Posted on July 31, 2015 by Kristy Poisson ’16.
Kristy Poisson '16 is a Delaware Valley University English major who blogged about her semester in Japan for DelVal during summer 2015. This post is about her last few days in Japan. Read her other posts here.
The end is looming. I have a day and a half left here in Japan and I just about can’t believe it. There is still so much I have left to see and do here, but I suppose that just means I’ll be coming back at some point in my future.
I finished up my classes at Sophia University last week. Finals were a bit strange though. Unlike at Delaware Valley University, where we have a completely different schedule set up for finals, with every class having their finals within the same week or so, Sophia simply had finals during class periods, within the normal schedule. It was also strange because, though my classes all had their finals during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday classes, some courses had finals up until the last day of our study abroad program, which was July 31. Luckily though, my friends and I finished our classes early and had a few days to travel and explore before it was time to start packing and getting ready to leave.
And so, last weekend, we journeyed up to Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan where the city of Sapporo is located. Hokkaido was beautiful and a great change of pace and weather from Tokyo and Honshu (Japan’s largest island). We stayed in a small guesthouse in Chitose, about 40 minutes from Sapporo. Our guesthouse was surrounded by a national nature reserve area. We spent one day exploring the reserve, hiking along some trails and taking a canoe trip around the lake. Though the weather was slightly rainy, the landscape was beautiful. We traded tall skyscrapers for soaring mountains and lush green trees.
The other day of our stay in Hokkaido, we traveled into Sapporo via bus and train. It was incredible that this city held a completely different vibe than Tokyo. It really put into perspective that even though Japan is such a small country, there is still a broad spectrum of diversity in lifestyles. Sapporo didn’t present the same sort of hustle-and-bustle that I had grown accustomed to in Tokyo. Maybe this was because the summer season had started, schools were let out on break, and many people travel to Hokkaido and Sapporo to vacation. While we were there, many music and food festivals were going on and so there was always a sense of easy-going good-times while we walked through the streets. We discovered many interesting places within the city, including a giant botanical garden run by Hokkaido University; a fish market abundant in crab; and a famous ramen street with lots of delicious ramen shops to choose from. Sapporo felt like an adventure was waiting around every street corner we turned, and the day was all-around exciting.
I am so happy that there was enough time for me to travel outside of Tokyo and the Kanto region. It was great being able to experience such a different place within Japan and understand the scope of the country and its different lifestyles and cultures. At the end of the day though, being able to experience any area of Japan is an amazing opportunity and I am so lucky to have had this experience.
As I sit here packing up my belongings and squishing them into suitcases, praying to God that they won’t be too overweight for the airline, I’m feeling both excited and nostalgic. Japan really has been an amazing adventure for me and I am so unspeakably happy that I was able to experience this wonderful country. On the other hand, I am really excited to be going back home to see how everyone has been doing these past four months. I can’t wait to share my stories of this spectacular semester.