Six Weeks Later….

Last semester, I remember talking to Dr. Stapp in his office and every time before I leave, he turns to his calendar and tells me how many days we have left until Japan and until we’re home from Japan. Now, it has been about 8 days since I have been home from one of the greatest adventures I’ve embarked on yet. This was not an ordinary study abroad trip: There were no classrooms, no assignments, and no papers. It wasn’t a vacation either, or at least it wasn’t for the most part. There is no doubt that I would go back again, if the opportunity presented itself. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I went on the UofA Faculty-Led: International Business in Japan program. I primarily chose this program because of its reputation. I had a few friends that went the summer before and they told me about fantastic their time in Japan was, so it piqued my interest. Dr. Stapp, the program’s fearless leader, has been leading the trip for 17 years now so I also knew that he would know exactly what needs to happen. My interest in the study abroad program after I did Model United Nations in Rome, Italy last fall. The class was taught by Stapp, so every time I stopped by his office to talk about Model UN matters (ironically, my assigned country was Japan), he interjected a section (or five) about the Japan Study Abroad Trip. I was very apprehensive at first. I am going to be a senior in the fall, so having a summer internship is crucial. The length of the study abroad trip is both its beauty and its downfall. While the 35 day trip was perfect for getting to see everything and getting the bang for your buck, it was also difficult to tell interviewers, “Hey, I’m going to be out of the country until mid-June… any way you could hold that spot for me until I get back? I promise I’ll have a better worldview and I’ll be more cultured!”. Stapp worked with me and helped me find the summer internship I currently have, so I felt a bit better about the experience. This is probably not the right mindset, but I told myself that I have the rest of my life to work, but the time for traveling in this capacity is now. Stapp kept telling me the exact same thing on the trip, so I’m guessing there’s some truth to it. Gosh, I wish I could fully describe all the experiences that I had there. My biggest hope for everyone is that they go somewhere that will challenge them and affirm them in who they are for a long amount of time. It wasn’t until I came out of my comfort zone that I really learned about myself. I had a multitude of life lessons,  but as far as overarching themes, I would categorize the two biggest lessons I learned under “I am so entitled” and “Live in the moment, don’t let life pass you by”.

First lesson: I am so entitled. This wasn’t something I realized until a few weeks in when I found myself complaining about petty things such as not having an English menu, having to use a Japanese style toilet, and not being able to communicate with people because of the language barrier. There were so many times where I wanted people to conform to my needs, speak my language, serve my food, and do things my way. And I had to really take a step back and remind myself that I came to their country to learn about their culture, not so I can come in and find the most comfortable things for me. Even though I learned this about myself, this didn’t exactly make me the most adventurous eater. There was this dish called nato, which is fermented soybean. I watched some people in the group try it at Nagata-san’s and JB got kinda sick from it so I’m a little aversive to it. I saw it being served for breakfast at my Toyota City homestay and I panicked a little bit. Thankfully, it was an optional dish. There were a lot of restaurant ordering debacles that I wish I was able to undo at the moment, but I’m glad it happened so I can laugh when I tell people about the stories. There was a time when I tried to get a coffee to go but the cashier and I were at such a complete misunderstanding so the best I could do was say “uhh…. gomenasai!” and left. One time at Starbucks, I tried to do two transactions and I was just not able to get my point across. Thank goodness she eventually understood! One time, a group of us went to dinner and kept trying to order fried rice until she was repeatedly telling us they didn’t have anymore. I definitely got frustrated in my lack of Japanese but it just means that non verbal communications meant even more. Definitely a cool experience not being in the majority as far as the language goes so we really had to work around it.

Ayano was in my homestay in Tamano City. It was an incredible experience meeting her and her family! Although their family did not speak English and I don’t speak English, I learned to be more intentional about how we were communicating.

