culture.


Closing Ceremony! No one wants to go home!

Waseda Summer 2016


Miosha Page
Home Institute
: University of Michigan
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2016

I knew the minute I landed that this summer session would help me grow as a person and an academic. Waseda Summer Session was an absolute fun experience and provided me with a great time for my first time leaving my home country. Tokyo and the Waseda campus was an awesome place to be and I really enjoyed my residence in Takadanobaba. I was able to see what life was like living in Japan and attending a university. It was really cool seeing the college district and being able to eat, shop, and explore Takadanobaba and Tokyo.

During the session I had so many great experiences and made many great friends along the way. It was so great to meet people not only from Japan, but also other countries across the globe and share our experiences and cultures together. I made friends from Thailand, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the United States. I learned a great deal about Japanese culture, as well as myself throughout this process. I was able to open up to new ideas and ways of life and grow as an open minded individual.

I came out of my shell a lot during the Waseda Summer Session and became an independent person. I learned how to be out of my comfort zone and still grow as an individual. Waseda Summer Session provided me not only with the tools for learning about Japan, but new experiences like watching fireworks in Yokohama, going to an onsen in Nikko or doing karaoke in Ikebukuro, where I also had the chance for great learning experiences. I was even able to learn Japanese words and phrases and conduct interviews and talk with Japanese shoppers in Harajuku! The fun experiences and memories within the summer session are endless.

Waseda Summer Session was a great way to spend my summer and I wish I could have stayed longer with everyone in Japan. Through this study abroad I learned that I am extremely interested in learning more about Japan and hopefully interning in Tokyo or Kyoto next summer. I hope that I will be able to visit Japan again and gain even more knowledge and experiences!

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Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan


Fieldtrip Culture III, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan: hanging wires

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

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Livija Berzins
Home Institute
: The Australian National University
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2016

I had briefly been to Japan once when I was quite young, but I could barely remember any of it, so I was quite excited to experience Japan more thoroughly. But I come from a small regional town, and was therefore completely unprepared for the massive size and population of Tokyo. On my first day I stood in the middle of Shibuya Crossing, amazed and admittedly a little bit daunted by the sheer number of people that surrounded me – I later found out that more people cross at a single light change than the entire population of my town! I realised that each of these people had a life as intricate as mine, and I suddenly felt very small. In that moment, my entire existence was put into perspective - for the first time I think I fully appreciated that I really was only one tiny person amongst 7 billion people in the whole entire world. Putting things into perspective really became a recurring theme of my experience at the Waseda Summer Session, from what I learnt in my classes, to what I learnt from all the people I met and from the things I did during my time in Tokyo.
Despite my minor existential crisis on day one, nothing could curb my excitement. On the first day of the session I was very impressed with the university campus, which boasts beautiful gardens and integrates almost seamlessly into the city, and the student interns and staff were really friendly. The classes I took were History 1, Politics 3 and Japanese 1. They were of the perfect difficulty; challenging enough to be interesting, but relaxed enough to be enjoyable. History 1 was focused on the history of contemporary Japan from 1989 onwards, which proved to be very useful in helping us to understand the current economic, social and historical context of where we were living for the month. In Politics 2 we learned about Japan’s role on the international stage, and it was fascinating to explore Japan’s complex relations with countries such as China, Korea and the US, with a focus on apology politics. Japanese language classes were intensive, but everything we learned was very practical, and we could immediately put what we learned in the classroom to use in everyday life. These classes were very valuable because they helped me to put everything I saw in Tokyo into context, and provided me with a more meaningful experience outside the classroom. I also came to appreciate the incredible global significance of Japan’s history and actions as an international player, which I know will provide me with a valuable perspective and a deeper understanding of many global issues as I continue my degree in Australia.



The timetable was structured so that we had plenty of time to explore Tokyo, and the classes incorporated field trips. On field trips, I was able to see the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the Edo Tokyo Museum, the Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum and the Tokyo Museum of Nature and Science. The teachers were extremely knowledgeable and I learnt a lot of valuable information about my surroundings on these field trips that I otherwise could never have known without them.

