Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mission Completed!

Summer Study Abroad 2015 has, of course, completed successfully and meaningfully for each students to expand his or her horizon!

Summer Study Abroad will come back in summer 2016 (6/15/2016-7/21/2016)!  Everyone tried to get unique experience until the last minute to get off the airplane in Chicago!

I hope those who participated in the program will continue to learn Japanese in one way or another and eventually visit Japan again maybe in the different capacity!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Farewell Party

We are NOT quite ready for going back to the US yet time has come and had a farewell party with all the host families!

Everyone enjoyed snacks, sushi, pizza, and breaking watermelon.  Every student wrote and read the thank you letter to the host family and got some warmhearted message back from the host family as well.

After the party, everyone tried to enjoy last moment and also finalize the assignments.

Kyoto City Zoo and Tanukidani

Special student pass let student admit into Kyoto City Zoo which is under superb innovation and fun.

Students could enjoy animals very closer including tigers, lions, and even elephants.

For sheep and goats, you can also touch them and play with them while being watched by piggies and donkeys.

After leaving the zoo, we were headed to Tanukidani Fudoin where GTS' father sleeps.  250 steps after climbing up steep slope, you can get to the temple and we observed preparation for Hiwatari Festival during which you can walk on fire!

Monday, July 27, 2015

GTS' elementary school in Kamigamo

Under the rather cloudy sun, we went to Kamigamo Shrine where everyone had a chance to soak the legs with clear cold stream.

We walk along Myojin River to get to Kamigamo Elementary school where GTS graduated 40 years ago.  We greeted to Vice Principal and kept walking to Midorogaike through neighborhood GTS played around 40 years ago as well.

The final day is approaching but we will make utmost effort to maximize the experience until last minute!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Osaka Tenjin Festival

July 25 is the Osaka Tenjin Festival which is one of the three most famous festival in Japan.

Over a million people gathered to celebrate the business success as well as every one's health.

So many vendors were along the river to attract citizen's appetite!  Octopus ball, ice, candy coated fruits, French flies, Okonomiyaki, fried noodle, grilled squid, etc.

The festival was concluded with tons of fireworks to represent OSAKA!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Everyone created the OWN Cup Noodle!

We rushed to the train station after school during the Gion Festival to catch the train to go to Ikeda in Osaka where we can find the Instant Ramen Museum.

In the museum everyone created his or her own cup noodle (design and taste) as a souvenir!

Inventor of the cup noodle, or instant ramen, is Mr. Momofuku Ando, the Ritsumeikan University graduate, and his statue was standing in front of the museum!

At  night, several students went to Kenbukai, Martial Arts, Dojo to learn various introductory technique.

It was a long day!

Tenjin Festival will be tomorrow!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Buddhist Scripture Caligraphy at Daikakuji temple!

Since yesterday we had been having good amount of rain until just about the lunch time.

So we were lucky not to have rain during the afternoon excursion.  We took Randen train to Arashiyama to which we came before to visit the monkey park.

This time we walk to Nonomiya Shrine, which is famous in the Tale of Gengi, and walk through the bamboo walk to get to Daikakuji Temple.

In Daikakuji everyone tried Shakyo (Han'nya Shingyo Scripture Calligraphy) and walked through huge complex as well as its large garden that has Osawa Pond.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NIshijin Textile Center with Kimono Fashion show.

It was a yucky rainy day today.  We went toi the Nishijin Textile Center where there is a Kimono Fashion show.

This is the center of Kyoto Textile, the famous Kimono textile maker area.  They sell all the quality stuff inexpensive as it is factory direct.

The little south of this center is the Seimei Shrine which is famous for Exorcism in 11th century.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Nara mission complete with Todaiji and Kasuga Grand Shrine!

Kyoto city subway and Kintetsu train took us to Nara station from which we walk to Todaiji temple while feeding many deers.

Todaiji Giant Buddha Hall is the world largest wooden structure.  Some students try going through the famous Buddha's nose hole column.

We walk up to the April Hall from which we could see the entire Nara city.  Then we moved through Tamukeyama Hachimangu and Wakakusa mountain to the Kasuga Grand Shrine and Sarusawa Pond before heading back to Kintetsu Nara station through Higashimuki Shopping street.

Hot and humid but great day!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fall Class Registration Continues!

This coming fall, there will be 6 classes scheduled.

Japanese 1101 (First Semester) 
Mon/Wed  10:00am-11:50am
Tue/Thu   10:00am-11:50am, 12:00noon-1:50pm, 7:00pm-8:50pm 

Japanese 1102 (Second Semester)
Mon/Wed 1:00pm-2:50pm

Japanese 2201 (Third Semseter)
Mon/Wed 5:00pm-6:50pm

All classes have still seats!  Please register!