My second and more important lesson, I learned to live in the moment. There were moments where I would miss my friends and family back home and I wanted nothing more than just to talk to them. It was easy to start counting down the days until I got home and got back together with them, but it was diminishing from my Japan experience. I constantly reminded myself that I only had a limited time to enjoy Japan. I will be in Arkansas for the remainder of the summer and will have plenty of time to see people and do all the things I enjoyed in Fayetteville. I think this was a really great lesson to learn not just for Japan, but in general. I am a planner by nature so I tend to look to the future a lot. What I’ve come to learn is just to trust that everything will work out how it’s supposed to so I need to stop fixating so much on the future that I forget about the moments that are in front of me. We got to go into nature and unplug from the busyness of the cities that we visited.

The floating torii gate on Miyajima Island at sunset

I would 100% endorse this trip to other students. Stapp takes about 12 students every year, which is a great size for the activities that we participate in. For anyone who is going, I would highly recommend picking up a phrase book or two and actually learning a few key phrases in Japanese. I would also recommend keeping an open mind since there are a lot of opportunities to try new things. Overall, it was a phenomenal experience that I do not regret taking part in.

This was taken at the Hanshin Tigers baseball game. This lady was THE biggest fan and shows up to all the games in full regalia.

5 Amazing Weeks Abroad

6/10/15: Today we met with Daiwa Steel Tube Industries. They produce  environmentally friendly pipes and tubes made mostly out of pure zinc. After we met with their executives, we were given a factory tour. They showed us how a pipe is made and formed into shape.

We went to lunch at a country club with the interns of Daiwa Steel. It was a lot of fun to hang out with them for the whole day. After lunch, we went to the Kegon Falls.This waterfall is 97 meters tall. It was very pretty.


6/11/15: Free day in Tokyo number 2! In the morning I went to Ueno Park by myself. I just walked around the park and saw small shrines along the way. I also went to a small museum that talked about the history of that town.


I then went to another Kodo concert. It was a 2 hour show and the drummers played for the 2 hours straight with no break. It was fascinating. After the concert, Stapp took us around the town. we visited a small temple that has the largest paper lantern in all of Japan.


The rest of the afternoon, I spent it in Akihabara, Harajuku and Shibuya districts.

6/12/15: Saying goodbye to Tokyo. Today we headed Sapporo for one final stop in this program. Sapporo is located in the north island of Japan, Hokkaido. We took a plane up to Sapporo. Once we arrived, we went to the hotel, checked in and went out to the city. Dr. Stapp took us to a miso ramen restaurant.


After dinner, we headed down to the streets to watch the Yosakoi Soran Dance Festival. This dance festival lasts for 4 days. It is made up of different dance groups that perform for the crowds out on the street. The dances are traditional Japanese but with upbeat music. we found a great spot on the sidewalk, sat down and watched for a few hours.


6/13/15: In the morning, we went out to the streets and watched more performances. It was raining, but the dancers kept performing all morning long. After a few hours of watching and grabbing lunch, we headed back to the hotel for a little bit.

We headed to Ishiya Chocolate Factory. We walked around their museum and watched the production line.

After that, we went to the Sapporo Brewery Museum. It explained the process of how beer is made. For dinner, we had a massive lamb dinner. We had 100 minutes to eat as much lamb and vegetables as we could. Each table had two small propane stoves to cook the lamb. We were in charge of cooking our own lamb. After the 100 minutes we well all very full and smelling like lamb.


6/14/15: Today was a surprise day. The day-by-day did not tell us what we were doing. We went to Otaru which is west of Sapporo. We were along the sea. Our surprise was being able to do hand blown glass art. It was a lot of fun. I did a chime bell. It is currently being finished but I cannot wait to see the final result.

For the rest of the day, we walked around the town and shopped. There were numerous small shops with artisans, jewelry, wooden and glass work. After shopping for a while, we headed back to Sapporo. By that time it was late and we went to bed.

6/15/15: Saying goodbye to Sapporo. Today we headed back to Kameoka one last time before our program ended. In the afternoon, we went to Ei-chan’s house for a friendship party. Ei-chan and Nobuyoshi cooked a great meal for us.

This was the program’s last night in Japan. All the JSAP members hung out one last time at the Pony and we talked about the last 5 weeks we had just experienced in Japan.

6/16/15: Our last day in Japan. In the morning we went to Sanjusangen-do temple. We were not allowed to take pictures inside. The Buddhist temple has one thousand guardian statues inside.

