A Visit to Japan’s Cat Island: Tashirojima (田代島)
For more photos and videos of Tashirojima’s cats, explore the 田代島 location page.
Off the Oshika Peninsula on the eastern shore of Japan sits Tashirojima (田代島), a small island that is home to about 100 people and hundreds of cats. “Cat Island,” as Tashiorjima is commonly called, was once home to a fishing industry and about 1,000 people, but the population has steadily declined and aged since its peak in the 1950s.
The island’s cats—believed to bring good fortune by locals—are Tashirojima’s biggest draw these days. Feline fanatics that are lucky enough to make the journey can also explore the island’s many cat shrines and cat-shaped stone monuments.
The 2014 Sapporo Snow Festival Begins in Sapporo, Japan
The 65th Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり) began yesterday in the northern city of Sapporo, Japan. The week-long festival is one of the biggest winter events in the country, displaying hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures in three venues across the city. Millions of visitors from around the world gather to marvel at the towering snow art and the elegantly shaped figures made of ice.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces, local construction companies, guest teams from abroad and local volunteers spend up to one month completing their projects. In addition to featuring trends and icons from the previous year, this year’s snow sculptures also showcase famous architectural structures such as the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula in India and Malaysia’s Sultan Abdul Samad building.
One of the few things on my bucket list.
mom i dont wanna go to school i dont feel good
I had originally given up on trying to keep this going, but this was too good not to re-blog.
ONE-chan, as you may know, is the mascot for AIU. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to get the source files for this loveable mascot, so I had to draw one myself based on a google image search result. He was a rush job, but I don’t think he turned out half bad. Only 32 more hours until the UNI International Opportunities Fair. Fighting!
Exploring Kyoto’s Amanohashidate Sandbar (天橋立)
In the 17th century, Japanese scholar Hayashi Gahō is said to have declared the three most scenic views of Japan (日本三景): the islands of Matsushima, Hiroshima prefecture’s Itsukushima Shrine and, finally, the Amanohashidate sandbar in Kyoto.
With lush pine forests extending down to the expansive shoreline, Amanohashidate stretches nearly two miles across Miyazu Bay. Though most popularly viewed from the mountains on either side of the bay, the land bridge itself contains a small theme park and the Chion-ji Buddhist temple. The contrasts between forests and beaches have drawn local and visiting Instagrammers alike to stroll among the sandbar’s pine trees and document Amanohashidate’s beauty.
No more photos this week as I am too busy preparing for UNI’s International Opportunities Fair. AIU is a fairly new program, so a friend and I are making the display board from scratch.
If you are a UNI student, come to the fair! That way, my efforts will not be in vain and you will get to see some incredible opportunities as well.
AIU Matriculation Ceremony 2012
Photography by Julian Tirazona
While students in America were celebrating Labor Day last Monday, it was the first day of classes for students across Japan. Before classes start, it is traditional in Japan to hold an Opening or “Matriculation” Ceremony ― welcoming students to their new place of study. There you will see many of the university faculty and have some guest speakers give a dialogue. Since uniforms are no longer a requirement at the university level, attendees are expected to arrive in semi-formal attire (black suit with conservative black tie is best.)
That said, おめでとう (congratulations) to AIU’s newest students, and to students all over to globe for finishing their first week(s) of classes!
Believe it or not, less than ten panthers have taken advantage of this amazing opportunity. If you have an interest in learning the Japanese language and culture, I highly recommend you go to the UNI Study Abroad Center today and ask about Akita’s summer or semester programs!
Photography by Greg Stoll
Pictured above is the late Dr. Mineo Nakajima greeting a fresh batch of new international students.
Photography by AIU
When you go the full-exchange route you be facing a completely different experience entirely. Whereas the Summer Program follows a strict schedule, when you enroll at Akita International University as an exchange student you are given a lot more freedoms in regards to living arrangements, what classes you take, and the ability to join university clubs and organizations.
Classes are taught in English, and range everywhere from your standard economics class to the unorthodox like Dr. Darren Ashmore’s “Manga Mania” surveying Japanese animation from its roots to modern time.
Akita International University’s Komachi Freshman Dormitories
Photography by Tiffanny Ann Ledesma
Whether you are an exchange student or just there for the summer, you will be rooming with a freshman Japanese student. This works out great because they are just as nervous as you are and they are just as eager to learn English as you are to learn Japanese.
Like it or not, it’s a natural tendency for people to stick to “their own kind” and this arrangement breaks that habit and allows you to meet new people and, most importantly, make some friends!
PROTIP: Don’t be offended if your roommate doesn’t talk to you right away. Japanese tend to be very shy and reserved. Take the initiative to introduce yourself and engage in small talk whenever possible. Just saying ittekimasu (I’m heading out) and/or itterasshai (Ok. Have a nice day!) can go a long way.