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If there’s one thing I love more than eating, it’s travelling! 🛫 It’s so exciting getting to experience another culture and seeing how different or similar things are to your own home city.

Japan has always been my top destination to visit and early last year I was finally given the opportunity to travel there through the JENESYS 2015 exchange program. And it was an all expenses paid for trip! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start off my first trip to Japan 😍✨

The Program

JENESYS 2015 was the Japanese Government’s flagship youth exchange program which offered a study tour to Japan from 26 January to 3 February 2016 for 75 Australian university students. The theme for my program was “Japanese Culture and Japanese Language”.

The objectives of this program was to:

  • promote mutual trust and understanding among the peoples of Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, and to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.
  • And to promote a global understanding of Japan’s society, history, diverse culture, politics, and diplomatic relations.

I’m not too sure if it runs every year but it was on again last year and applications were open around Oct 2016. Check the website of the Japanese Consulate (or Embassy if you’re in Canberra) of your capital city regularly for more details! That’s where the program details and application form will be posted. I think it’s also a good idea to join University Japanese cultural societies on Facebook- that’s how I heard about this program.

Experiencing Japan

During the trip we were divided into 3 groups, sorted by the prefecture we would go to. I was in the Yamaguchi group and the other groups went to Hiroshima or Nagasaki. We spent 4.5 days in Tokyo and 3.5 days in Yamaguchi – we went from Tokyo to Yamaguchi and then back to Tokyo. We did so many things I’m just going to focus on what stood out for me!

On the 29th Nov I attended a joint Christmas Party between the Anime societies of different Sydney universities. This is my 3rd time attending and I can say it’s definitely been the most enjoyable one I’ve been to so far! :bunny Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten involved in the cosplay crowd this year but I had a lot of fun catching up and meeting with my friends from different universities and hobbies. I find that parties more focused on socializing rather than activities are more fun! I prefer chatting with friends though trivia parties are fun as well (if you know about the topics :teehee ).

All the instax snaps! Do you recognise what series people are cosplaying from?

I chose to cosplay as Aiichiro Nitori from Free! because, besides being one of my favourite characters, I knew some of my other friends were cosplaying from the series :raburabu It’s one of my favourite series of this year and I was genuinely surprised by the plot as I thought it was going to be a light hearted, silly sort of anime but it actually had some substance lol. I actually wanted to wear a sailor seifuku and dress like a generic school girl but it didn’t come in time grrrr

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Can you spot me? Haha

They had activities such as the art wall, trivia and the game section for Pokemon X/Y going on. There was also a Kris Kringle exchange and a live band playing! I wanted to socialise more this year so I was lazy and didn’t really participate in the activities :huuu

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Lottepon drawing!

The night mainly just consisted of having a great (and silly time) with friends :shinyred I really just love hanging out with my friends and having a good time. I’ve glad to have met a lot of new people this year :chuuu

AnimeSydney Christmas Party
Photo by Chris

After the event ended we had a random photoshoot in the carpark of Danny and then hung out in a cafe til midnight. Hopefully we can top it next year because my society is going to be hosting it! Not sure if I mentioned it but I’m vice president for 2014 puuu

AnimeSydney Christmas Party
Using phones to shine light.
Photo by mcluzar.

Do you hang out at any societies and/or attend their events? What are they like?