For lunch, we went to Nagata-san’s for one last time. He had prepared us a huge lunch again. During lunch, we gave Stapp a gift for everything that he has ever done for us and to thank him for taking us to Japan.

It was time to go. We headed to the hotel for our luggage, went to the train station and headed to the Kansai International Airport. We checked in, went through security and boarded the plane. Those were our last moments in Japan. I cried a little because we had to say goodbye to Ei-chan.


Sayonara Japan!


Paulina Moya

So Close to the End

6/3/15: Today we returned from Toyota City. Once we got back, we pretty much had a free afternoon to do what we wanted. I went for a run with Hallie and then worked out. As a group we went to Nagata-san’s restaurant for dinner.

6/4/15: In the morning we met with Shoyeido Incense Company. They are one of the largest providers of incense in Japan. We talked with an executive and toured their facility.


For the afternoon we were going to a baseball game in Koshien stadium. We watched the Hanshin Tigers play the Marines. I am not much of a sports fan but that was a lot of fun.

We were all cheering with the crowd which made it so fun. We did not know what we were yelling but everyone else was doing the same thing. We were all geared up with Hanshin Tigers merchandise.

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The Tigers win and everyone is cheering. We are ready to exit when some Japanese people stop us and ask us to take pictures with them. We took at least 20 pictures with 15 people in each one of them. It was kind of crazy. All I kept hearing was “one more, one more.” We felt famous for a moment l. Once we started walking back to the station, people kept cheering outside and high five-ing us. The whole day was so much fun.


6/5/15: Today we went to Universal Studios. The weather was not the best because it was rainy all day but that did not stop us from having fun.20150605_161639

We went to most of the rides: Spiderman, Harry Potter World, Hollywood Dream, Space fantasy, and Back to the Future.


Since it was a rainy day, the park was not very crowded and the lines weren’t very long.

We decided to go to Hollywood Dream roller coaster one last time before the park closed. The wait is 90 minutes, but none have been the actual wait time so we decided to just go for it. We get in line and move very quickly. We are almost there when the staff starts running the ride empty. We did not know what was happening because we don’t undestanding the language. Noone on the line is making a face expression to give a hint if it’s good or bad.

After a while, we start to move again. We are very excited but everyone else is not expressing any emotions… we keep moving and we are the last car for the day. We are ready to get on the ride. We get on and set to start. The ride makes that click noise that sounds like it’s about to go but instead the security bar lifts up. We were so confused. We were told to get our things and go back in line. They had to run it again before we could ride it.

We end up waiting 20 more minutes. By this point we had been waiting over an hour. The park was closing in 20 minutes so we just decided to wait. They keep running it empty over and over again. We try to communicate wi th the staff but that isn’t working. One of them starts to dance for us which was really funny.

We had 5 minutes before the park closed. They ask us if we would mind riding it forward instead of backwards and by this point everyone just wants to get on it. So we sit and are set to go. Again, we get kicked off, but now because it was 7:03 and the rain became even stronger. We weren’t really upset. We were laughing the whole time during this situation.

The staff and operators all came down from their office and apologized because we could not ride it. I felt bad because some started to cry. We were happy that they cared a lot about the weather and safety of the ride.

We start exiting the park and we are soaking wet. The rain had not stopped all day and only became stronger.

6/6/15: Today we traveled to Tokyo on a 3 hour train. We had a free afternoon once we arrived. Some of the girls and I walked around Roppongi district then met up with Dr. Stapp for dinner. We then went to Ginza district and walked around the famous stores.

6/7/15: Free day in Tokyo. Anna, Andrea, Alex and I went to Tokyo Disneyland. We figured out the train times and departed early. We arrived early and the crowds were already there. Once the doors opened everyone dispersed.

We got in as many rides as we could. We went on: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Snow White, It’s a Small world, and so many more I can’t remember.

