When I first arrived in Japan it was hot and extremely humid. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area meant that I didn’t really pack many clothes to be comfortable in that type of weather. Most of what I had brought were pants, sweatshirts, and jackets. I remember walking around Japan in September wishing that it would end, hoping that it would get colder and less humid. Fast forward four months, I got my wish, however it is a bit colder than I expected. This being my first Winter in Japan I get to experience not only the weather but the festivities and events that only happen here in Japan.
Back in the states Christmas starts in December right after Thanksgiving day. But here in Japan, because there is no Thanksgiving, it’s pretty much just two solid months of Christmas. So what is there to do? One of the most popular activities during the Winter season in Japan is viewing illumination. Pretty much Christmas lights wrapped on things like structures and trees. I was lucky enough to get to see the annual “Kobe Luminarie,” where they put Christmas type lights on structures for blocks as well as commemorate the Kobe Earthquake. In addition, I was able to see the world’s largest natural Christmas tree in Kobe!
I am so glad that I chose to come to Japan for my study abroad journey. The Winter holidays have been very cold but very exciting. There is still so much for me to see here in Japan, not just here in Kansai but all over Japan! Many of the things I have done and seen wouldn’t have been possible with out the Gilman Scholarship that I received. I cannot stress enough how important it is to apply even if you are not really sure you will receive it.