Hi minna! My name is Angie and I have been studying at iJapanese now for around 12 months. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Health Sciences in Nutritional Medicine and I also work in after-hours recruitment which has me keeping strange hours and starting work at the ungodly time of 2am sometimes.
I guess my introduction to Japan came through TV and anime although that was some 30 years ago and I still am an enormous anime enthusiast today (otaku, haha!). From anime, my interest expanded into history, music, art and culture and the rest as they say is history! I had always wanted to learn Japanese at school however none of my schools offered Japanese as a subject and instead I got stuck with learning Italian and French. Fast forward to one year ago where I decided there is no time like the present and here I am at iJapanese!
This year, I finally visited Japan for the first time not once but twice which was AMAZING!! The first time I went was in winter (fuyu) with my partner and spent a month travelling around. I visited Tokyo, Kamakura, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hokkaido (Sapporo and Niseko) and Nagano. It was an amazing trip and I was certainly grateful for all the learning I did at iJapanese that allowed me to get around, ask questions and make new friends. I would have to say the highlights for me were going to the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, The Studio Ghibli Museum (which was smaller and way more crowded than what I anticipated – note to anyone planning to visit: go early in the morning and during the week!! It will still be busy but maybe less so then in the afternoon!) and the Ushiku Daibutsu in Ibaragi Prefecture. As I mentioned before, I have a great interest in Japanese culture and history and the Daibutsu in Ushiku is a little bit off the beaten track but well worth a trip out of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to see something truly awesome. It is actually the world’s tallest Bronze statue standing at total of 120 meters tall and can be seen from great distances away.
The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri is the annual snow festival and was also fantastic. There are so many sculptures to see and there are ice sculptors who travel from all over the world to display their amazing creations for a few days. The sculptures themselves vary from abstract, anime, western cartoon characters, animals and the atmosphere is fantastic. It’s also really cool to stroll around sipping hot sake from a glass flask and eating yakisoba in the snow. Hokkaido is a truly beautiful place and also having the opportunity to sit in an outdoor onsen with snow falling around you is such a truly unique experience. Not to mention the phenomenal amount of SNOW everywhere!!
Later in the year I was fortunate enough to win tickets to see one of my favourite Seiyuu (voice actor) groups perform in Kobe (thanks to Noriko san’s help filling out the application form) and was then able to purchase tickets to see my favourite Japanese Band Oldcodex play in Osaka so off I went again to Japan for just under 3 weeks in the summer. I was lucky to be able to catch up with both Yumiko san and Ayano san when I was over there which was great also. The concerts were AMAZING (Oldcodex were so awesome!!) and going to a “raibu” in Japan is certainly an experience that I hadn’t had before – Japanese audiences are certainly very genki haha!
It was great to see the contrast between the 2 seasons, everything was lush and green and added a completely different dimension to places that I had been to see in the winter time. I visited Miyajima, Hiroshima and Himeji Castle which were all incredible. Plus, further developing my understanding and knowledge of the language went along way and I have returned home having made new friends who I keep in regular contact with and will see again when I return next year (I miss Lawson sweetie treats, vending machine tea and curry! Oishiiiiiiiiiii)
Studying at iJapanese is truly a rewarding experience, I look forward to my classes every week and the learning environment is open, supportive and a lot of fun. All our teachers are fantastic and always put so much effort in to ensuring we get the most out of our classes.
Ganbatte Minna San!!