Week 6 ❀

Hey guys! Well. I finished my last week at the Aoyama Gakuin Chat Room and honestly it feels so surreal. I kept thinking that I’ll be going back to work next Monday but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Anyway, my last week was pretty great and I got to do some fun things before leaving!

My chat session with some residents on Monday!

Monday was the same as every other Monday. We spent half of the day at the elementary school and then the other half doing sessions. However, this time we were able to attend the morning chapel service at the elementary school for the first time and it was an amazing experience. The students sang beautifully and everything was so well structured. I enjoyed it a lot. We also gave a presentation to the fifth grade classes and said some final thoughts about our time with them. Afterwards, we took pictures with them.

On Tuesday, Danielle and I had to help out with the English classes at the university. Afterwards, we went to the elementary school at the end of the day to play games with the English club. There were a large number of students that day and they were extra rowdy. But that just made it all the more fun for me! After work, Danielle and I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to get one last view of the whole city.

On Wednesday, we spent almost the whole day at the junior high school. The students were nice as always. One of them even asked for our social media so that he can continue to practice his English with us :’) ! We said our goodbyes to the teachers there and then finished the day with a session at the Chat Room. After work, Danielle and I hung out in Shibuya with our friends Yurika and Satone. We went to this awesome ramen shop that Satone likes and then walked around, talked, and shared some laughs. This was my last day hanging out with Satone outside of school and I’m sad that I had very little time with her.

On Thursday, we gave a presentation at the Chat Room during lunch time. We talked about our experiences at the Chat Room as well as the elementary, junior high, and high schools. Afterwards, we socialized with some of the university students and took a picture together. We then had a couple of sessions before ending our day at work. After we finished, I saw Satone one last time and had dinner with her and her friend at the school cafeteria. We agreed to keep in touch and said our very last goodbyes. Afterwards, I hung out with Danielle, Caleb, and some other friends for the rest of the day.

We spent our entire last day at the elementary school and it was so fun. We gave more presentations to the other fifth grade classes and took pictures with them. We also had lunch with the students for the first time and it was really enjoyable. The students served each other and the food was delicious (American schools need to step up their game). Afterwards, we were able to go outside and play with the kids right after lunch. Then we helped out in the classrooms until club time. During English club, we gave our final presentation and then played with the kids until it was time to go home. We said our goodbyes to the teachers and the students. Then we went back to the chatroom and said goodbye to our supervisors. It felt surreal that my internship was officially over. I still felt like I was going to return to work the next Monday. After work, we hung out with some friends in Shibuya and then went home to pack.

Danielle and I hanging out with our friend Yurika one last time.

And that concludes my time here in Tokyo. I truly enjoyed every moment of my internship. I made some awesome friends and had a meaningful experience at the Aoyama Gakuin Chat Room. I’m going to miss everybody as well as my time at this internship. Thank you to everybody who made my experience unforgettable. Goodbye!

Week 5 ❀

Hey guys! I completed my second to last week and it feels so surreal. This week was a pretty awesome week because it was the week of my birthday!!! I also had a good week at Aoyama Gakuin.

On Monday, We spent the first half of the day at the elementary school and, of course, I enjoyed it. After that, we only had one session and then we went back to the elementary school during club time. I thought it was a wonderful way to start the week because the children always make me happy to work at Aoyama! After work, Danielle, Caleb, and I went to another Onsen with our friends Lizette, Monica, and Ian (also IWU students interning in Japan). It was so fun! This onsen was really big and they provided yukatas for you to wear. There were also games and lots of food to try!

On Tuesday, Caleb and I had to go to several English classes at the university to help out. We also gave the students the opportunity to ask us any questions about ourselves and our lives in the U.S. That was mainly what I did that whole day. I only had to do one session at the end of the day so it was pretty chill!

On Wednesday, I had to go to Sagamihara and it was really nice. I assisted a teacher in his class and then had a few sessions afterwards. That day was also pretty laid-back so there isn’t much else for me to talk about.

On Thursday, it was just another regular day at the Chat Room. I just had sessions and my Japanese chat session. On this day, I had to play a game with the basic level group that lasted the whole session. I was assigned to come up with a game that helps them practice their English. I decided to have them play Two Truths and a Lie and it worked out really well! I also enjoyed my Japanese session. We went over verbs and made a competition to see who can name the verbs the fastest.

On Friday, we spent the whole day at the Elementary school it was fun as always! We just did the same thing we usually do but I still enjoyed every moment!

On Saturday, we decided to go to Machida, which is right by Sagamihara. It’s a nice place to buy affordable clothes and eat some cheap food.

Now for THE BEST part of this week which is my BIRTHDAY!!! Sunday was my birthday so I made the decision on what to do that day. I decided to go back to Asakusa so that I can buy and wear a yukata and take pictures.

Then, we went to Yokohama and met up with some friends that I made from Sagamihara! We went to the Red Brick Warehouse, which is a cool place to buy souvenirs, and Cosmo World which is an amusement park. It was so much fun hanging out with my friends and exploring somewhere that we haven’t been.

