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corine in japan

Coming home

Not even a week ago I was in Tokyo, stressing about my finals. Now, I find myself back in my usual UCM tutorials, leading discussions and making problem statements. It’s a really weird feeling, rolling right back into life as I knew it in Maastricht. Mostly it’s good, seeing friends and family again and getting some of the food I’...

The Sudden Soft Power Overkill

While most exchange students by now have safely returned to Maastricht, I still have a couple of weeks to go, writing exams and giving presentations. Heading into my first week of finals, I had set one goal for the day: to get a good start on my presentation about Soft Power in America and Japan. I really like this topic, because it’s somewhe...

Aaah, Ringo!!

In Japan, it is tradition to go to a temple in the first few days of the year to ask for good luck in the upcoming twelve months. Many high school students ask whether they may please be allowed into the university of their choice, some college students ask for good grades or finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. I went with a group of students ...

Eyelid tape

Asian beauty ideals can sometimes be slightly weird. I’ve heard stories of operations in China to make your legs longer. South Korea has the highest number of plastic surgeries relative population, and getting a nose job as a graduation present is not unheard of. Japan seems to be a bit less extreme in all of this. However, here too the infl...

Cycling in Kyoto

Although I love life in Tokyo in general, there are still some things I miss from the Netherlands. I’d like to be able to eat a nice dark slice of bread in the morning, or go for a big bag of Belgian fries every now and then. More than all that, I miss my bike. Having a subway system at your service is very nice, but it’s also crowded,...

Being a giant

In this column I’ve already talked a few times about the difficulties of being a Dutch person in Japan. There’s the weird walking patterns, there’s the politeness rules. But something way more obvious, which I haven’t talked about yet, is being a giant amidst Asians. It so happens that I am rather tall even for a Dutch perso...

Santa is coming to Tokyo

It feels a bit early to talk about Christmas, but like in most countries that are not familiar with the wonders of Sinterklaas, Christmas decoration and promotion starts early in Japan. Right after Halloween the Santa costumes were ready in the stores, and invitations for Christmas-themed parties are now trickling in slowly but steadily. All the wh...

J-Pop & Karaoke

Before coming to Japan, I expected karaoke to be a substantial part of my life here.  However, though everyone seems to be doing it all the time, after two months I still hadn’t come around to it. What I did do in the meanwhile, though, was looking at large groups of 15-year old girls prancing around in miniskirts and bikini’s, bec...

The walk of shame

I have always sworn to never, ever be seen in Crocs, dead or alive. However, this week I was forced to break that promise, as I was the victim of a Japanese tradition. In many Japanese homes, you take of your shoes before you enter. Room slippers are everywhere, and it is not weird at all to walk around in them wherever people want to keep their f...

An all-men’s cheerleading team

Imagine a university with a high number of dance clubs. Jazz dance, International dance, traditional Japanese dance, cheerleading…  Now imagine how many guys would join these kinds of clubs in the Netherlands. Maybe 10 per cent? Surely not much more. At Waseda, I visited the yearly school festival. All of the university’s cl...

Partying until the early… evening

Last Friday, my dancing club organised a Halloween party. Fully dressed up as a cat and having payed 2500 yen (20 euro) for a ‘nomikai’ (all you can drink for a limited time), I was ready to go. However, partying in Japan is quite different partying in the Netherlands. It already starts with the timing of events: because many students c...

Sorry, I’m a foreigner

In two of my newly started courses, I am the only non-Japanese student. Luckily the teachers stick to English, but despite this, I can’t help but feeling I’m the odd one out. When a question is asked and I have an opinion or an answer, I speak up (PBL has trained me for this). But, for Japanese students the strategy seems to be nodding ...

Japanese Business Idea

In the Netherlands, especially during events like INKOM, it is common for associations and companies to load students with flyers. Sometimes you accept them out of interest, sometimes because they’re practically pressed into your hands, but after a week, maybe two, the flyers will be long forgotten. At the start of the new semester at Waseda...

To the left, right?

A lot of things seem really complicated in Japan. Eating with chopsticks, the traditions for sumo wrestling, the kimono’s… In most cases, either I can probably get used to the difficulties, or I will never have to. However, even after weeks of daily practice, I still have no idea how to adept to the Japanese sidewalk culture. Result: I...

Mastering the local customs

UCM-student Corine Schuuring (20) writes about her experiences as an exchange student in Tokyo, Japan. This week she's mastering the art of slurping.

The quest for breakfast

UCM-student Corine Schuuring (20) writes about her experiences as an exchange student in Tokyo, Japan. This week she's doing Japanese groceries for the first time.

From the ta-a-mi-na-ru to the ba-su

In this new series UCM-student Corine Schuuring (20) will write about her experiences as an exchange student in Tokyo, Japan.