Our Spring Flower trip will be 3/18/2016-3/27/2016
Summer Study Abroad will be 6/15/2016-7/21/2016

Stay Tuned!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Gion Festival and Sake Museum in the heavy rain!

The typhoon #11 actually avoided Kyoto again and landed a bit west so we were, in a sense, lucky.   Kyoto seems to be protected by some invisible power!

Yet, the heavy rain attacked us during the Gion Festival Float Parade, so we visited rather early Horino Museum (Japanese Sake brewery (now only local beer at this place) museum where we could learn traditional Japanese housing style as well as most delicious sake tasting!

Some left for Tokyo during the long weekend until Monday night or some left for Hiroshima!

Noe the program is half way through but more exciting days are waiting!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Osaka Castle with a bit pre-typhoon rain!

After eating lunch in the Demachiyanagi Station area, we got on the Limited Express to Kyobashi from which we could walk to Osaka Castle by Building hopping!

Just when we arrived at the castle, it began raining because of typhoon approach.

Hopefully this typhoon #11 will pass during the night and the parade will be going on as expected tomorrow!

Some are leaving for Tokyo tomorrow after festival till Tuesday morning just in time for schooling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Phoenix Pavilion under the sun

Hot and humid weather continues right before being attacked by the Typhoon #11.

Phoenix Pavilion has just re-done for the entire structure so it was as beautiful as it used to be thousand years ago.

Some looked at the 10 yen coin design and compared with the real structure.

On the way back we walk along the Uji river which is famous for many historical events and literary works like the Tale of Genji.

Upon returning to the city, many enjoyed Gion Festival Pedestrian's Heaven!

It seems the typhoon directly attack us so we will be careful.

We should hide ourselves in Osaka Castle!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Traditional Performance at Gion Corner

Under the traditional Kyoto hot and humid weather, we delayed our afternoon excursion to early evening.

We visited Gion Coner to observe Gagaku, Kyomai, Tea, Flower, Bunraku, Kyogen performance.

Though each performance was short, hopefully everyone got some taste of Japanese Traditional Culture!

Many students wore traditional Japanese cotton kimono (Yukata) and enjoyed temporal Japaneseness in summer.

Gion Festival continues on to the weekend!

Meiji Snack Factory!

Right after Hiroshima trip on the weekend, we visited Meiji Snack Factory!  We observed some famous snack being made right in front of us.

Everyone got a couple of snack bags as a gift and took some pictures with its charactor dolls.

Karl and Kinoko no Yama are two famous snacks even being imported to the USA.

So I am sure they will go to some Asian market to buy them upon returning to the US!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Super quick trip to Hiroshima Succeeded!

Leaving Kyoto at 7:00am for Hiroshima to be on time for A-Bomb survivor's talk at 1:00pm!

We were a bit late but made it almost on time.  After lecture, everyone went through the A-Bomb museum and we walked through the entire park to A-Bomb dome as well as its hypocenter nearby.

From Hypocenterm we walked through the Hondori chpping street which is famous for its tallest roof of the shopping street in Japan.

From shopping street we walked onto Hiroshima castle from which the entire Hiroshima city gets visible from the top of tower.

5 hours one-way is really tiring but I hope everyone learned some.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Really Humid and hot but good weather in Kyoto!

Today was the Kyoto weather, hot and humid over 30℃.

For climbing up the Monkey mountain, it was better than having rain.

At the top of the mountain we could play with monkeys and feeding them, etc.

From the top of the mountain we could see the entire Kyoto city from Northwest!

Real Kyoto weather finally arrived but we are heading to Hiroshima for one day trip for
peace study!

It will be the long day but probably becomes good memorable day!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Finally hot and humid traditional Kyoto arrives!

Ahhhhh.  Hot and humid!  Life goes on!  Not as bad as probably next week
Well we had a lunch break around Kyoto University area (Hyakumanben) where most students eat at Kyoto University cafeteria.

From Hyakumanben, city bus #206 took us directly to right in front of Sanjusangendo temple.

It was slightly raining but by the time we visited Sanjusangendo, rain stopped and began partially sunny!  We will play with monkeys tomorrow at Mt Iwata Monkey park!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Heian Jingu Shrine to Kyoto Handicraft Center

Slight rain continues on and off but overall we have been lucky.  Not raining at the Heian Jingu Shrine garden, which is the largest shrine garden in the area.

Students are having fun for hopping on rocks in the pond.  Some were feeding carp and snappers/turtles from the wooden bridge to the pond.

After visiting Heian Jingu Shrine, they had a chance to visit Kyoto Handicraft Center to enjoy some souvenir shopping as well as their own shopping.

Nicely organized day today!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fushimi Grand Shrine under slight rain!