The day was beautiful but very hot. We ate lunch and dinner there. We stayed in the park until it closed at 10 pm. From 6 to 10 we sat in front of Cinderella’s Castle waiting for the parade and firework shows. The night Parade was beautiful. It had almost all of the known Disney characters. My friends and I waved at them waiting to get one back. The Fireworks show had to be cancelled for some reason. 30 minutes later, we watched a movie clip light show projected on the castle. It was Frozen themed and included Cinderella, Lion King, Little Mermaid, and others.

We headed back to our hotel and went to bed. We had a busy few days coming soon.

6/8/15: Today was one of the most important days of the trip. We visited with the Embassy of the United States and with the Diet of Japan. At the Embassy, we talked with executives about the relationship between the United States and Japan.

We then went to lunch at the Diet with some executives. We had a tour of the building and then headed to a meeting room. With met with 4 high ranked parliament members. We discussed the issues of Abenomics and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We had a free afternoon, so Alex and I went to Akihabara, the electronics district of Japan.

6/9/15: It was a business day with Wal-Mart Japan. We visited their distribution center. They showed us around the facility and showed us the way a product comes from delivery and leaves on their end, all the way from storing, sorting, and shipping. We then met with two executives that answered our questions.

For lunch, we took the executives out to a sushi conveyor belt restaurant. I loved these kinds of restaurants. The plates of sushi move along side the table and you pick up whichever dish you want. It is made fresh and you do not have to wait a long time. At the end of the meal, the waiter will just count the number of plates on the table and charge accordingly.

For our free afternoon, many of the girls and I went to Shibuya crossing which is the busiest interception in the world. We sat at a Starbucks and watched people cross the road. Anna and I then headed to Shinjuku to the Government building to see the city from the 45th floor. We caught it right at sunset and it was a beautiful view of the city lights.

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-Paulina Moya

Third Time’s the Charm

5/27/15: we visited Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding today. We learned a lot about the way the ships a assembled amd transported. The facilities and factories were huge. We were allowed to go up a large ship that was being built. It was very interesting.

We spent the afternoon at the beach. I laid on the sand and tanned. Our hotel was amazing. It was right on the beach.

At night we had dinner with the ladies from Zonta international. The organization focused on women’s rights and education in several countries across the world. Chile’s president met the president of Zonta one year in Japan.  I thought that this was amazing. All the ladies were amazing. They were so kind. Even thought there was a language barrier, we had a great time at dinner.

5/28/15: we visited Tomboy a Japanese  uniform company. They have close to a monopoly in uniforms. For lunch we went to a farm where we ate panini and gelato.

Once we got back, our homestay families picked up at hotel. My family’s name is Mori. They were so kind. They did not speak a lot of English. We went Theo their home. It was very small just like all the homes in that city. Their home was really modern in the inside.


For dinner they cooked so much food for me. All of it was delicious. The family is two parents at the age of 35 and a boy who is 8 and a girl who is 5. The kids were precious. They were very shy at first, but opened up by the end of the night. I had a great time playing around with them.

5/29/15: I woke up at my homestay family. Oka-san had breakfast ready for the whole family. Today I had a bowl of white rice, miso soup, egg salad sandwiches, kiwi and strawberries. The fruit here in Japan is absolutely delicious.

Nayuta got picked up by a group of his classmates to walk to school. With Oka-san, we drove to Isora’s kindergarden. We spent a little bit of time playing with the little kids. They were precious.

Today is Hello America! Day. Hibi Elementary invited us to their school.  We spent six hours with them doing different activities. We met with the rest of the group when we arrived. After meeting the principal we went to the gym where we were introduced to all the students.


We were all separated into groups and classes. For play time I went with the second graders where my homestay boy was. We played 4 different games. Most of the kids only spoke minimal English so it was hard to talk with them.

For lunch I was with 4th graders. They had cooked lunch for us. I also got a back massage which was very surprising but felt great. For lunch we had sardines which were not my favorite, white rice, and miso soup.

After lunch we learned to right our names in Kanji. This was very difficult. We all tried calligraphy. The students were so much better than me at doing that.

In the afternoon JSAP did Kyudo which is the art of archery. I was the only student who hit someone in the target. I was very proud of myself. That bow was taller than me and it was very heavy.


