On Studying Japanese
Dec25

On Studying Japanese

“Why Japanese?” is the question most people will pelt you with when you tell them you’re learning the language. Some people will go the softer route and ask, “Oh, so what led you to that?” Others will go directly for the explosive option: “Wow you must really like anime.” The Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies, which helps teach U.S. diplomats, classifies Japanese as...

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Reflecting on Thailand
Dec16

Reflecting on Thailand

As the semester comes to a close and the temperature continues to drop, I constantly find my mind wandering away from my studies and thinking about better, warmer days. Specifically the days during my trip to Thailand in October, when six friends and I stayed in Bangtao Beach, Phuket and had way too much fun. (PS. This account may not be completely objective, since Phuket’s beaches and palm trees constantly had me comparing it to my...

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The Uji Chapters
Nov14

The Uji Chapters

Of all the unread books on my shelf back home, none is more intimidating than Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji. The translation I own, the 1926 translation by Arthur Waley, lands at over a 1000 pages. (The Tale of Genji taking up a large amount of space on my Japanese Literature shelf in Birmingham, AL) Murasaki, a lady of Japan’s Heian court, wrote Genji roughly a thousand years ago, with the novel itself tracing the...

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Sending Love from My Happy Place
Nov13

Sending Love from My Happy Place

Hi, my name is Lauren Phillips and for the past 3 months I’ve been studying abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. These last few months have gone by so quickly, and I’ve been having so much fun here that I’ve barely had time to write about my experiences! Now that I’ve found myself in a quiet café with a chai latte and some free time, I can finally reflect on everything that’s happened so far. I’ll start by explaining...

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Home Sweet Home
Aug08

Home Sweet Home

When you study abroad, people talk about how hard it is to adjust to your host country. They don’t talk about getting back, and it is exhausting. I spent 32 hours in transit from Sydney, Australia, back to Alabama and I’m still worn out five days later! I wasn’t quite ready to leave Australia, if I’m honest. After five weeks, I finally felt like I knew what I was doing! That being said, I’m relieve to be...

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The Final Days
Jul30

The Final Days

It’s almost time for my study abroad journey here in Japan to end, and I must say that I’m rather sad about it. I’ve made plenty of friends here over the year, and though a lot of them are going to leave while I’m spending the week in Tokyo, somehow I feel it might be better not to see them off. I know I’ll end up crying if I do. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty hot here in Japan at the moment....

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