This afternoon, we first went to Demachiyanagi Station where everyone grabbed a bite.  Keihan train took us to Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine.

Special Shinto ceremony was going on in the shrine which several students enjoyed observing.
This shrine is famous for it thousands of Torii Gates through which you can go beyond the Mt. Inari to get to Tofukuji Temple.

Unfortunately it was not an ideal weather to go through mountain to get to Tofukuji as it would be quite dangerous to do mountain walking under rain.

Hope the weather will recover tonight and we can enjoy the largest shrin garden in Kyoto tomorrow at Heian Jingu Shrine.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu-temple through Maruyama Park

After lunch the bus took us to the famous Gion area where we began walking from Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu temple.

On the way, we went through Maruyama Park behind Yasaka Shrine, Kodai-ji temple where Hideyoshi's wife, Nene, resided, Ryoge Kannon (Great statue of the buddha for Mercy), Ninen zaka, Sannen zaka where bunch of souvenir shops are around.

Inside the Kiyomizu temple, there is JISHU Shrine which is famous for match making and love.
Also there is a tree for cursing on someone!

It started to rain in the early afternoon but buy the time we left from the Temple, it stopped and worked for us.

Three typhoons are near Japan and many areas in Japan have quite a rain but so far so good for Kyoto and rather better than hot and humid!

It was another good day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Silver Pavilion under the hot and humid weather

Some came late for the meeting time and had to get to the Silver Pavilion by themselves but over all things are OK.

The weather is now getting to become real Kyoto summer weather, which is hot and humid.

We have some rain over night so not that bad yet.  First real weekend is coming up tomorrow and several students will enjoy July 4th with Korean BBQ!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Eikando to Nanzen-ji

Some got lost, some got on the wrong bus by my mistake, but everyone successfully met at the bus stop to visit Eikando Zenrinji temple  to enjoy maze like sturucture inside the main hall.

There is a pagoda in its garden from which the entire east part of Kyoto city!  25 students from 2 colleges is quite big and long so we wasted a bit time but so far so good.

AND the weather has been cooperating with us!   We left Eikando for Nanzen-ji temple and got to the City Art Museum bus stop passing in front of GTS condo!

It was a good day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Nijo Castle after heavy rain!

Since last night it had been raining heavily and I was worried a bit about everyone's communiting. Some had a bit difficulty on commuting but the rain was ceased and helped us to visit to Nijo Castle.

It seems that everyone is getting used to the daily routine.  One student left his wallet and commuting pass behind but a kind person picked it up and returned to the student.  Feel good about Japanese hospitality!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The golden pavilion after making sushi

Today was the ady everyone experienced making sushi roll and taste it with some miso soup!

Some are good at making it some are making something else with sushi rice!

The best cloudy weather helped us not to get so hot and humid while walking to the Golden Pavilion from the school.

Good start of the program and some shower will cool down the temperature during the night so that we will have another fun day tomorrow at Nijo Castle.

For me?  After picking up my daughter at the kindergarten, we went through the zoo!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Rock Garden rocks!

The weather here in Kyoto has completely recovered and got really hot humid though not as bad as it should be.  Everyone made it for schooling in the morning safely without major problems.

Our lunch today was at one of the cafeterias at Ritsumeikan University where Shingo was graduated from years ago.

Next to the university is the Rock Garden or Ryoanji temple where everyone began sensing about the Japanese gardens.

Hopefully this good weather continues tomorrow!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hoping the weather to get improved on Monday!

Tomorrow will be the first day of the study abroad and hopefully the weather gets improved for us to begin the program nicely.

The rainiy season in Kyoto this year seems to mean real, but.....

10 students from COD and 15 students from ELAC are now ready for the program!

Friday, June 26, 2015

2015 Summer Study Abroad has begun in Kyoto

United Airlines gave all of us the Economy PLUS seat and everyone was happy though it still took over 12 hours from Chicago to Tokyo.

Our connection was smooth and transfered to Kyoto without any problems.

Communting practice will be tomorrow and we will be ready for everything!

The weather here is not too good but we cannot complain too much about it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Orientation for 2015 Study Abroad in Kyoto, Japan!

Rather small group of 2015 COD Study Abroad Japan gathered for the orientation in which we discussed some travel information as well as acquiring trans-cultural competence.

A former participant and a philosophy professor, who participated GTS' international field study in Japan twice, joined to assist this important gathering.

First day presentation includes the Peace Study for which we will visit Hiroshima during the program in order to listen to the actual A-Bomb survivor after 70 years of A-Bomb drop.

Students will be informed their host family and the language school itself. 

This year, for the first time, 15 students from East Los Angeles College will join the program and share the meaningful global experience in Kyoto, Japan.  Summer 2016 will be joined even more by students from Georgia Southern University.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Oooh, nasty rain so we will leave Kyoto for Chicago!

