Konnichiwa, watashi wa Jolif Guest desu./ Hello, my name is Jolif Guest. Welcome to my blog where I’ll be writing about my experience of living and studying in Japan, beginning in October.

Me sitting on a wooden bear, as you do.

I have just completed my second year of studying English Literature at the University of Southampton, and I’ve loved my experience here so far. One of the fantastic opportunities offered, which I’ve jumped on, is the chance to study at Kyoto University in Japan for a year (a year of learning about the country and living in an entirely different culture? Yes please and bring on the miso soup).

Studying in Southampton is great, especially when hopping on to a ferry to visit beautiful beaches on the Isle of Wight is so easy!

So, a little bit about who I am. I am 20 years old and from rural Pembrokeshire. I enjoy cycling, hill walking and have even been paragliding, which was an awesome experience. I’m intending on doing lots of similar activities during my time in Kyoto. I’ve already found a hill walking society at Kyoto University, amongst numerous other interesting societies on offer, such as a society for learning the ancient practice of the tea ceremony. Find out more here: http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/education/campus/activities/circle/. I can’t wait to explore all of the fantastic sights of Kyoto (and hopefully some more of Asia too). As I’m a keen photographer, I’ll no doubt record these adventures and share them here.

Carn Ingli, a mountain above Newport, a town near my home in Pembrokeshire.

So why Japan?

When applying to study abroad through the university’s scheme, there was a wealth of different universities on offer. There were fantastic opportunities all across Europe, and also internationally, from Australia to Taiwan. Information about current opportunities can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/international/studyabroad_exchange/studyabroad_exchange_home.shtml. After researching my options, I decided that moving to Japan was something that I just couldn’t turn down. When else will I get the chance to move to a country so culturally different to the UK but where I can still be encapsulated within the support of the university bubble?

Now that my studying at Kyoto University has been confirmed (I still can’t believe it’s actually happening), I’ve begun compiling a seemingly never ending list of sites which I want to visit and things which I want to do whilst I’m in Japan. Here are a few of the weird and wonderful:

Arashiyama Monkey Park. Friendly monkeys, need I say more? http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/kyoto/sights/park/arashiyama-monkey-park
Cherry blossom – no visit to Japan would be complete without viewing these incredible displays of natural beauty.
Festivals, such as described on this useful website: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/heritage/bf_kyoto.php
Temples and shrines, like this one: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3908.html
Whale watching, I’m keen to see Moby Dick in real life (English student through and through), more information on whale watching can be found here: http://www.whaleroute.com/areas/japan/
Geisha district – quintessentially Japanese.
Visiting a bathhouse or Ryokan. Consisting of full nudity with multiple strangers and only a small hand towel for modesty. Not quite my idea of a day out but in case you do fancy it, here is a handy guide to the etiquette of bathhouses: http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/about/ryokan/bathing.htm
Japanese cookery class. I definitely want to learn how to eat as the locals do and this seems the best way to do it!
Dog cafés. A place where you can hire a dog for the day. Enough said. http://www.happyjappy.com/other/offbeat/dog_cafe.html

So this is me, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy hearing more about my adventures in Kyoto.

Ima no sayonara!


You can also follow my experiences here: http://jolifguest.wordpress.com/


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