Overview 2001 (written 12/2000)
The program I am participating in is offered through Lansing
College (in Michigan). Lansing and Michigan State University
have been sending students to Japan for over twenty years
as part of a sister city goodwill program (Otsu is the sister
city of Lansing, MI. - the capital of Michigan). While there
I'll be living, working and studying in Japan for ten months.
I will have my own two-person apartment in Otsu city, Shiga
prefecture, which is located on the shore of Lake Biwa (central
Japan, Honshuu), the largest lake in Japan.
I will start the program here in Michigan on January 15 by
taking introductory classes on Japan and Japanese culture
at Lansing college. Leaving for Japan on February 28, I will
finish the semester in Japan at Shiga Daigaku (college), Otsu
campus. I will end up taking around 38 credits by the end
of the program, all the classes will be related to Japan in
some way. I hope to get a degree in Asian Studies (as well
as Fine Art [Computer Graphics], with a minor in Computer
Science) and to become fluent in Japanese to work for a multi-national
corporation such as Sony, Panasonic or Nintendo in the future.
Not only will I be attending classes in Japan, but I will
be working on a replica Mississippi steamship french/american
restaurant as a waiter-type person. Everyone who has gone
on the program has done this, and all of the details are worked
out prior to departure for Japan. It turns out that you work
a few days a week, and go to class a few days, then have about
two days off. You also get school vacations and vacation days
off work, not to mention trips to sites around Japan with
the other class members. I am planning to use any free time
to check out Japan and to travel around a bit. We receive
around $1000US+ per month for food and spending on buyable-stuff
(not taxed in any way, rent and utilities are included in
the program). This is sure to not last long in a country where
an apple costs about $5US and there are the ever popular $100US
melons. I am definitely planning on supplementing my income
with money saved from home, as well as credit cards.
This is the twentieth anniversary year of the program, and
is a special occasion. There are going to be many events supported
by the steamship company (Biwako Kisen) which sponsors the
Japan Adventure program along with Lansing and Shiga college.
I plan to have fun, and of course, learn more about Japan.