Greetings From Japan.

Eating my favorite flavor of my favorite Japanese snack in the country where they make it.

I’m pretty sure it’s now mandatory to start a blog if one goes to Japan for any length of time, especially to study.  Who am I to buck the trend?

I’ve come to Japan to study for three weeks and visit cultural sites for one more, between the dates of May 19 and June 18. My group of nine (eight students, one teacher) arrived Friday evening after a long-but-smooth series of flights in Osaka, and classes begin tomorrow. I’m studying at Kinki University (go ahead and make the joke; I’ll wait).

Our hotel. (Photo taken 5/3/15.)

Friday was basically our arrive-and-crash day; we spent the better part of it in airports or airplanes. We’re staying in the U-Community Hotel, a business hotel whose rooms are pretty spacious, considering we were expecting everything in Japan to be really small. Yesterday, we got to visit Kindai and meet our instructors and the students who will be our conversation partners (and who will be part of the fall semester’s Kindai-to-WVU group). They held a welcome party for us, featuring all sorts of food (including a variety of things deep-fried on a stick, like shrimp or potatoes, whose name eludes me). Afterward, many of the students gave us a meandering tour of the campus.

Once that was finished, we wandered around our little corner of Osaka. There are convenience stores everywhere — mostly 7-11 (which is now owned by a Japanese company) and Lawson (which also apparently started in America), but plenty of others. There are also 100円 shops (like dollar stores, only a bit nicer), numerous specialty shops, and plenty of local-owned restaurants (some of whom only have a walk-up counter, some of whom have modest indoor seating).

The first restaurant I ever ate at in Japan. (Photo taken 5/3/15.)

For dinner our first night, we were treated to Italian (-style) food by our Kindai benefactors, Oomura-sensei and Okubo-sensei, at a family restaurant inside the nearby department store (which also has a supermarket, bookstore, clothing store, and a 100円 shop). It was good food, but I’m going to want to try many other places while I’m here.

MOS Burger, whose food is both familiar and new.

Yesterday, I got to do a few small things on my Japanese to-do list:  Eat authentic onigiri (for breakfast, no less!), eat at MOS Burger (the cool guys there cut up our burgers so we could share around and try several types), and the most important — BE IN JAPAN. Seriously, it still feels a little unreal. I’m pushing my feeble language skills here to their limits, and am hungry for more knowledge. I brought my go-to books, and will be trying to work in as many of those grammatical structures as I can manage, plus learn new ones. In short, I will be making the most of this trip.

For now, however, I should probably clean up for the day. More later.

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