Hey everyone! So, the past few weeks have been so crazy but so much fun. Nikkō Tōshō-gū was so much fun and talk about a culture shock. I also met my host family and they are the nicest people I have ever met!

So, a bit of history on Nikkō Tōshō-gū it is the final resting place of the Tokugawa Ieyasu who created he Tokugawa Shogunate that Japan. Tokugawa Shogunate was law that ran Japan for 200 years. The temples, as well as the other structures, were so awesome as well as the scenery around the structures. There is also what one could call a cleansing station before you enter the main area in which you use a ladle to pour water and wash your hands as well as rinse out your mouth. That was not only interesting but a culture shock. I also saw the famous Nemuri Neko (Sleeping Cat) statue. Nemuri Neko has a whole history behind it, but the short version is that this cat sculpture represents Ieyasu’ s spirit.  After seeing Nemuri Neko, I climbed 207 steps to finally get to the final resting spot of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The climb was definitely a cardio workout but we’ll worth it. The scenery at the top was mind blowing. After that I, along with the other exchange students went to Nikki National Park. The drive up there was so beautiful, and it was foggy. Nikki National Park was nice and there was a waterfall. However, the waterfall was difficult to see because of how thick the fog was. I was able to get a couple photos though because the fog cleared up a bit for a few minutes. Overall, that trip was well worth the 6 hours on a bus. 3 hours there 3 hours back.

The weekend after that, this past weekend, I met my host family which has two sisters. Like I said earlier they are the nicest people I have ever met. My host mom picked me up from Meiji Gakuin University and she took me to the elementary school my youngest host sister attends school. This were I met my host dad. After being shown around my sister’s school my hosts parents took me back to their house where we had green tea and coconut crackers and talked to get to know each other. We talked until my youngest host sister came home.

After that my host parents took my host sister and I to an Italian restaurant to eat lunch. This Italian restaurant was so good! After lunch, my host dad and sister went home to rest and my host mom took me to Tokyo Tower. In my opinion Tokyo Tower gets better the more times you go and even though I have gone once that surreal feeling when you’re going up doesn’t go away. After Tokyo Tower my host mom took me to a Kabuki play in a park. This was probably one of the coolest performances I have ever seen! The music, the acting, everything was amazing. After that, my host mom took me to a cafe in Odaiba. The coffee was fantastic and there was a really cool Ferris wheel where Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and bats were projected.

After the cafe in Odaiba my host mom and I met my host dad and younger host sister for Okonomiyaki. My older host sister joined us as well as she had been at school all day. After dinner, my Host family and I talked and then we headed home. We had the same train on the same line to our homes, so we rode the train together as well. We parted at the station that was closer to their house and I went home because I only got a host visit not an overnight stay. When I got home not only was I tired I couldn’t stop talking Japanese for 3 hours because I had been speaking Japanese all day. Speaking Japanese all day helped immensely in my learning ability. With that said if you are thinking of studying abroad and are unsure about a host family, do it. It will not only help you learn the language your studying, but it will help you appreciate the culture even more. If you all would like to see photos of these adventures they are on my Instagram @isaacxmaes.

Tomorrow will be another adventure as I am going on a bus tower which will cover lot of different parts of Japan. I will of course be taking lots of photos and posting them on Instagram, so I can share that experience with you all. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog and have a wonderful rest of your day. And remember to follow @unmstudyabroad on Instagram and Facebook.


Japanese words of the day:

れきし                        Rekishi:                       History

おもしろい                Omoshiroi                   Interesting

かぞく                     Kazoku                                    Family