We were given plenty of opportunities to socialise with the other students, and I made friends from all over the world. I had lots of time to see the sights of Tokyo and many of my fondest memories of my trip are from sightseeing with the wonderful friends I made. Some of the things I did during the Summer Session included visiting the Pokemon Center with a group of people I had only just met straight after the orientation, going to the top of Tokyo Skytree, spending an afternoon in the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, shopping at the famous shopping centre Shibuya 109, and having a really fun night at karaoke –until they handed us a bill far bigger than we had initially intended it to be!



A real highlight was the field trip to Nikko. It was refreshing to see the more rural side of Japan and the temperature was much cooler in the mountains. On the first day of the field trip we were taken to see the Nikko Tosho-gu shrine, which was one of the most amazing and intricate structures I have ever seen. Staying in a traditional-style hotel in a room with a group of other students was really fun, and we were served a very delicious meal for dinner that night, with the whole group eating all together. On the second day I chose to visit Nikko Edo Wonderland, which was a fun insight into what Japan might have looked like in the Edo period.



By the end of the trip, Tokyo was really beginning to feel like home. I realised by this point that even though so many people live there, the scale of it is not so big as to render everything impersonal, as I had initially thought. I recognised some of the people who made the morning commute from around my residence, I knew my way around campus and became able to recognise the staff that I saw daily, and the man who sold bubble tea on the street corner just before I got home even knew my order by heart! I was touched by the kindness and warmth I received from the people of Japan, from people I saw almost daily to total strangers on the street. I was sad to leave, but I definitely know that I will visit Japan again. I will really miss all the wonderful friends, teachers and staff that I came to know over the course of the session. I am so grateful and honoured that I was chosen to take part, and I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff at Waseda who made everyone’s experience so fun and rewarding!
The Waseda Summer Session has given me an invaluable understanding of Japanese life, culture and perspectives, the opportunity to meet some incredible people, and a set of wonderful memories that I will treasure for life.



Experiencing Village Life at Kijimadaira

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Some international students currently enrolled at Waseda University left the busy downtown campus where they usually spend much of their time to visit Kijimadaira, a nature-rich farming village located in the northern part of Nagano prefecture, with staff members from the Center for International Education (CIE).

Since six years ago, Kijimadaira Village and Waseda University had continued to promote meaningful exchanges including jointly holding workshops every year to suggest measures to revitalize the region. Last year, we formally concluded a collaboration agreement and became partners to cooperate with and support each other in researches and activities aimed at contributing to the development of the region. Many students were attracted to Kijimadaira and a student club was inaugurated in 2013 to continue holding student-led exchange activities.

The Center for International Education (CIE) implemented a 3-day “Experiencing the Village Life” program in order to have international students studying at Waseda actually see Japan’s rural area which have always played a part in Japan’s long history and have significantly supported the Japanese society.

As the program was scheduled for the busy period when the fall semester was just beginning, we were a small group; however, as it was on the weekend when reaping rice was just about to start, there were some festivals which are held in the region before harvesting. As a result, it seems that participating in the program was a very precious and memorable experience for international students. Here are the reports from the international students who have participated. (The Center for International Education)

Kijimadaira Village

Nguyen Tran
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
2nd year of the Waseda Business School

When I registered for this activity, I was not very well prepared for a extraordinary experience where I did only get out of Tokyo to enjoy fresh air but also had an opportunity to explore a famous agricultural area, and learn Japanese culture sights. A few highlight activities include:

• Interview with farmers and see how they invest rice field.
• Visit a small wood factory and agriculture high school.
• Attended a traditional festival in the village
• Staying at the Mayor house


Learn how to village farmers use machine to harvest rice field.

There are times when we walked around the area, we received free fruits and offers to visit houses and businesses from villagers. I have never seen that kind of great trust in other countries, so amazing. Unfortunately, I could not speak Japanese well enough to show all my appreciation toward those kind villagers.