We were again lucky probably even luckier than last year Spring trip!  We had some slight rain during the trip but over all Japanese traditional Sakura welcomed us and fully bloomed as if planned.

It is raining this leaving day.  Kyoto is just crying for us because of our leaving for Chicago.
Thanks again and we will back here next Spring though our college calendar changes so the trip will be in mid March!

GTS also leads the study abroad trip to Kyoto this summer (6/25-7/30) so I will greet Kyoto again soon.

To many of my friends in Kyoto assisted me for this trip one way or another, THANK YOU!

The last day of this trip was in Nara

Kintetsu train took us to Nara where many deer walked and played around.  Along the crowd of deer we proceeded to the main Buddha Hall of Todaiji temple where the gigantic Buddha Image was sitting.

We walked up to April Hall and February Hall from which everyone enjoyed viewing Nara city under blue sky.

While feeding deer we walked around the Park to get back to Nara station area where we had late lunch break before heading back to Kyoto.

In Kyoto station we walk up to the roof top square (Happy Gardens) and walk through Skyway to enjoy Kyoto city view.

Perfect weather recovered in Arashiyama.

A city bus took us to Daikakuji Temple where everyone had a chance to participate Shakyo (Buddhist Scripture Writing).  After the activity and observation, we walked along the Osawa Pond attached to Daikakuji where Cherry blossoms had just bloomed in full.

After lunch near the Randen Arashiyama Station, we visited Tenryuji temple, Nonomiya Shrine via famous bamboo path.

From the top of the mountain we could see tiny boats in the river below as well as cherry blossoms in the mountain.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Philosophizing under slight rain!

We were under slight rain all morning long while visiting Heian Jingu Shrine and Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion).

Though slightly raining, we were able to philosophize along the Philosopher's Trail with a camera in hand.

Everyone enjoyed shopping at Kyoto Handicraft Center before heading back to the center of Kyoto city.

At night we went to Gion to enjoy a glimpse of Japanese Traditional Cultural Performance, such as Bunraku (Puppet Theater, Tea Ceremony, Flower Arrangement, Gagaku, Kyogen, etc)

It was again the great day under slight rain!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Walk Walk Walk! Over 20km (12miles)

Left the hotel for Nijo Castle via Shinsen'en on foot.  Walking around the large Castle park before getting on the subway to get to Daigoji-temple where we could find the most famous Cherry blossoms from Hideyoshi era in later 16th century.

The temperature was rising to 70F's (or some 25C) and we felt even the beginning of summer!

After lunch in Daigoji-temple area, we visited the Phoenix Pavilion which is famous for the design of Japanese 10 yen coin.

On the way back from the Phoenix Pavilion, we got off the subway and walk through Keage area where Shingo lives.

Cherry blossoms in Nijo Station was also in full bloom and we walked a lot today!

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Golden Pavilion and the Rock Garden really rocked!

Under the super good weather, we first got off the bus to visit Wara Tenjin where portable shrines had been prepared for the soon coming festival!

5 minutes walk from there took us to the Golden Pavilion which was shining and shining.   Two bus stops ride took us to the Rock Garden where Shingo used to hang around in his college days 30 years ago.

We ate lunch at Ritsumeikan University which Shingo was graduated from and were headed to Hirano shrine where Flower viewing events were in active  While Shingo was greeting to the School head of Kyoto International Academy, which will hos us during oour study abroad program, Students enjoyed visiting Kitano Tenmangu

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at NIshijin Textile Center to enjoy shopping and Kimono show!

Night meal was our only group dinner joined by a two students of Shingo, who were traveling around Japan individually.  With addition of some school staff from KIA, we had a great time. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Walking from Kiyomizu through Yasaka in slight rain!

Slight raining weather welcomed the first full day of our trip.  It wasn't too much raining, we followed the original schedule and began climbing the hill to Kiyomizu dera-temple to overlook the Kyoto city from the famous Kiyomizu cypress stage and observe cherry blossoms in Jishu Shrine in it.

From Kiyomizu, we walk through Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka to get to the Maruyama Park to see THE Cherry Blossoms in half bloom.  After enjoying lunch after visiting Yasaka Shrine, we were headed to Sanjusangen-do temple to greet 1001 statues of Buddha for mercy.

Late afternoon through night was spent in the central city area, Shijo Kawaramachi to energize for the next day!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wow! COD Spring Group got to Kyoto safely in March 2015!

8 students with me arrived in Kyoto for College of DuPage international field studies.  All Nippon Airways carried us from Chicago to Osaka/Itami via Narita airport!

Everyone is fine and seems to be ready for the adventure beginning tomorrow on Sunday 3/29.

It may rain slightly tomorrow but we will enjoy even raining!