September 15th had come around and my first full day in Japan had begun. This day was filled with new things as I continued to learn the ropes. First we had breakfast at the hotel in the morning. I tried some of the different food there, got some practice with hashi (Chopsticks for the layman), and chatted with some of the other CSU students there. After that it was time to make the walk to campus. Unlike the US, where you have to drive to reasonably get around anywhere, walking and using the transportation system is quite the norm in Japan. In the case of this day, our hotel was in walking distance of the Waseda campus, thus we hoofed it. I got to see some of the sights on the way to the campus, took about 25 minutes to get there.
From there we had orientation, we got a bit of an overview of what is up with the program. This particular orientation was for us CSU students given by the resident director and the program associate. This orientation gave various information such as some basic info on Waseda, like that it was established in 1882, that there is about 59,500 student (Quite a large amount I know), and the various schools at Waseda. Further detail was given on the school we would be attending, SILS, the School of International Liberal Studies, such as it starting as an international division in 1965, being called the Center for International Education or CIE. It has now been known as SILS since 2004 with about 30% foreign faculty. The types of students were also discussed, in my case I am a SP3, a one-year international student. We were given the basic contact information we needed, the rules and regulations, some information on the CSU group activities, and info to consider about Japanese culture and society.
There was then a knock at the door, it was some of the Waseda students. It was time for the campus tour. We wandered around a bit. They showed us a few of the buildings, told us some little facts and tidbits. At this point though, it was a little much to take in all at once, so I still hadn’t gotten my bearings around the campus yet. This would wane in time though. From there we had to go to the welcome lunch, this was basically another orientation information session, this time hosted by Waseda itself. Lunch consisted of little sandwich pack with a variety of different types in a single box and a box of juice. We then got a lot more information and forms to fill out, all the papers we got was a little overwhelming. After surviving through it, I had to go to a homestay interview, which had me filling out a questionnaire and then being interviewed by the program associate to help her decide which host family to place me with. The results would come another day however.
After that I met with more Japanese friends, talked with them a bit, then the gave us another little tour. I busted out my portable speakers and did some dancing. I was quite the hit, the Japanese students enjoyed it immensely. This would be the first of many times and likely the start of my imminent legend at Waseda, bwahahahaha!
That covers my day for the most part. From there we were to have dinner with just the CSU students, the resident director, and program associate. That shall be saved for the next post though…