For dinner, my family invited Anna’s family over. We had a yakirori dinner. Anna and I ate a lot of delicious food. We then played with fire crackers and sparklers with the little kids. This was such a busy but super fun day.

5/30/15: we said goodbye to our home stays today. It was really sad. We toon a Ferry to the Ritsurin Garden. It is a gorgeous and big garden. After a few hours we went back to home base, Kameoka.


5/31/15: Today was a free day. We went to an Irish Pub for lunch where we had hamburgers for the first time since we arrived in Japan. we spent the rest of the day relaxing and journaling.


6/1/15: We headed to Toyota City for our second homestay. Today we met with Ioka-san who directed most of our program in the city. We watched a traditional Japanese dance and a tea ceremony. We did Ikebana, which is flower arrangement.

Our homestays took us home. My family was great. I mostly spent my time with the mother Kioko. For the dinner, she had prepared a tray for us to do our own sushi. It was absolutely delicious.


6/2/15: Today we toured Toyota. We started with a museum that explained the history of the company. We then went on the factory tour where we saw the assembly line. It was very interesting. We had lunch and then met with an executive in Toyota. We then went to a second museum.


For dinner, we had a potluck dinner with LSE. There was a lot of food and fun. We had a little talent show. The homestay children performed for us. Some played the piano and some the violin. They were great.

-Paulina Moya

2 Much Fun

5/20/15: Finally we get to see the Big Buddha, Todaiji. It was amazing. The day was beautiful but really hot. We walked around the temple as we learned about its history. We officially named our JSAP group “Some People” Today was also Griffin’s birthday. That was a lot of fun!

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5/21/15: Toji Market. We spent 3 hours shopping at the flea market today. Trying to communicate with the sellers was a challenge. Most of them did not any English. At the flea market, I tried to negotiate and get a lower price, but that did not go so well.

We then headed to the Asahi brewery. There was a test taste portion after the tour of the factory. For dinner, the girls went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I tried squid ink spaghetti for the first time. It was very good.

5/22/15: River Rafting. We went to Umahori station, only 3 minutes from Kameoka. From there, we walked to “Big Smile” the rafting place. we got geared up with wetauits, helmets, and life jackets and headed to the river. The water was a little cold. The experience so a lot of fun; I had never done that before. We got to swim in the river along the way and cliff jump. This has been one of the most fun activities we have done in Japan.

Later that day, we got lunch at Nagata-san’s. His fried rice is delicious. At night, we went to a Kodo concert. Kodo is a performing arts group that specializes in the art of taiko. The group consists of both men and women with a variation in ages. The performance was beautiful.

5/23/15: For this free day, Mikaela, Cody and I decided to do something different than the rest of the group. We went up a mountain in Kameoka for hiking. We had planned to go hiking and then shopping in Osaka, but the plans changed unexpectedly on the top of the mountain.

We found family on the top. They were getting things ready for a company party. The father of the family is a Shinto master. He showed us inside his temple. That a great experience. The family ended up inviting us to the company party. They started to give us gifts that we were not expecting. The generosity in Japan is unbelievable.

Many of their coworkers started to arrive. They started to cook. They had a big barrel grill with many different foods. They kept serving us food. They cooked yakirori, tempura, corn, chicken nuggets, and french fries. After a couple of plates we were so full. They brought out several baseball gloves and balls. We played tossing the ball. Later, we also played soccer. Before we knew it, we had spent four hours with them. This day was so much fun!

It was already late that we decided to not go to Osaka. We stopped by Nagata-san’s restaurant and we ran into Dr. Stapp. He was going to his Kendo practice and invited us to watch. Once we went to the hotel, we just hangout for a little before Kendo. When it was time, we went with Dr. Stapp to his practice.

It was a lot of fun watching the practice. There were just a few students there but it was still very entertaining. One of the students was a 7 year old girl. She was very impressive. She was very good! Between the teachers and students they practiced the three major hits, on the head, torso, and arm. Stappo sensei was pretty good at Kendo.

5/24/15: We headed to Western Japan. We arrived at Hiroshima. We saw the Peace Park and as well as the location where the atomic bomb hit. The atmosphere felt a little different. This was a little of a serious day. We went to a museum by the park. It was very interesting to see the story from the eyes of Japanese people.