Attending a wonderful village festival

The group was taken care very well by two Japanese from Waseda office, Yamaguchi san and Tanimoto san who were so patient to explain for us Japanese traditions, helped us show our appreciation toward village citizens and resolved our troubles along the adventure. Thank to you that we can have care-free time and enjoy the amazing experience completely.


Look! My gorgeous dinner in the host family

In the past, I spent much time to travel around Japan by myself because I like exploring and enjoying many different types of activities that tour group can not offer. However, the Kijimadaira trip was very different and amazing in the way that we did not only enjoy sightseeing but also learnt about business, agriculture and cultural insights in a very natural and interesting way.


Experiencing Village Life

Name: Daniel Somerset
: Israeli
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University: 2nd year at the School of Political Science and Economics

“Experiencing Village Life” program organized by CIE (Center for International Education) office of Waseda University is definitely one of the most vivid and rich experiences I have ever had. This trip was particularly memorable, because it provided invaluable insight into Japanese rural life and unique opportunity to communicate with local residents.


Uncompromised hospitality and help of people with whom we interacted during the trip, especially assistance of Takehara-san who was our guide and host throughout our stay in Kijimadaira, were beyond any expectations. These people were instrumental in creating atmosphere and social setting in which we felt that we were not simply an outside observers but direct participants.

The range of activities planned and conducted by CIE in this village were interesting, entertaining as well as profound in their importance. CIE office representatives engaged local residents into conversation, interviewing them about their life and work in the village, while encouraging students to ask questions. This exchange between students and local farmers, entrepreneurs and village officials would be impossible without members of CIE office.


Since my arrival to Japan I was constantly amused by how well known and influential Waseda University is. But during this program I truly appreciated the mere magnitude of this influence. Often simple mention of the name were already enough in order to engage people into friendly conversation. This long-lasting reputation attest for Waseda University’s commitment into social welfare and degree to which Waseda is integrated into Japanese society. The best thing we can do as a students is to take advantage of this state of affairs in order to find more about Japanese society and CIE’s “Experiencing Village Life” program provide exactly this opportunity.

A Fantastic Opportunity


Helen Whalan
Home Institute
: Australian National University
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2015

Before attending the Waseda Summer Session I had never travelled alone, never been to a non-English speaking country, and could not speak any Japanese. All a bit challenging!

However, attending the session proved to be an incredible experience and a fantastic opportunity. The Waseda staff had everything well planned to look after us all and were incredibly supportive. Staff met us at the airport, and the pre-arranged accommodation and events made the first few days easier. We had opportunities to meet other students and we rapidly got to know each other and became friends. Along the way I found out that others had also been daunted at first, but by the end of the session, none of us wanted to go home!

It was fantastic to meet people from all around the world with such different backgrounds, to work together, share new experiences and to become friends. We also met Waseda students, who were really helpful. They met us on our first day, assisted in classes and directed us on our field trip; it was also great to get to know them.

Exploring Maranouchi area.jpg

The classes were interesting and offered new ways of thinking and understanding the world. I studied economics, business and Japanese. My core classes were fascinating as they offered insight into the history and culture of Japan. They also incorporated a lot of fun field trips: to museums, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and homework assignments to explore areas of the city. My language classes were a lot of fun and our small class got to know each other very well. Because of the way the timetable was structured, we still had time to explore Tokyo thoroughly between classes and homework – and we were able to use our new language skills straight away!

Tokyo itself is diverse and exciting. Tokyo Tower, Harajuku, the Imperial Gardens, the Japan Tokyo National Museum, and many more… I loved exploring the different sights, new and old, and soaking up the flavour of the city in a way I don’t think is possible just from a vacation. Tokyo rapidly began to feel like home

The field trip to Nikko was a highlight of the session. By that stage we all knew each other and it felt very laidback as we explored Nikko Toshogu and Edo Wonderland. Plus some of us tried the onsen.

Nikko Toshogu.jpg


Waseda ran multiple programs throughout the session, such as traditional cultural experiences and meet-and-greets with Waseda local students. I only wish I could have gone to more of these!

