Exchange Students-Field Trips & Other Events(vol.3) - 明治学院大学 国際学部・国際学研究科 The Faculty of International Studies | The Faculty of International Studies at Meiji Gakuin University Exchange Students-Field Trips & Other Events(vol.3) - 明治学院大学 国際学部・国際学研究科 The Faculty of International Studies

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Field Trips & Other Events

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Field Trips & Other Events(2015)

Tohoku field trip & Other activities, 2015 Fall

Tohoku field trip

From November 2nd to the 4th, a number of exchange students from the UC and ISP programs along with a MGU student visited the Otsuchi and Kamaishi areas of Iwate to study the continuing effects of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

November 3 : Visit Otsuchi town
(Visit to the City Hall, a temporary shopping area, temples)
・Lectured by local NPO member (reconstruction plan and discussion) and a Buddhist priest at Kisshoji temple
・Workshop with local junior high school students who are going to study in US.

November 4 : Visit Kamaishi City & Chusonji temple
・Guided by a local volunteer in Kamaishi
・Visited the World Heritage Site, Chusonji temple

What did you learn from this tour?

Firstly, I learned that although human beings can form many incredible things, none of them can fully withstand the will of nature. One of the tour guides mentioned that many of the residents who lost their lives were too reliant on man-made things (e.g. the sea wall) to protect themselves from harm and didn’t comprehend the magnitude of this natural disaster. Secondly, I learned that education proved key in assuring the safety of many individuals, mostly kids in Kamaishi. It goes to show that an educated citizenry is pivotal to survival.
Although tedious at times, education has the ability to to give individuals, even small school children the tools to make life or death decisions in their own lives. Thirdly, that life is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted. You never know when your time is up, therefore life should be lived passionately and gratefully. Lastly, if you truly love someone and care about someone, let them know and let them know often. (Written by Koichiro)

Natural disaster education is the best way to prevent the loss of life. Technology can only do protect lives. Also, governments should gather open-ended information on attitudes on decisions, rather than force limited options on citizens who are struggling to rebuild after a disaster. (Written by Brian)

last updated on 2016.01.18

Other activities

Field Trip to Hiroshima, 2015 Fall

From September 11th to the 14th, UC students and Prof. Takahara’s seminar students visited Hiroshima to gain a better understanding of Japanese history.

They had an opportunity to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park, Okuno-shima (the site of a WWII era weapons plant), the Fukuromachi Elementary School’s Peace Museum and the Kure area. They also had an opportunity to hear of the experience of a survivor of the atomic bombing.

[ A student’s reflection on the trip ]

One of my main reasons for choosing this program is its Hiroshima field trip. For a really long time, I wanted to visit the famous red torii and the island of Okuno-shima. In the end, it certainly didn’t disappoint as this trip was one of the best experiences of my life.

We bonded with each other at 200mph on the Shinkansen.

We came to Japan for sushi, but we got something better: Okonomiyaki and Miyajima oysters.

We learned about the Hiroshima bombing through a guided tour of the memorial park in English and a seminar with an atomic bomb survivor.

We visited the island of Okuno-shima. It is popularly known for the hundreds of rabbits that now live there. However, we did not make the visit to play with the animals, but rather to learn about the poison gas manufactured there in WWII. Our friendly tour guide took us around the island and showed us the former facilities for the production of this terrible weapon. It was a moving experience, because we saw a site linked with the deaths of many war victims. Fortunately, the rabbits that followed us are a gentle reminder that despite what happened here, we can overcome past problems.

We took a trip the shrine on Miyajima Island. We walked all the way to the red torii at low tide, had a rest in an ancient wooden temple after lunch, and befriended the island’s curious deer.

We had a guided tour in the shipbuilding city of Kure and also visited the sunny hilltops.

We had hotel rooms (I got a single room!), Shinkansen tickets, guided tour, and museum tickets that were reserved and paid for by the program.

We got first-hand encounters with the friendliness and passion of the Japanese people.

We got to know one another and couldn’t ask for a better start to the program.

Every time I see the sunset, I remember the time when my newly-made friends and I left Miyajima before dusk. I still have waves of nostalgia and reminders of how perfect the trip was. I want to go back to Hiroshima with the friends I made there. (Written by Max)

last updated on 2016.01.19

The students also took an excursion to Miyajima.

Field Trip to Hiroshima, 2015 Spring

From May 15th to 18th, UC students and MGU students visited Hiroshima.

They had an opportunity to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park, Okuno-shima (the site of a WWII era weapons plant), the Fukuromachi Elementary School’s Peace Museum and Hiroshima Castle. They also had an opportunity to hear of the experience of a survivor of the atomic bombing.

[ A student’s reflection on the trip ]

There were many aspects about Japan that will hold a place in my heart forever. From having late night Ramen with friends, taking the train throughout the concrete Jungle known as Tokyo, to taking numerous field trips with the other study abroad students. Yet the one that I can remember the most vividly was our time spent in Hiroshima. This trip was full of wonder and adventure, yet there was also a deep seeded feeling of pain and loss there as well.

Though this was to be expected, traveling to the site of the first militarily utilized nuclear weapon. The experience was one that was greatly unexpected as well. Hiroshima now is a booming city with areas of ten story buildings that are interwoven by Hiroshima’s network of rivers. A bustling nightlife and Hiroshima style okonomiyaki made going out much different than anything I had experienced before. Within the first day we made our way to the Hiroshima world heritage site. The site was wide open with many middle school aged children in large groups most likely from all over Japan getting a chance understand their history. There were flowers everywhere; it was beautiful place. Within the museum we caught a glimpse of the horror and devastation that surrounded the nuclear bombing. It was quite a somber, yet enlightening sight. We heard a presentation by a hibakusha – or one who is afflicted with radiation poisoning. She had been a child during the bombing and gave us a vivid recapitulation of the event. We were deeply touched by the intensity of her situation after the bombing, and by her ability to stay strong even after such a terrifying event. On our trip we also went to Okuno-shima, an island known for its hundreds of free roaming rabbits. The island also had a darker past in that it was used for biological warfare development and testing during the Second World War. To see a place so beautiful and full of so much life, yet had once been used for so much death, was astonishing.

Finally we went to Miyajima, an island just outside of Hiroshima. Miyajima was absolutely stunning. The island was full of tourists, but it still managed to maintain its very traditional feel with small shops along a long strip just after the ferry drop off and countless temples and shrines. The island was also known for many free roaming – and quite frankly completely sociable – deer. I even managed to take a selfie with one. The food was incredible, some of the best oysters I have ever had.

Near the end of the trip we had a guest speaker that gave us a riveting lecture on nuclear weapons and his views on the future of nuclear power. The quality of the research and background he provided was worth more than can be measured. Hopefully those who also travel to Hiroshima will take away the same message: that all life is precious and nuclear weapons should in fact be fully reconsidered as a device to be used. Ultimately, Hiroshima was by far the most interesting aspect of my study abroad experience and can be yours too. (Written by Chris)

last updated on 2016.01.12

The students also took an excursion to Miyajima to see the famous Itsukushima Shrine.