Hi, I’m Kim Nuri from the information broadcasting department and I’ve participated in an exchange program from last fall till this summer in TUFS (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies). Let me tell you about the days I’ve had in Tokyo which beautifully colored my last year, and which somewhat different from the days in Korea.
The newest start in fall
When I first set foot in Tokyo, it was the last day in September. Although the wind was chilly in the morning, when we arrived at the airport, Tokyo was still hot enough to wear a T-shirt. It was the heat of a late summer in Tokyo. The quiet campus started to be crowded when October came. The language class I attended through a level test consisted of students from Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ukraine, Russia and France. It was a great stimulant for me to see the classmates
who spoke Japanese fluently even though their native languages were much less like Japanese than mine. When the scent of fall deepened, the biggest event of TUFS, the Foreign Language Festival is held. Freshman students who major in languages make and sell foods from their major languages and sophomores perform original language plays. At this time of year, students can
taste exotic cuisines from all over the world and people come to see unfamiliar language plays, so the campus is full of energy.
Warm mingling bloom in winter
As the days got cold, I became more adapted to life in Tokyo. I got used to language courses in Japanese, got close with exchange students I always face, and often enjoy a cup of tea while chatting about each other’s country. Unlike Korea, Japan celebrates solar New Year’s Day festively. As we all eat rice dumpling soup here in Korea, Japanese make buckwheat noodles called toshicoshisoba and pay a visit to the nearest temple. I, too, paid a visit to a temple near my school with my Korean exchange student friends. I threw a few coins and wished for more happy days. Japan is a place where you can live more easily if you have a bicycle. Therefore, people usually learn how to ride it before going to Japan. One of the biggest events I went through while in winter vacation was learning how to ride a bike. An Italian friend who went back a half year earlier than me asked if I wanted to have his bike and learn to ride it. After two weeks of striving effort, I was able to ride it freely. This, is something I might never have done if I hadn’t gone to Japan.
Starting to bloom in Spring
In March, when it is so nice to travel around, universities of Japan greet a summer vacation. I didn’t miss this chance to travel alone. The 7 days I had in Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Gobe showed me another charm of Japan. As it is for Korea, spring is a start of all seasons in Japan. My second semester started and I decided to take on the challenge of department courses with the confidence I achieved from the previous year. Another challenge I wanted to take on at the start of the semester was the badminton club. Japan is known to take club activities seriously with enthusiasm, so the bond between members is close. Even though all members were Japanese except one English person, and despite the fact that I didn’t know any technique or have potential, I decided to take the chance to learn the culture and attitudes toward life.
Goodbye, in Summer
High temperature and high-humidity. Summer in Japan was coming. Badminton practice was a hard pressure for me, but it was fun to work out and I was glad to be so close to the other members. After two months of practice, we went on a debut contest in a public university league. Although we lost all the plays, it was a one and only experience in my life. Despite the tough practice which was four times per week, we went on a travel to a hot spring and also went to a coast on our vacation. During those times, one semester passed and a year went by. Although it was a short time, my friends wrote me a rolling paper and went back to where they all came from. Finally, the day to come back to Korea came for me.
Another fall, coming back to Seoul
The year in Tokyo was a valuable experience which I could pick as one of the most important periods of my life. I could never have met such beautiful people and learn all the things I did otherwise. Above all, I obtained the two important things in my life: people and experience. Why don’t you give it a try and go to Tokyo? Your days will surely be colored beautifully with memories as mine did.