月別: 3月 2020

It’s Cherry Blossom Season!

After the warm and boring winter in Tokyo, finally, spring is coming! Though this year the ICC Hanami event was canceled due to the coronavirus, you all still have plenty of choices to enjoy this beautiful season because the city is going to be filled with Sakura. You can find it in your neighbor’s garden, in your neighborhood park, school and anywhere.

Today, I am going to talk about my experience with Hanami in Tokyo.

Hearing the fame of the cherry blossom in Japan for a long time, I eventually was able to see it with my own eyes 3 years ago when I began my studies at Waseda University. During the spring of my freshman year, I was so excited about it. I visited most of the popular places and saw the joy Hanami brings to everyone. It is hard to tell whether one place is better than another, but I am going to list my personal Top 5 Hanami Places. This is all based on my own preference, and I welcome all of your opinions about your favorite Hanami place.

No. 5 Ueno Park

This is a really interesting place to visit especially in the evening. You will see lots of Japanese office workers sitting under the trees having drinking and welcoming parties. They are very well prepared with picnic sheets, tables, lights, food, drinks and sometimes even mini-refrigerators! I think the cherry blossom season at Ueno Park is a wonderful opportunity for foreigners to know about Japanese company network building and urban culture.

No. 4 Shinjuku Gyoen

Since Shinjuku Gyoen is a well-organized royal garden, besides cherry blossoms there are still many other scenery spots you can enjoy in the garden. Also because it charges an entry fee, there are fewer visitors than other free open spaces. My way to enjoy Shinjuku Gyoen is to bring my breakfast early in the morning, finding a place on the grass near a cherry tree and enjoying the food, sunshine and the peaceful cherry blossoms before the place becomes too crowded. The ideal time for breakfast at Gyoen is before 12:00 am.

No. 3 Kanda River

As a Waseda student, you definitely should not miss this beautiful riverside cherry blossom spot. It is also an alternative to the crowded Meguro River. But instead of making you feel like you’re at a scenic spot, Kanda River makes you feel relaxed and closer to the daily life of Japan. Most importantly, it is close to the campus which means you can casually drop by any time to enjoy the cherry blossom there when you come to school.

No.2 Meguro River

Getting off the train at Naka-Meguro Station, you can feel the popularity of this place immediately. Not only Japanese but tourists from all over the world urge to see the romantic pink Sakura arch along the Meguro River. At night, there are illuminations and it makes the whole place even more beautiful. If you are tired of being part of the crowd, there are lots of distinctive cafés and restaurants for you to enjoy the view and indulge your gourmet side at the same time.

No.1 Chidorigafuchi

If you are looking for a more breathtaking Sakura scene, you should never miss this place. Though there’s nowhere to sit under the trees and it’s usually very crowded, it’s totally worth it. You will be walking along the green-lined paths under the Sakura and watching the blossoms arch over both sides of moat of the Imperial Palace. Boating on the water surrounded by Sakura is also a way to enjoy the beautiful view if you are willing to wait in line for about 2 hours. There is illumination at night. The best part is that you can see Tokyo Tower from there, which makes you feel you are in the Tokyo of your dreams.

Honorable Mention: Rikugien Garden

I want to give an honorable mention to Rikugien Garden because it is quite different from other Hanami places listed above. Rikugien Garden is originally famous for traditional Japanese Garden instead of a Hanami place. However, they have special species of Sakura each tree of which is huge. The garden charges visitors at evening because they have illuminations for the whole garden. Seeing those breathtaking huge trees in the dark is kind of special experience for me.

Find and enjoy the beauty of this season!

Considering the current situation, it is better not to go to crowded Hanami places. You can save this blog for your TO GO LIST for next year. For this year, instead of heading to these popular places, you can try to explore somewhere else maybe just in your neighborhood. I think the excitement of Hanami is not only about where you go, but your feelings. If you are in a good mood and feel energetic, then anywhere would be the best spot for your Hanami. I am sure you will find the best place for you to enjoy the beautiful blossom.


