Category Archives: City Life

An interactive experience in Abiko City

Ken with his host family

By Ken, Participant of session 3, from Norway

The day started off with our host families dropping us off at Kinrin Center. We were visited by Mr. Junichiro Hoshino, the mayor of Abiko City! We were taught about Abiko city’s culture and history, like its famous bird museum, literary masters, Tone River, and its annual fireworks festival! We were even visited by the town’s mascot: Unakichi-San. Much of the history of Abiko City is actually represented in Unakichi-San! He is an old gentleman, referring to the old literary masters in Abiko, and an eel, an allusion to how eel caught in Tone River was considered to be the best, fetching the most handsome price.

Later on, we were able to experience traditional Japanese street performances firsthand, everything including the refined and elegant “kappore” (かっぽれ), to the mesmerizing and grand “Nankin Tamasudare” (南京玉すだれ), an art that is said to have been developed during the Edo Period (1603-1867), rooted in Buddhist tradition. “Nankin Tamasudare” uses loosely woven bamboo sticks to create extraordinary shapes by twisting, folding and extending the sticks to create interesting shapes! After the performance, we were even taught how to use the sticks, finishing with us trying to do the performance too.

Lastly, we learned how to create Mickey Mouse through Balloon Art! I personally struggled with the balloons, as they kept popping haphazardly, scaring me half to death, however, everyone eventually managed to successfully build it, resulting in a satisfying conclusion.

It’s definitely an experience that I, along with the host families and WCI, will remember!

Oyama Hike, Shrine Visit, and City Hall Seminars 2023

Henry Carries the Pilgrims' Wooden Blade
Henry Carries the Pilgrims’ Wooden Blade

By Henry, Participant of Session 2, from Norway

Today might be one of the most exciting and tiring days so far in session 2. It started off with us visiting the most known part of Isehara, Mt. Oyama. I decided to make the smart choice and take the cable car to the shrine we were visiting, Oyama Afuri, rather than taking the 45-minute hike up the mountain in the 30+ degree weather (While we were waiting for the ones who chose to hike, we got ice cream, but we were told to keep that a secret to prevent them from getting jealous, so shhh). At the shrine, we got to experience a Shinto ceremony, and we learnt a lot about Shintoism and the history of the shrines on Mt. Oyama. For lunch we stopped at a ryokan not too far from the Oyama cable car, where we got served tofu prepared in a vast variety of ways. I’m not usually a massive fan of tofu, but the expertise and variety made the dish an experience, and a delicious one at that.

Discussions with the City Hall Officers
Discussions with the City Hall Officers

After our excursion to Oyama, we went to city hall, where we met with city officials. Together we watched two of our counsellors give presentations on the livability of cities in the Netherlands and Joensuu, a city in Finland. The most interesting part of the visit however, was after the presentations, when we got split into groups and got to properly introduce ourselves to some of the city officials. We were all a bit shy at first, but quickly opened up to each other, before we all shared what our favorite aspect of our own cities were. We participants got to learn about Isehara, and the city officials got ideas on how to improve the livability of a city from all around the world.

At the end of the day, we got to try out replicas of samurai armor. This was the highlight of the day in my opinion. With a katana being part of the outfit, we got some absolutely amazing photos, and some great laughs with friends as we did cool and silly poses. It was a chill and fun way to cap off a great first activity day in a new city.

Ueda School Visit 2023

Sara waving goodbye to the students

By Sara, Participant of Session 2, From USA

Today we visited several schools in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. While visiting Daisan Junior High School, we were met with such an extreme amount of kindness and energy from the students! The students made us feel welcomed into their school through their excitement and made conversations feel natural even through the language barrier. The students were also very knowledgeable on the topics we were given and showed that they had put lots of time into preparing for our discussion. It truly was an amazing experience as it was my first time visiting a school outside of the United States. I hope that we left as good of an impression on them as they left on us and that World Campus is invited to visit again in the future!

Ninja Experience 2023

By Lizzie, Participant of Session 1,2, and 3, from USA

This week we did a ninja experience in Akame. Akame was historically the place for Iga Ninjas to train. For that reason, there’s a place for tourists to experience ninja training. We each chose our own ninja uniform and set off for training.

Each activity imitated the skills needed to break into a fortress or attack an enemy. For example, we started with the wall climb. Though some of us may have gracefully jumped over the 3 increasingly tall walls, I certainly did not. Afterwards we did an activity where we balanced our bodies horizontally on a rope and pulled ourselves along. Being smaller definitely helped with this activity.

Then we moved onto skills for attacking enemies: shuriken throwing and blowdart blowing. Though none of us had the accuracy of a ninja, it was easy enough for most to hit the board. It was quite satisfying to hit the target.

Last was the infamous river crossing. I had heard a lot about this activity and how hard it was, but for some reason believed I would be successful. To complete the activity, you needed to balance your feet on two round floats and pull yourself to the other side with a rope. I was very much humbled when I couldn’t even get on the floats without falling into the river. In the end only one person was able to make it across. Even with our failure, we each received a scroll confirming us as ninjas.

We spent the remainder of the day enjoying the nearby beautiful Akame 48 falls. This day was a fan-favorite among the group members.

Jikei Hospital Baby Hatch

By Jada, Participant of Session 1&2&3, From USA

Jada visiting the baby hatch

Today we had a special experience visiting the first and only baby hatch in Japan at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto City. We were given a tour by the wife of the head of the institution, and as a group of diverse national and personal backgrounds, we had a good discussion session with the hospital representatives and shared insights regarding adoption and baby post systems in the world.

The hatch at Jikei Hospital, named the “Stork’s Cradle,” was made to provide support for parents whom, for different reasons, decide to give away their children, and care for the abandoned babies. The reasons of the giving away of the baby at the hatch include lack of money to raise a baby, not being married, result of an affair, etc. Originally this hospital was created in 1897 to cure leprosy, but at the time leprosy was incurable and patients stated they were treated horrible. This then eventually changed to the Jikei hospital that it is now to a women’s hospital. The Hatch was added in 2006 after having problems with mothers leaving children in areas where they would die. The goal of the hatch is to either bring the mother of the child to reach out for help or to lead the child into an adoption agency.

Inside the hospital they have the maternity station and the nurse’s station. In both areas they have a blue alert signal to notify when a baby has been dropped off. When a baby is dropped off multiple nurses will run down the stairs to get there within seconds to treat the baby as needed. There is even an oxygen tank next to it just in case the baby would need support. If by chance the child needs a doctor, they have a doctor on call for 24-hour assistance and all nurses are trained regularly to make sure they meet the needs of the child whenever needed.

This hospital is very unique with the baby hatch being what they are known for, but also having a great maternity unit and making sure they meet the needs of each woman who might be pregnant and carrying for their child.