Attending the Waseda Summer Session is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Japanese world. My experience has shifted my perspective and it is truly incredible to have made so many friends from all around the world.

My experience at Waseda will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Tokyo tower.jpg


A Rewarding Experience


Martin Mathisen
Home Institute
: University of Tromso, Norway
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2015

I applied for the Waseda Summer Session as I really wanted to see, explore and experience what Japan has to offer, while still being able to attend a university to give me valuable insights of Japanese business and culture. At Waseda University, the courses I attended were led by motivated professors encouraging the students to conduct a high level of independent thinking. In addition to the great lectures at Waseda, there was always some place new and unique to discover in Tokyo.

Upon my arrival in Japan, I had never been in any countries outside of Europe and the US. It was definitely hard for me to have any clear expectations of how my month in Tokyo would be like, especially considering my non-existing skills in Japanese. However, my experiences in Japan were entirely positive from the very first moment my flight landed at Narita airport. The staff of the Summer Session had organized a shuttle service taking us directly to our accommodations. At this point, I already got to meet participants from a wide variety of countries. I highly appreciate the opportunity to meet people not only from Japan, but also getting the chance to make friends from all over the world. It really did not matter where people came from, everybody where just looking forward to enjoy the summer program in Japan together. All the countless events one can experience in Japan can only be enjoyed better accompanied by great friends, and everybody I got to meet at Waseda University were knowledgeable, funny and caring people.


Okuma Garden, Waseda Campus

Although I have numerous of memories after my attendance at the summer program, I only have the opportunity to share a few of these memories. Throughout the summer program, we sometimes left the classroom to get a first-hand look at relevant places. For instance, in one of my business courses, we got to go on an excursion to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which was definitely an exciting adventure for a business major. Also, during the Summer Session we got to go one weekend to experience the historical and beautiful Nikko. I found the trip to Nikko as an incredible trip to see historical sites, as well as a cool way to see some of the countryside of Japan. Even though I loved attending these trips, we also had plenty of time to travel and sightsee Tokyo on our own. One thing that still amazes me is the fact that even though my friends and I continuously tried to explore new places, one month stay was not enough to see everything we wanted in Tokyo.


Attending the summer session at Waseda University gave me the most optimal way of meeting and creating new friends to explore the city of Tokyo with. At the same time, we could attend highly rewarding courses at the university taught by engaging professors. My many great moments at Waseda University’s summer session certainly motivated me to return to Tokyo one day.


An Amazing Experience

Kinugawa Onsen - コピー.jpg

Elizabeth Briggs
Home Institute
: University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2015

My interest in Japan began when I stumbled across the Studio Ghibli film ‘Spirited Away’ in the library, and since then, everything I learned about Japanese culture and history only made me want to visit Japan more. The opportunity to study at Waseda University, therefore, was too good to miss, and it was truly an amazing experience.

Summer Session Courses
The courses I chose to study were Culture 1, History 1 and Learning Japanese 2, which alongside the everyday experiences of living in Tokyo really helped deepen my understanding of Japan and its people. Learning about and discussing Japanese social organisation in terms of family, ageing, and education in Culture 1 was challenging at first because it is so different to cultures I have studied before, as was the economically-complex modern history of Japan, but that made it all the more rewarding to finally understand and see how Japan’s past and present political and economic environment affect its people’s thoughts and attitudes towards life. It was also fascinating learning this from and with people from all around the world, and seeing how each of our own cultures affected our interpretation of Japanese culture and history. Studying Japanese from native speakers was also incredibly valuable, and I learnt so much more over one month than I ever thought I could.

Culture 1 Group.jpg

Field trips
As a class we all had a field trip to Nikko, which was a great chance to explore the Japanese countryside independently and visit the famous Tosho Shrine and Shinkyo Sacred Bridge. We also stayed in an Onsen, which was a completely new experience for most of us, but one that we all really enjoyed.

