Adventures of a Lifetime by Ben Holschuh

After my week long break from school in Japan, things have really kicked into high gear.  I’ve been 100 kinds of busy in the past couple of weeks with exams, quizzes, homework, and travel, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My fellow foreign exchange students and I recently took an overnight trip to the history rich town of Nara, and some of the outlying areas.  It was a great experience in many ways.  The cultural importance of the places in Nara was just overwhelming.  You want to see the oldest wooden structure in the world?  Well I saw said 1,300 year old building both inside and out when I went to Nara.  How about the worlds largest wooden structure that houses Japan’s largest statue of Buddha?  Yeah, definitely got to see that too.  Maybe even a trip to the Ninja Museum of Iga villiage, birthplace of the Igaryu style of Ninjutsu.  Yes Ninja’s did actually exist, and this museum was more than happy to display the real tools tasks and everyday life of a Ninja; none of the made up stuff that popular culture has created.

The entire trip was a wonderful experience, and all of us got to see many of Japan’s great National Treasures.  I really wish I could’ve taken pictures, but they are a little sensitive about photography in most places.

Other interesting things I’ve done?  Well on said Nara trip I had my first experience in a public bath.  Man was that ever strange for an American to get used to.  Just taking a shot in the dark, but most people in America would find it weird for a whole bunch of men to sit down, bathe, and then get into a hot tub naked together, but not the Japanese… oh no.  Once the initial shock of it was over though, it really wasn’t that bad.  I just stopped caring after awhile, and after that it was actually a pretty relaxing experience.

I’ve been in Japan for a month and a half.  Just saying that seems surreal.  I’m sure it will only get stranger when I can say I’ve been here for 2 months, or even 3 months.  This is definitely the adventure of a lifetime and I don’t think I would ever want to trade it for anything.  Sure I’ve been in uncomfortable situations, I’ve had trouble fitting in (blonde haired and blue eyed people stick out like you wouldn’t believe here), but that’s all part of the experience.  Even if I’ve been here for so long already, I still have a lot to learn, and I look forward to it with an open mind and an open spirit.  This is sure to be the highlight of my university career.

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