T.L. (Student Staff Leader)

「ぼくはイエローでホワイトで、ちょっとブルー」から 読み取る多様性の奥深さ















S.Y. (Student Staff Leader)

Time is Passing Fast

Well February was a busy month for me, not because I had many shifts at the ICC during the holidays, but because there were also many other things happening.

Firstly, because time is moving on and I am going into my 2nd year of Graduate School, I feel as if I need to make the most of my time at Waseda, and at the ICC, meaning I want to work even harder. I am not sure if I am going to do Japanese job hunting yet, but this year I need to basically learn how job hunting works in Japan. Of course, I know the rules of what to wear and some of the manners but there are so many things that are different from my own country. For example, in Japan, everyone must do self-analysis (to find out what industry they are interested in) and write/prepare a PR statement that it meant to catch the interviewer`s eye. This concept is not so foreign to me, of course we must also explain why we want the job and how our strengths and weaknesses connect with the contents of the role, but the Japanese method feels a lot more detailed and requires more effort. Something I do not particularly like is that everyone basically wears the same thing and there aren’t many chances for individual applicants to show off their personalities (though this is slowly changing).

(and I recommend to take your C.V. photo at a photo studio like I did in Ginza, rather than using the photo booths at the station - Impressions are very important here!)

Another thing that happened is that I turned 24 years old. Naturally I had a good day spending time with friends, but it made me reflect a bit on my life. I am busy with university work, planning events at the ICC and improving my Japanese but there are also so many things I want to do. I studied in Korea before entering Waseda last year, and I have slowly forgotten many words and grammar patterns so I want to make a consistent effort to study a little every day, even if it is just 15 minutes. I learnt how to use Adobe Illustrator just so I could make better posters for our events and I really had fun, so I’ll continue to improve. Lastly, last year I learnt a little bit of programming so I want to fiddle around and make some small projects during my free time.

Sure, this might be a lot of work, it might even be too much work, but I think if you have the drive and willpower you can do anything! Rightly so, I am doing these things for my own satisfaction, but I am also doing them to make me more appealing when I inevitably do job hunting. I do not know if I will work in Japan, or what kind of job I will do but I hope I`ll be able to report back with good news later in the year! I hope job hunting will go well for everyone else, and they can get a job that they are truly happy in!

G.F (Student Staff Leader)







「リヨンの人形劇 ギニョール」







最後に、留学先のトゥールーズの紹介をしたいと思います。トゥールーズはオクシタニー地方にあります。ハンドクリームの「L’Occitane en Provence」というブランドを聞いたことがありますか?駅ビルやショッピングモールでよく見かけることがあると思います。訳すとプロヴァンスのオクシタンという意味になりますが、それぞれ南フランスに位置し、東がプロヴァンス、西がオクシタニーに分割できます。ニースやマルセイユに代表され、フランスの天国のような人気観光スポットとして有名なプロヴァンス地方に対し、あまり観光のイメージがないのがオクシタニー地方です。ヨーロッパ人のバカンスには欠かせないビーチがないこと、そしてパリから離れているのに加え、パリとトゥールーズの間は山が多く、TGVの直通運転がないことが観光地としての発展のマイナス要因となっています。しかし、トゥールーズはフランス第4の都市ということで人口が多く、農業が盛んで、ワインやチーズの産地があり、活気あるマルシェや蚤の市が開催され、世界的に評価されているキャピトル交響楽団やバレエ団を有し、フランスらしいものを一通り経験することができます。また、エアバスの本社があり、コンコルドなど航空史上重要な機体の展示をする博物館もあります。


フランスは一般に石造りの建物が多い中、トゥールーズ周辺は建物に適した固い石がとれなかったため、煉瓦づくりの建物がメインです。昔は煉瓦がオレンジ色だったそうですが、長い年月を経てピンク色になったということで、現在はピンク色の煉瓦の”La ville rose”(バラ色の街)と呼ばれるようになりました。フランスの中でも特にスペインに近く、冬も東京よりは暖かい街中には、テラス席の付いたレストラン・カフェがたくさんあります。バラ色の街並みに囲まれながら、現地の食材を使った郷土料理をテラス席で味わえたら、最高の思い出が作れると思います。


「トゥールーズの郷土料理 カスレ」



À bientôt!


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