Andrew Robinson


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Learning, class unique in Japan

TOKYO - If anybody actually has the time to read The Eagle during this time of the year, I thank you, and you should consider yourself lucky that the semester is drawing to a close, because I have three months left to go. The Japanese system is odd; the current semester, my second, is actually the first semester in Japan, and it started a few weeks ago, running through most of the summer until the end of July.

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World calls, but home is sweet

One evening last summer, during a slow night at work, I was talking to some of my fellow waiters and waitresses about my impending departure for Japan. The consensus seemed to be that if they were in my position, they would be nervous about leaving the country for a year.

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Japanese religion fuses myriad beliefs, traditions

Growing up in Kentucky, religion was an integral part of my life, as it is to many Americans, especially those from the South. My family prayed before every meal, and I went to church twice a week for most of my childhood. Almost everyone I knew was a Christian.

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Foreigners in Japan face social separation

Sometimes riding one of the numerous trains in Tokyo, I will look down the length of the car and notice a strange person. Unlike most of the people on the train, this person is usually not sleeping, texting someone with their cell phone, or staring at the floor avoiding eye contact or conversation with anyone around them.

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Hiroshima site shows need for peaceful relations

Hiroshima appears much the same as any other large Japanese city. There are train stations, bright lights, closely packed buildings, karaoke places, temples and shrines. But head for the central part of Hiroshima, the sliver of land located between two of the rivers running through the city, and the ruins of a large building come into view.

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Music pervades everyday life in Tokyo

It is a commonly held notion that Japan's culture is unique from any other country, consisting of a fusion of traditional Asian influences and modern Western culture. While I do not feel qualified or motivated enough to confirm or deny the veracity of this theory, I can say there is at least one component of Japanese culture that I think is unique-music.

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Japanese cuisine eliminates need to cook

Before I came to Japan, I had almost no cooking experience. I thought this would be a problem, considering I wasn't going to have a convenient meal plan. I figured once I got here, I would man up and cook some grub because eating out all the time would get too expensive and living off instant ramen would give me cancer.

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Tokyo's view speaks for itself

Most major cities in the world have some iconic landmark, building or monument associated with them that are instantly recognizable to people around the world. New York City has the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, D.

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Cell phones sell student on Japan

Japan has a reputation as a technological wonderland, home to the most advanced and just plain-old cool gadgets in the world. Of all the various options available to slake the technolust of nerds like myself, the Japanese cell phone - or "keitai," as it is called here - is perhaps the best.

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Daily life skills do not translate

Apparently, most people in my home state of Kentucky would be having a nervous breakdown if they were in my position. Whenever I mention I'm studying abroad in Tokyo for a year, I'm usually met with, "Oh, I would be so nervous if I were you!" or, "Aren't you scared? I know I would be!" I have a need to convince everyone I meet that I am a man unmatched in courage and unfazed by dire circumstances (except finding large spiders in unexpected places - to that, I freely admit my childish, hysterical fear).

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