At night we all went bowling. I was very bad as always. Dr. Stapp was really good. He made 7 strikes in a row.


5/25/15: We took a ferry to Miyajima. Miyajima is one of the top famous sightseeing locations in Japan. It is a large floating torii gate. It looks like it is floating because the base is inside the water. We went up a mountain where we could see a beautiful view of the town and beach. We walked back down to Miyajima and waited for sunset. It was so gorgeous to see the sunset go behind the Torii gate.

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5/26/15: we visited Takata Orimono, the company that does tatami beri. Tatami mats are very Japanese. They act as floors. This company visit was a lot of fun. It was very interesting to see how the parts are made for a tatami mat.

After the company visit we spent time at the beach in our hotel. For dinner we had a huge buffet at the hotel.

-Paulina Moya

One Week Down, Four More to Go!

5/13/15: The day we landed in Japan. We had to go through customs and immigration where they took a picture of us and scanned our fingerprints. We picked up our luggage and headed to the train station. We took our very first Japanese train. We were there for 30 minutes until we reached our home basis Kameoka. Kameoka is a small town in the Kyoto Prefecture.

When we got to Kameoka we met Ei-chan for the first time. She is our “Japanese mother”. We also met Nobuyoshi, her husband, and Nagata-san. They all helped us get our luggage to our hotel, Pony Hotel.

Many streets in Japan do ot have names. The Japanese give directions based on landmarks and buildings. Some signs in this town were written in English but most of is in Japanese.

For the first few nights I roomed with Hallie and Julianne. We ended up going to bed at 11pm Japan time, 4am Hawaii time, and 9am Arkansas time. My mind and body where in completely different time zones.

5/14/15: Today was acclimation day. We were shown how to us the ATM machines and the laundry washing machines. We were shown two suppermarkets, Seiyou and Eon. Seiyou is currently owned by Wal-Mart.

We headed to a town called Saga-Arashiyama. We rode bikes around a Bamboo Forest. I was a little crowded so riding was difficult. We grabbed some ice cream afterward. Black sesame ice cream was delicious.

For dinner we went to Nagata-san’s restaurant in Kameoka. We cooked for us a huge dinner. There were so many different kinds of food. By the end we were all so full. But everything was so delicious.


5/15/15: Today we went to Kiyogakko High School. The students were amazing. They taught us how to play taiko drums. I was pretty terrible at it but the students were so helpful. This experience was great. We learned a lot from and how they did as well from us.

5/16/15: we went to a pottery shop where we met Sensei, a top 500 Potter in the nation. He gave us so much pottery it was unbelievable. His generosity was huge. I had never done any pottery before. It was very fun.


Later in the day we went to the Golden Pavilion. This temple is built entirely out of gold. It was very pretty to see.

At night we had free time, so a couple of us girls went to Gion and went on a Geisha hunt. We succeeded. We saw like 10 geisha walking in the streets.

5/17/15: First free day. We went to an onsen which is a hot springs bath house. I was a lot of fun. At first I was very awkward because I have never been to one. But it was very relaxing. It helped to release stress from the first week in Japan.

We then went to Saga Arashiyama to a boat festival. In the afternoon, some of us went to the Torii Gates. There are close to 10,000 torii gates lined up, up a mountain.


5/18/15: Our first company visit was to Oyatsu. The ride there was little long. We took several trains and a taxi. Oyatsu is a famous snack company in Japan. They are mostly known for their snack Baby Star. We toured the facility and factory. Oyatsu focused on being environmentally friendly and reducing any waste


5/19/15: We went to Nara for a second company visit. This time to Sharp. Sharp provide most of the electronics sold in Japan. The tour focused on the history of Sharp and the different products it produces. Some of the new technology being made had not reached the US yet. It all looks so cool.

-Paulina Moya

Hello World!

My name is Paulina Moya. I am a rising junior at the University of Arkansas. I am an International Business major concentrating in Economics. I have a minor in Spanish and Management.

