Sunday, July 26, 2009


Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! Since I'll be away from everyone for such a long time I figured this would be a great way to keep everyone up to date on what's been going on in my life while I'm abroad. I have no idea how busy I'll be once I'm in Japan and school has started, but I imagine I'll have some time to at least semi-frequently update this blog with journal-esque entries concerning my recent adventures. I'll try to accompany each entry with some photos too!

Recent News

I've been awarded the JASSO scholarship! Basically, the JASSO scholarship is given by the Japanese government to a limited number of students who are participating in a short-term study abroad program in Japan (3 to 12 months). The scholarship reimburses me up to 80,000 yen for my plane ticket and also gives me a monthly stipend of 80,000 yen for the duration of my stay. This should be more than enough to cover my living expenses (dorm, books, food, transportation, etc.). I can't tell you how excited I am, or how blessed I feel to be receiving this award.

I'll be purchasing my plane ticket soon. Another student from University of Michigan (a friend of mine named Jack) is also in the same program as me. The program is through Kyushu University and is called Japan in Today's World (hereafter referred to as JTW). We'll be coordinating our ticket purchasing so that we can get on the same flight. It's going to be a long one! It will also be nice to have someone I know with me when I step off the plane in Japan. I'm not sure if we'll be flying into Tokyo and then taking a shinkansen (bullet train) to Fukuoka, or if we'll fly directly into Fukuoka airport. We'll see (it'll will have a lot to do with the price of the tickets).

I realized that I don't have any suitcases. This may be a problem...

I'll be living in the international dorms (locally referred to as the kaikan). These are all singles (so no roommate!), come with a bed, desk, lamp, mini-fridge, their own bathroom and a balcony. I was told you can see the beach from the balconies. That will be amazing! Hopefully I get a beach-facing room. The beach is within walking distance from the dorms, I'm told. I'll probably be spending a lot of time there.

During school this past year I met an international student from Japan named Kanako Ishibashi. She's from Fukuoka and will be back at Kyushu University this coming year. It will be great having a friend from the area who can show me around and introduce me to some of her friends. I want get really good at Japanese while I'm there and the best way for that to happen is to make friends with Japanese people and spend a lot of time speaking with them in Japanese. Hopefully Kanako will be able to help that happen.

All right, that's enough for a first post, yeah? I'll probably update a few more times before actually leaving. We're expected to arrive in Japan around September 28th so I'll be in the States for a while still. I move back to Jackson on August 18th so get a hold of me before I leave!

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Fukuoka is the largest city on Japan's southernmost island, Kyushu, and is located on its northern shore. There are approximately 1.5 million people there!