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Experience Japan

Vol. 10 - Co-op Japan / JETRO

experience11_1.jpgName: Andrew Chow
Area of Residence: Yokohama, Kanagawa
Useful Link: Co-op Japan

Konnichiwa, Mina-san!

Like other AITAS Japanese Language School students, I have been asked to write about my experience of life in Japan.

Currently, I am working in a research centre of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. I got this job through the Co-op Japan Program, which is linked to JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization). Second-year or Third-year university students can apply for the Co-op Japan Program, so if you are interested you should try applying for it through your Co-op Office.

experience11_2.jpgWell, when I first got to Japan I was excited to see the surroundings. On my way to Yokohama from Narita Airport, I passed through Tokyo. It was very exciting to see such a lively city. It felt like the scenes that I saw in the Japanese dramas come to life. Seeing the surroundings, seemed like I was in a very interesting city with many things to do and there are indeed many things to do in Tokyo itself.

I live in at my company's dormitory, which is in Yokohama's Aoba-ku. From my place, it is around half an hour away from Tokyo and 45 minutes from Yokohama's city centre. It is good, because I can live in a quieter place, but close enough to lively areas. Even though I live in the suburbs, it is very convenient in itself. There are many shops, convenience stores, and a big mall at the train station.

experience11_3.jpgJapan is suitable for just about anyone, because there are many different things to do here. For those who are into hiking and nature, there are many mountains and hiking trails around the Tokyo and Yokohama area. Since, the weather is not as bad as in Toronto, this can be done basically all year round; except for Mount Fuji, where the top is only open in the summer. However, many other smaller mountains are accessible in the wintertime. For those who are interested in anime and manga (which is probably most of you), you can basically go to any bookstore or video store to find these things. However, the most concentrated area that has these things is in Akihabara. Akihabara is also a famous district for electronics. Perhaps not all electronics are cheap there, but you may find some good deals for something. For those who enjoy old architecture, there are many ancient temples and historical sites in Japan. Even in the city, there are many small or shrines to see.

experience11_4.jpgAn advantage in living in Japan is that you have more time to see things. As a tourist, you will only want to see the most famous sites and try to do everything at once. While leaving here, you can take your time and enjoy things that are more time consuming. For example, in the summertime, there are many festivals held around Japan and also firework events. If you were a tourist, most likely you would not attend to all of them nor willing to spend a whole day at one of these things.

Before coming here, I recommend that you learn all the hiragana and katakana alphabets (preferably some kanji) and some essential vocabulary, because not everyone here speaks English. So most likely you will need to take three Japanese courses at AITAS (no, I'm not getting paid to say this). By then, you should know the whole set of Japanese alphabets and express simply what you feel.

If you have a chance to come and live in Japan, you should definitely take it, because it's a totally enjoyable experience. It is entirely different than just traveling here.

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