That’s it for this week! It was more laid-back compared to the previous weeks, which was unusual. But I really enjoyed it and I had an amazing birthday that I’ll never forget!

Week 4 ❀

Hey guys! We finished week 4 and it was a fairly decent week. On Monday we spent half of the day at the elementary school. After lunch we had a resident session and then went back to the elementary school to play games with the children. On Tuesday, it was just me and Danielle because Caleb had to go to Sagamihara for the day. We had sessions as usual and then went to the elementary school at the end of the day. After work, we met up with another Illinois Wesleyan student who’s interning at Second Harvest in Japan. We showed our friend Ian around Shibuya and had bubble tea together. On Wednesday, I was able to work with the junior high school students for the first time and it was great. It was a little challenging for me at first because I didn’t know how much English they could understand, but I was able to quickly adjust. I had a lot of fun with the students. On Thursday, Danielle, Caleb, and I held a cultural event, which was the highlight of this week. We had to talk about or do any activity related to American culture. We decided to teach them the Cha Cha Slide. We also made rice krispy treats and cake pops. The event was a big success. Everybody had a lot of fun and they loooved the treats we made!

After the event, we had our Japanese chat session and it was fun. Our chat leader went over Japanese onomatopoeia words with us and it was very interesting. My favorite onomatopoeia word was “fwah fwah”, which basically describes something being soft.

On Friday, we had other Illinois Wesleyan friends from different internships visit us for the weekend. I was able to see my friend Lizette, who’s interning in Gunma. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures with her. But I brought her to see Shibuya on Saturday and we went to an art museum in Roppongi on Sunday. It was a lot of fun!

That’s it for this week. Honestly, this week was the least eventful compared to the previous weeks so this was a very short blog post. But I still a fun time! Hopefully the next two weeks will be more eventful!

Week 3 ❀

I’m sad to say that we’re already halfway through our internship. So far, I’ve been having a wonderful experience at Aoyama Gakuin. On Monday, we went to the high school for the very first time and it was great. The teachers had the students ask us questions about ourselves, our hometown, American culture, etc. We also had the chance to ask them some questions about their own culture and lives. The students were very kind and fun to talk to. They seemed really excited to talk to us and that made me very happy! Several were a little shy or struggled to ask their questions in English. But for the most part, they spoke very well and the conversations ran fairly smoothly.

The next day, we had to go back to the high school. This time, the teachers wants us to give a presentation about ourselves and our college lives. Afterwards, they had the students ask us questions, similar to the day before. Later, we went to the elementary school and, of course, I had so much fun. The children are now more familiar with us, so they started loosening up a bit, which is great.

On Wednesday, I went to the Sagamihara campus by myself and I had a pretty good time. I first assisted in this class for students who had to repeat their English classes. They were very shy and less engaged than most students I’ve chatted with. However, they were still really kind and I didn’t have a hard time with them like I thought I would.

On Thursday, I went back to doing sessions at the usual Aoyama campus and it was very tiring. I had many sessions and we also did our Japanese session with a Japanese chat leader.

Our Japanese session!

This week we had our 3 day weekend (Friday-Sunday) and we desperately needed it. Even though this job is super fun, it can also be super draining. Our supervisor knew this and gave us an opportunity to rest and explore more of Japan. We definitely took this opportunity and had the best weekend here so far!

On Friday, we decided to go to Kamakura, a city right outside of Tokyo. We originally wanted to go to Kyoto, but it’s much farther away and it’s way more expensive getting there. We went to Kamakura instead because it’s closer and it’s referred by many people as “Little Kyoto”. I’m glad we went because it was an awesome experience!

These were just some of the many pictures I took there. All of these pictures (except the first one) was taken at Hasedera, a Buddhist temple. As you can tell, it was raining that day, but we didn’t mind at all! This place was so gorgeous and, in my opinion, the rain only added to its beauty. After visiting the temple, we decided to go to an onsen, which is basically a hot spring. It was a nice way to end the day, because you get to jump into a nice hot bath after spending the whole day in cold rain. To top it off, we ate some really good food for dinner. When I got back to my room, I immediately passed out on my bed and had the best sleep of my life. On Saturday, we decided to go to Asakasa!

Located in Asakasa is Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. In front of the temple gate was lines of shops with tasty snacks and cool souvenirs! There also a lot of restaurants and other shops around the area, as well. Other popular places in Asakasa are Skytree, the tallest building in Japan, and the Golden Turd (yes, you read that correctly). Unfortunately, we didn’t see either, but maybe we will see them before we leave!

Finally, on Sunday we just decided to sleep in and have a lazy day. For dinner, we went to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, which was so cool! They basically put the sushi on the conveyor belt and you just grab whatever you want to eat. You keep the plates that you grab because that’s how the cashier knows how much to charge you. Be sure to check what plates they’re on because different plate designs mean different prices. For example, a red plate with a white flower design means that the sushi on that plate is worth 110 yen. A white plate with a golden design means that the sushi on that plate is worth about 260 yen.

