Abroad Programs · Japan

Busy days


          This month has been so busy and difficult for me. Everyone has been busy with researches, classes, field trips and other activities. We all are craving for a long enough sleep or a real day off but it seems hard. For me, classes are not a big problem, but I have been low this time due to being hit by homesickness.

In the first month, I was super excited discovering new place and new things, my mind was busy thinking and taking everything. Then the homesickness came all of a sudden and made me feel bad as if I was sick.  At the moment I feel better but haven’t recovered yet. I was trying to keep myself busy. Before going I hadn’t thought I would be affected by homesickness as I was tough but I was wrong. Anyway I’ve got a new experience and understand more the value of family which I wouldn’t know if I still stayed at home.

Besides that dumb feeling, other things of mine were good. We had a very great time at English Camp with a bunch of fun physical games like dodgebee, treasure hunt as well as interesting lectures.

Pic taken in english camp
a part of the place we stayed during english camp
Playing dodgebee

The field trip to Dazaifu was nice as well. Dazaifu, which is nearly 1 hour driving from the school, is quiet and peaceful place with a large space, green fields, small houses and lovely flower fields. Dazaifu was the imperial office governing in Kyushu. In the period of Nara and Heian and even Kamamura, it was one of the military and administrative centers of Japan. In the field trip, we went to Government Office Ruins, Kanzeonji, which is a temple of Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism and Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine that  inspired me the most.

A park near dazaifu tenmangu
 a street in Dazaifu
Me in front of mandarin tree at government office ruins

 Dazaifu Tenmangu is located on the grave of Sugawara no Michizane, who is considered as the god of the education and wisdom today. The shrine reminded me of Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) in Hanoi due to the image of a carp leaping over the dragon’s gate on the shrine’s front gate. For Vietnamese, the image of a carp successfully jumping over the dragon’s gate is a symbol of courage, perseverance, and accomplishment, which is used to say about students’ academic success. This culture derived from China. I’m not sure if Japanese people know that legend but it seems we share some cultural similarities. After the trip, I realized we don’t necessarily have to leave Fukuoka to find an oasis from urban commotion, just choose to take a bus and head mere one hour south to the wooded temple enclave of Dazaifu. It is an ideal place to visit with small-town charm, boast temples, old-fashioned tourist shops and pilgrims on the hunt for spiritual enlightenment.

 The carps and dragons image on the front gate of dazaifu tenmangu
Dazaifu Tenmangu

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The unique StarBucks in Dazaifu

In another field trip, we went to Fukuoka castle which was completed in the early Edo period for Kuroda Nagasama. In the past it was very huge but at the moment it is just ruins. But we used tablets with GPS animation on them so we could see all images of the whole castle when it was standing. What a great tour!

A yellow leave tree in Fukuoka castle – the winter is coming

In japanese class, we learnt how to make miso soup that is a traditional japanese meal as well as japanese table manner. It was very interesting and practical as there were many things I hadn’t known before and now I can apply what I’ve learnt in the class while visiting my host family.

Traditional japanese meal – miso soup (left), rice and some vegetable

I went to a spanish restaurant last week with my jd mate, enjoyed super duper delicious food and spoke spanish which I always want to do.

A huge lunch with chorizos, grinned potato, salad and bread
Live music at the restaurant
Tomorrow, I’m going to see Sumo Tournament in the downtown Fukuoka. It seems exciting! Two presentations (in Japanese) are waiting. And the 2nd host family meeting is on Saturday 23rd. Busy month! Yes, it isssssss!
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