My name is Brian Doyle and I will be leaving my home for several months for the first time. As an International Business student, I believe without the ability to communicate and understand a culture in its home location, the culture is excluded and immersion cannot be attained. Therefore I plan to participate in Japanese business and language courses, studying the traditional Japanese life style, and understanding how globalization impacts cultures outside the United States.
I will be attending Kwansei Gakuin University located in Osaka, Japan. Their classes offer a unique way for foreign students, such as me, to learn the Japanese business, economic and political structure firsthand. Also, this offers a great opportunity to break out of the routine students follow semester after semester at their home college.
Living with a Japanese host family is another personal goal I want to challenge myself with. Boarding with a family provides an unmatched opportunity to speak Japanese and learn Japanese customs. This experience may strengthen my values or it may cause me to modify or abandon them and embrace new concepts and perceptions. I expect that encountering another culture will enable me to see the culture outside the United States through new eyes, providing a unique opportunity for reflection upon my return home.
I will be leaving the United States in December 14th 2010, three months prior to my study abroad school experience that starts on March 28th 2011. For the first three months I will travel to Japan, South Korea, and China to learn, cultivate, create and understand the world and myself. Please join me for the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad times that I will embark upon from this journey.
April 10th 2011
I want begin with saying I had the best rain ride so far in Japan. With that being said, let’s move on to the real events. I had a lot on my plate for today. First was the Kinkakuji Pavilion, then Ryoan-ji Temple, followed by Sanjusangendo then finish with Hanatoro festival at Yasaka-Jinja Shrine. The day began at Kyoto train station. This actually led me to the visitor center where I picked up an all day bus pass for ¥500. This was a good deal cheaper than riding each time for ¥220. Kaori has always been a good planner and I wanted to learn from her skills. With that in mind I planned my whole day out from times, to cost, to locations and even distances as well as transportation ideas. I always carry a book ... read more
March 31st 2011
I think today was the earliest I have woken up in Asia! Kaori and I had a flight time of 7am but we needed to get to the station and get our bags checked so we were up and ready to hit the airport at 4:00am. The flight was good for the most part and I enjoyed the final pictures of China's landscape. When Kaori and I arrived in Japan the first thing we both did was take a deep breath in and out. The clean air was refreshing and it felt good to be back “home” and ready for my next adventures in Japan. Nothing really special happened today but in light of something to talk about I will add my final thoughts for the trip. I have mentioned in a lot of my blogs ... read more
March 30th 2011
Today is the last full day in China and I really wanted to go out with a bang. One of the largest attractions and one of the largest structures in the world is the Great Wall of China. I planned on visiting a section called Mutianyu which is located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. Built mainly from granite, the pass at Mutianyu is an appropriately unique section of the Great Wall. 7 to 8 meters high, and 4 to 5 meters high with crenellations ... read more
March 21st 2011
Before I arrived at the Bell and Drum Towers I had a chance to walk around the area and on Xi’an Street. The sights and sounds are sometimes almost overwhelming. Never have I seen such a place that people would ever consider a place to live, let along call it home. It is a travesty that I still to this day cannot comprehend. Stores and abandon buildings look very similar, the only difference is that one has a bright LED light in the front and the other doesn’t. I couldn’t help but wonder around and find myself in the exact location that I came out from at the station. The neighborhood is complex and has a life of its own. I can feel the people around me; some have a heart of gold and wish the ... read more
March 21st 2011
I must have walked more today than I ever have in Minnesota. I wanted to travel around as much as I could before I needed to leave so I packed the Yonghegong Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Drum and Bell Tower and finally Lotus Lane into one day. The first visit of the day was to the Yonghegong Lama Temple. Yonghegong is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. I stated before that China has a much larger scale of temples and tourist locations and this was another location that seemed to stretch for miles. There were indeed a lot of tourist in the area and I had no trouble finding direction or figuring out what was what since the signage was in English. The opening gates are just like every ... read more
March 15th 2011
My name is Brian Doyle and I was present during the earthquake and tsunami that took place on March 11th, 2011. Currently, I am located in Osaka, Japan roughly 386 miles away from Sendai where the earthquake epicenter is located. Lucky Osaka area was not affected by the earthquake or tsunami disaster. I have received hundreds of emails asking if the area is alright and other who were looking for friends a family. I was able to contact many of those who emailed and assured them that things are ok in Osaka. Our efforts are now concentrated on relief for Japan and fund raising events. Fellow students and I have started a relief fund at my college back in the United States and would be great appreciative if you were to contribute in any way to ... read more
March 14th 2011
As for today and the past two days, the Osaka Region was completely unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami that occurred several days ago up in north eastern Japan. Life has continued as per normal here with public transportation and stores open and running on schedule. I would recommend avoiding any unessential travel to Tokyo and the surrounding areas. Here in Japan, we are only able to go by the news that is presented on the television and through other forms of mass media. From what I can tell, international news agencies throughout the world are getting updates of the situation at around the same speed as us here in Japan. For this reason, I am not able to give you much more of an update as to what is currently happening. I sincerely hope that ... read more
March 11th 2011
This is my first experience with an earthquake or any sort of thing like this. I have never experienced anything like this before. I have only lived in Japan for just over 3 months but over that period there have been no reports of earthquakes or tsunamis. I am currently located in Osaka, Japan and the reports stands with minor quakes in the area with no sever damage to houses or buildings. Luckily, my host family and I are inside the southeastern sector of Japan far enough away from any large threats of tsunami damage or flooding. The ground rolled for about two to three minutes and felt like waves of water washing over the house. It may have been 2 minutes but it felt like forever before the grounds finally stood still. There was a ... read more
March 8th 2011
Kaori was very anxious for today since we were going to the only place she wanted called “Lu Xun’s Museum”. The Museum was somewhat difficult to find except that if you wonder around eventually there is a stainless steel sign that points you in the right direction. This was the only museum visit that was planned throughout the entire trip, so I was interested to see what kind of place this would be. The entrance is free and the exhibit was well coordinated and extremely well kept. Kaori was excited to see this because she read a book published by Lu Xun when in school. Here is a brief history lesson about Lu Xun and his importance to Chinese literature and history. Lu Xun is one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Considered ... read more
March 5th 2011
Today is our second day in China and already we have plans to travel to the Summer Palace, Eat local foods and check out what Beijing shopping has to offer. Before I get started, I wanted to add a quick note to the readers. My last blog drew towards a pessimistic side to China without giving it a second though. After a few days to reflect and think about the China trip as a whole my final conclusion is that I had one of the best times in Asia. There is always some good and some bad that comes with traveling, but the important thing to look at it in a positive and optimistic light and take each day with new stride. Although I have only been in Asia for the past two months I have ... read more