That’s it for this week. I hope that the last 3 weeks don’t fly by (knocks on wood)…

Week 2 ❀

Hello! So week 2 is over and I’m surprised at how fast it went. It’s making me a little sad because that means the next 4 weeks might quickly come and go and I don’t want that! I’m having a blast in Tokyo and I really like my internship so far. Similar to last week, my days mainly consisted of having several sessions and working on assignments that are given to me. I also went to the elementary school on Monday and Friday and the junior high school on Wednesday. Working with the children is so much fun, but also a little frustrating sometimes because there’s a bigger language barrier between them and me. It’s times like that where I wish I knew more Japanese! I’m trying to learn more Japanese during my time here, so hopefully that’ll help mitigate that problem. Despite that, working with the children is still my favorite part of the job!

I also went to the Sagamihara campus for the first time this week and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought! Getting there took a lot longer than I thought it would so I was almost late. Make sure to leave 1.5 hours prior to the start of your shift instead of 1 hour! When I got there, I took a moment to see how cool the campus looked.

Sagamihara Campus

My day at Sagamihara mainly consisted of 1-on-1 sessions, which were great. Every student I had was very nice and engaged so I had a fun time with them. I also went to several class sessions, which was interesting. Each class had about 20 students, so I was dealing with a much bigger group. During the class sessions, the professor wanted their students to ask us questions (in English) to get an idea of what it’s like to be American and live in the U.S. However, very few actually participated and it was a little difficult to get them to ask questions. I’m pretty sure I asked them more questions than they asked me. Still, I had a lot of fun working with them and I’m excited to go back to Sagamihara.

Now for the fun part… our adventures! On Wednesday we went to Harajuku, an area in Tokyo (unfortunately, I don’t have any good-quality photos for this). Its popular street, Takeshita street, is lined with cool shops and food places. We bought huge crepes from there and it was so good!

On Friday, we just explored the area around our house and found some good food to eat. We also found a building with a pretty decent view of the surrounding area. Looking at the view was an interesting experience for me. I’ve never been to a city that’s nearly as big as Tokyo, so it was crazy looking at a sea of sky scrapers that never seem to end.

Saturday was my favorite. We went to a digital art gallery in Odaiba, a 1.5-hour train ride from our house. So far, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Tokyo. I won’t post a lot of pictures of the gallery because I don’t want to take away the mystery and excitement. I definitely recommend this place! It’s called TeamLAB Borderless. We also rode a Ferris wheel and walked through a shopping mall that were both right by the gallery.

On Sunday, we went to a tea garden in Hama-rikyu. It was a nice place to just walk around and look at beautiful scenery. You can also get traditional Japanese treats and matcha tea and learn the traditional method of indulging them.

That was pretty much it for this week! I’m excited to see what week 3 will bring me!

Week One ❀

Hey everyone! I can’t believe I just finished my first week in Tokyo! First of all, I want to say that the trip here was the longest trip in my life. It took about 20 hours total and I was very exhausted. I also experienced some jet lag but I got over it after a couple of days. After we landed at the Narita Airport, we went on a 75 minute bus ride to the Shinjuku station. Haruna, one of the employees at the Aoyama Chat Room, greeted us with so much excitement and helped us settle into our share house. The next day, we were headed to work!

Caleb, Danielle, and I eating onigiri before work 🙂

We have to take the train to work and it takes about 40 minutes total. Our first day at Aoyama Gakuin mainly comprised of orientation and a tour around the campus. We met with Mari, who is the Chat Room supervisor, and went over the tasks and expectations for this internship. After work, we went to see one of the busiest crossings in the world. Aoyama Gakuin University is located in Shibuya and is only about a 10-minute walk from the Shibuya Crossing. There are a lot of shops and restaurants by the crossing, so there was always something for us to explore.

Starting on the second day of work, we had be at the Chat Room by 9 am. This meant that we had to be at the train station by 8:15. We didn’t realize how crowded the train would be. We couldn’t move at all. I recommend bringing deodorant with you to work because you will end up hot and sweaty afterwards.

Once we got to the Chat Room, we began our chat sessions. My first session was with nearby residents who were at the beginner level. I was a bit nervous about how my very first session would turn out. However, the nervousness went away instantly. The residents were very nice and engaged so I had no issue with keeping the conversation going. After that session, I had another sessions and then lunch. The cafeteria was really busy so finding a seat can be difficult. The food is delicious and it’s also super cheap. There is also a 7 Eleven convenient store where you can buy drinks and snacks.

Our first time trying dengo

After lunch, there was a cultural event in the Chat Room and it was a good opportunity to meet the other Chat Leaders as well as other students. The Chat Room regularly holds these events and we are expected to host one ourselves very soon. We then had to do three more sessions before we were done for the day. It was a pretty busy day and I’m expecting it to be like that for the majority of our internship. On Wednesday we went to the Aoyama Junior High School and on Friday we went to the Aoyama Elementary School. For both days, we stayed until lunchtime and then went back to the university Chat Room. The children are very energetic and super cute!! I think I’ll enjoy working with them the most. On the weekend, we went out to explore Shibuya and Akihabara