Sophomore Nina Dym visited Japan from July 29-Aug. 9 with her mother, father and sister, senior Zoe.
Q: Where did you go in Japan?
A: We went to Shimane for the first week and stayed at a hotel. In Shimane, we visited Zoe’s host family. (Zoe studied for six months in Japan during her sophomore year).
After Shimane, we visited Hiroshima for a day to see the 70th anniversary bombing peace memorial dome. There were tons of protesters. Middle- and high-school students walked around with clipboards asking for signatures to pledge against nuclear weapons. Not only were there many protest groups, but there were people from around the world who went to see the dome.
After visiting the dome, we walked to the memorial cenotaph, an arch-shaped structure that represents the souls of the victims. The cenotaph holds all the names of the people killed by the bomb and is aligned to frame the Hiroshima dome.
For the last two weeks we stayed at my grandmother’s house in Osaka.
Q: What did you do while you were there?
A: I usually go to Japan to study Japanese in local elementary schools in Osaka, but this year my trip was family oriented. We visited my aunt, my cousins, uncle and grandmother.
Also, my sister and I went to Namba, the main train station in Osaka, to look and shop at all the shops in the area. We went there twice, and I bought clothes and Japanese books.
I visited Kaiyukan, one of the world’s biggest aquariums, and the famous Japanese temples in Shimane.
Q: What did you eat?
A: Sushi, ramen, barbecue, ice cream, snow cones almost every day and lots more homemade Japanese food.
Q: How many times have you gone to Japan?
A: I’ve gone every summer with my family since I was 3 years old.
Although I have never gone to Japan by myself, I wish I could go with my friends from my Japanese school (Port of Sacramento Japanese School). We always visit Japan at the same time, but we never travel to the same places. Coordinating a trip with my classmates would be so fun and exciting.
Q: What was a highlight of your trip?
A: I went to Universal Studios Japan with local friends. I made these friends from when I used to go to the community schools in Japan over the summer. Although I haven’t gone to school there in two years, I still have kept in touch with these friends via text message.
It was really fun going back to Universal Studios since I hadn’t gone there since I was 5 years old. It’s always super crowded there. For example, it takes over six hours to get into the Harry Potter section of the park and is almost impossible to get on any rides without waiting an hour.
Not many tourists seem to visit Universal Studios Japan. I saw some, but not many because they usually decide to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea instead.
Q: What are some cultural differences between America and Japan?
A: It’s more common for people to walk and use buses versus drive as transportation in Japan. At a restaurant, you have to share one menu.
Q: Was there anything different that happened this time you visited?
A: We traveled during the hottest time of the summer. This was also the first time we traveled to the prefectures (the Japanese equivalent of states) of Osaka and Shimane.
—By Katia Dahmani