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The Lookout | April 12, 2021

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Japan Immersion program busy, fun

Japan Immersion program busy, fun

By Hannah Anderson
For The Lookout

It seems like just yesterday I was heading out of Japanese class to pop into The Lookout office in the Gannon Building, where I worked as the arts & entertainment editor.

I remember how I thought it would take forever for the semester to end so that I could begin a new adventure. But now it is here.

It was two weeks ago (in late May) that I took off from Detroit to Japan for the Japan Immersion program through LCC.

How time has flown by.

The Japan Immersion program runs for about three months and takes place in Otsu, Shiga. It requires one online class and an average of 20 hours working on the Michigan steamboat on Lake Biwa.

The class is fairly easy. It is mostly an overview of Japan’s culture, history and language. However I have already found that it is difficult to keep up with the homework because of how busy I am with everything else.

The boat was difficult at first, but once I got used to it, the work became really enjoyable. Since the first two floors of the boat serve food, my job is to speak to customers with my limited Japanese and take plates.

All of my coworkers are nice. Even though they do not speak much English, they enjoy learning any phrases I can translate, and are just as helpful with teaching me Japanese.

I have been using the word “chotto” the most in the past two weeks to warn everyone how much Japanese I am able to speak, which roughly means “just a little.”

Even though coming here made me realize how little Japanese I really know, it has already helped me immensely with understanding the language and culture.

Overall, my first two weeks in Japan have been staggeringly busy. I have made friends, traveled way farther than I expected to, eaten “oishi” (the Japanese adjective for delicious) food and finally gotten used to working on the boat.

As busy as this program is, I have been having so much fun and learning a ton about another culture. I am sure this trip will continue to be rewarding, exciting and fun in the month and a half to come.

Hannah Anderson was the A & E editor for The Lookout during the 2016-17 school year. She will write more columns later this summer for The Lookout to update her Japan adventures.