Choose Obirin” “Why You Should Choose Obirin” By BSU participant Parsons- 2005- Tamara Parsons-Baker 1 academic year 2005-2006 University: Obirin is great. The campus is well sized with lots to do. There are a million and one clubs here you can join, whatever your interest, you’ll find a club to suit it. The students here are all very friendly and interested to speak English with any foreigners they see. The teachers really care that you do well here and you understand what you’re learning. The class sizes are small which accommodates a great learning environment, especially if you’re a beginner at the Japanese language. There are always lots of events, like drama and music performances and a few festivals too. It has all the facilities you need, including around 10 large computer rooms and an excellent library. Location: Location If you want to be near the action whilst having the peace and quiet to study and relax then Obirin is the university for you. The area around campus is peaceful, with a few social activities to keep you busy, karaoke, bars, restaurants. It gives you the peace you need to study and recover from your big nights out in Tokyo. The centre of Tokyo is less than an hour away on the train, which just enough time to crack a few beers out on the train. Also Obirin is right between Tokyo and Yokohama, Japans two largest cities, so if you get bored of one you can just pop next door and check out the other .The campus is rather green as well compared to most of Tokyo and in April the Cherry blossoms bloom which is beautiful. And on a fine day here you can see Mnt Fuji, which is pretty spectacular. Tamara (left) with friends and Mount Fuji in the background Convenience: The area around university is worth exploring. There are two main supermarkets, one of which sells everything in bulk and is cheap as chips. Convenience stores open 24hours for your midnight chocolate cravings or some hot food to warm you as you stagger back from a night on the town. A park, hairdressers, hardware store and plenty of second hand stores to root around in. Oh and some great little bars, izakaya, all you can eat and drink, and did I mention…karaoke? Price: Accommodation is approx the same amount you would pay a month living in Bath. But you will save a lot of money on food here. Also nights out are extremely cheap. There is a great izakaya (Japanese pub) near the station which is all you can drink and eat for two hours for about 10 pounds a person. There are a few Hyakuen (100 yen) shops, where you can get literally anything, including food, for 100 yen. Which is about 50 English pennies! A big discount warehouse full of all the booze you can imagine. Cheap fruit and veg stalls and a sushi bar where each plate is just 100 yen. In Machida there is bowling, cinemas and arcades which are also very cheap and a million department stores for all you accessorie dreams! Courses: There is wide range of courses on offer for the international students which are all taught in English. You will take a Japanese language class which is compulsory for all students enrolling in this program. What ever your language level these classes are essential as everything you are taught can be used outside of the classroom for ordering food, travel and generally just being able to communicate with the people of Japan. If you feel the class is too hard or to easy you can move to a different level of class which you feel is more suitable. Then you can choose what other subjects you would like to study throughout the week such as Japanese culture, drama, survival conversation and politics. Lots of these courses also offer day trips out to temples and museums. Program: The program has been established for a long time and is very structured. There are not as many international students here as in the national universities, and its because of this you form close friendships with the staff at the CIS office who are all extremely friendly and helpful. They arrange trips to for camping, skiing, and weekends out to hotspots in Japan. The price of these activities is very cheap, and sometimes free! Any problems you have CIS will have the answer. Entertainment: There is so much to do in Japan. As I mentioned before there are loads of clubs to join at the university. These are lots of fun and a great way to find new friends and pursue new and old interests. If you’re into music there is a huge music scene in Japan and you want to get yourself into the centre of Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shibuya are my personal favs, and you can discover the multitude of live music bars there. If you like clubbing then have your wits about you. There are loads of places that offer you free drinks/shots on entrance. I once left for a night out with ¥10,000 yen in my pocket and came back with the same crisp note, unspent, still in my wallet. Its rare to get a totally free night but there are lost of freebies to be had and all music genres are catered for from cheese to hardcore drum n bass. Of course theres karaoke, which you’ll find yourself doing more than you think while your out here and really any form of entertainment you can think of Japan has it, and usually at a very reasonable price. Experience: Finally (here comes the cheesy part!) it’s a great place to come for someone who is just interested in travel and a change of scene. Although at first Japan seems like a mammoth idea, an alien culture and a more alien language, it really is not a difficult country to get along in. Tokyo is foreigner friendly with loads of English signs, directions and speakers. Japan is the safest country I’ve ever been to and most importantly it provides a great learning experience. This place does not get boring, there is so much to see and it really will change your prospective on many things. It’s a place that will really open your mind and be such a worthwhile experience. I was only supposed to be here a semester but very soon after arriving I decided that it was just not enough time for me and decided to stay a year. However long your stay though your bound to want to come back at some point in your life, coming out here was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.