Center for International Services & Programs

Living in Japan with Champaign Reeves

Traveling to Japan was interesting and weird journey. The flight was long and the weather was unbearable but venturing into a different country had many surprises for me. I landed there a day early and stayed in a small but comfortable hotel. Luckily I met up with a girl from the U.S who was in the same predicament as me. We were both nervous and exciting. We decided to do a homestay because we thought we would experience the culture much better. The next day, we met up the KCP coordinators who gave all the students their information about their housing, transportation, and school. We were separated into different groups to go to our housing because the others students chose to live in dorms. We, who had chosen to do homestays, rode a two hour train ride. The city I lived in for two months was called Kawaguchi.

When I met my host mother, I kind of scared because I was very horrible in speaking Japanese but she was ok with it. She was so nice to show me how to take the train to school. She cooked a lot of food for me and her son. Sometimes I would get so full, I couldn’t eat anymore. The first official day of school, we had an orientation, a placement test and then had time to explore the city of Shinjuku. In the summer, Shinjuku is very lively and super-hot. Luckily there are places where you can cool down at.

During my time there, I could only visit several cities like Harajuku, Tokyo, and Ueno. Every placed I went to; I “shopped till I dropped”. Sadly I couldn’t buy a lot due to limited space in my luggage. My favorite places I loved going to were Hello Kitty stores and a Studio ghibi outlet underneath Tokyo Station mall. Eating the local food was so good because I have never experience such rich and bold favors before. Some of their fruits, vegetables and meat are somewhat expensive, but it’s worth the price. Everything tastes so fresh and better then American food.

I only wish I could have stay there long then two months because I could have experienced more of the culture and local life. My hope is finding a job in Tokyo so I can be more involved in the Japanese lifestyle. I did have some problems in the beginning but I learned to work them out and enjoyed my stay there. I recommend that everyone should at least study abroad once in their life so that they experience a whole different world.