I was born and raised in Chile. My first language is Spanish. My family and I have traveled a lot and have moved several times. Seven years ago, we moved to Northwest Arkansas. I attended high school in Bentonville.

This summer, I am participating in the Japan Study Abroad Program (JSAP) led by Dr. Stapp. For the next five weeks, I will be experiencing and learning about the Japanese business and culture while traveling around the country alongside 11 awesome people I can call my friends. We will be visiting numerous major companies, traveling around different cities, and spending two nights with two different home stay families. I hope to learn as much as I can about the Japanese culture. I look forward to all the delicious Japanese food. I know that this experience will be life changing and I cannot wait to enjoy every minute of it.

I would not have been able to have this amazing experience if it wasn’t for the help that I received. Thanks to the Honors College and to the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas for helping me fund this program.

Please join me in my adventure to Japan.

Ps. Wi-Fi signals are limited in Japan which could cause delays in blog posts.

We’ve hit the end of the road folks!

Our final days were spent in none other than Sapporo! We spent most of our time watching the Yosakoi Soran Festival which is the biggest dance festival in Japan. To get a better understanding, here are some photos from the festival!  


We also visited the Ishiya Chocolate factory where we got to see how they package their specialty item which is basically white chocolate between two wafers. We visited Sapporo’s museum which is a beer company We also had an all you can eat lamb dinner that was pretty delicious! 


The next day we went to Otaru, Japan where we got to blow glass! This was something that has been on my bucket list for a long time and I finally got to do it! After, we went shopping and this was where I got a lot of gifts for my family.  


Unfortunately, it was time to return to Kameoka and head back to the United States the next day. I was very sad to go but I will always remember the people that I met and the experiences I had! Until next time, Japan! 


Busy, Busy, Busy

The next three days were very intense. This is because we visited the US Embassy, the Diet, Wal-Mart Japan, and Daiwa Steel. Talk about a lot of focus. 

We started off the day by visiting the U.S. Embassy. We got to learn more about the TPP and the Japanese government from the eyes of the American government. We also learned what their role was in working with the Japanese on various issues. Afterwards, we had lunch at the Japanese Diet which is the Japanese parliament. We then got a lecture by the Foreign Ministry about abenomics before asking parliament members about their views on Abenomics as well as what the Japanese people think about it.  The next two pictures are of the Diet. 


The next day we got to visit a Wal-Mart/Seiyu distribution center. I learned a lot more about supply chain and how much work is involved in the transportation of goods from one place to another. 

The next day involved the Daiwa Steep company! We spent the entire day with some of the younger employees who were working on their English. We also met the president of the company and toured the factory to see their very unique process.  After the meeting, we got to visit the Toshogu and Kegon-no-Take which is the largest waterfall in all of Japan! This day was filled with education and beauty. 



Incense, Baseball, Fun, and Travel?

One of my favorite things about this study abroad trip is that we can see how smaller businesses can flourish with their very specific product. One example is incense which is sold by Shoyeido. They have definitely grown since they first started which was in the 18th century! We got to see how incense was made and what were the key factors into making them a successful company.  

After Shoyeido, we had lunch and rested before attending a Hanshin Tigers baseball game! We won 3-0 and according to Dr. Stapp, this program hardly ever sees them win! The Japanese were cheering the entire game and from the baseball games I have gone to in the U.S., we definitely don’t have that much spirit during the game.  



The next day was filled with lots of laughter and fun! Why do you ask? Because we went to Universal Studios! We spent the day relaxing, riding rides, and on broomsticks with none other than Harry Potter and his crew! Even though it was raining, it couldn’t damper our spirits! We finished off the day with Bubba Gumps before heading back to head for Tokyo the next day. 




The next day was a travel day to none other than Tokyo! Woot woot! In Tokyo, we had a free night and free day. The first night we spent touring the town and eating yakitori. It was a very relaxed evening that allowed us to get our bearings!  


The next day, I kept it pretty chill. My friend and I got to see the wonders of the sea by going to an aquarium and then got to go in the Tokyo Skytree to see the best view of Tokyo! After, we ate at Hardrock Cafe and enjoyed a nice evening in.