Kinugawa Onsen.jpg  Nikko.jpg

I also went on the optional trip to Niigata with other Culture 1 and 2 students, where we stayed with families in Minamiuonuma City, visited local elementary schools and helped the elderly residents of a small village in the mountains. This was probably the highlight of my stay in Japan, as we could actually experience some of the issues facing Japan’s rural areas, such as the decreasing and ageing population, and talk to school teachers and elderly residents about their own experiences. We also visited a Shugen monk, who told us about the traditional practices of his temple and said a prayer for us. Everyone was so welcoming, but none more so than the family I stayed with, who, even though I didn’t speak very much Japanese, really went out of their way to make me feel at home, introducing us to some amazing Japanese food and including us in their everyday lives. 

Niigata Yushio-san.jpg

Niigata Host Family.jpg

Take Me Wonder by Wonder


Jui Yu Tsai (Eric)
Home Institute
: National Chengchi University, Taiwan
Enrollment year and status at Waseda University:
Waseda Summer Session, June-July 2015

Summary- "Take me wonder by wonder"
I have been to Japan for seven times as a tourist, but this is the first time that I “experienced” and “felt” Japan in a way I never had before. Never had I imagined that this summer school would turn out to be such an enlightening experience and become precious memories of my summer vacation.

During the whole month, I have had the chance to be truly immersed in the authentic Japanese culture, not to mention, sitting in the same classroom with elite students from all around world. Also, I felt privileged to be part of the courses taught by the best lecturers who are also experts in their own fields.
Beside school life, Waseda Summer Session (WSS) arranged dozens of activities and events such as Yukata wearing sessions, Rakugo (verbal entertainment) performances, Matsuri (festivals), etc, in order to allow us to better experience Japanese culture. During the 2 days field trip, we had the chance to visit rural areas near Tokyo and, what is to me, the best hot-spring ever. This summer, WSS had filled me with so many pleasant experiences and memories that I dare say it really took me wonder by wonder.


School Life- Overwhelmingly joyful and illuminating
This is my first time coming to campus as a Waseda student, and the campus is so beautiful that anyone would feel lucky and happy everyday by simply exploring the campus. Waseda succeeded in creating an immensely enjoyable atmosphere not only through the courses with some of the best lecturers but also with educational fieldtrips. Since I am an economics major and a fan of Japanese manga, the courses I chose to take are Business I and Culture III, both of which are so informative as well as absorbing.

In Business I, Professor Parissa provided a clear view of comparison between the values held by Japanese and non-Japanese companies not merely from the viewpoint of a scholar but an observer who has lived in Japan for almost a decade. Case by case we gradually grew our own opinion and had some great discussions in the class which had inspired many new ideas I had never come up with before.
 In Culture III, I have to say Professor Lim really had brought us in to the wonderland of Japanese ACG industry (anime, comics and game). The lectures given by him was amazing in itself. However, what swept me away was the field trip which was so exciting since it was a visit to the renowned “Heaven of Otaku” - Akihabara. If I were an otaku, I wouldn’t have left the “heaven.” A sentence to sum up for being a part of Professor Lim’s class is that it really creates a path back to your childhood when all the manga characters you know are still so vividly alive! Not the mention exploring the various factors and theories influencing the culture that, as a child, I would not have picked up on.


Reflection- How I am moved by WSS
The kind of shock and how deeply I was moved during the past one month is impossible to describe with mere words. Images of the field trip to Nikko and the great times spent walking around Tokyo are still so clear as if it were yesterday. Time really flew and the journey of fantasy in Japan ended so fast that I have no time to reflect on these memories well.

However, I know that the friends I have made would always be there for me and these people are some of the most incredible guys I have ever seen. It has truly been an unforgettable month for me as well as for many of my new-found friends. This was absolutely the best decision I’ve made. For those who want to be exposed to the fascinating wonders of Japan both culturally and academically, and to make friends hailing from different cultural backgrounds, WSS will not disappoint. Many thanks again to all the faculty and student interns from WSS for giving me such memories I will cherish for a long time to come.


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