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Carnitrobongen12's Trip to Japan


         Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan                    Wakayama Castle in Wakayama City, Japan

A Brief Introduction to My Trip to Japan
Basically my trip was part of an exchange program between the government of Wakayama Prefecture (a prefecture is Japan's equivalent of a state or province) and an organization in the Los Angeles area, Nanka Wakayama Kenjinkai. The organization is a group of people born in Wakayama Prefecture and their descendents who live in the L.A. area. Every year the organization awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors and also selects among the scholarship winners four students to take part in the exchange program the following year. I applied last year after graduating and was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship and the opportunity to go Wakayama-ken this year. The airfare for the flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Osaka-Kansai International Airport (KIX) was provided by the Kenjinkai, while the government of Wakayama Prefecture provided living expenses. The trip lasted from July 5 - July 28, 2001.

Wakayama Prefecture is one of 47 prefectures in Japan and is located in the southwestern part of the Kii Penisula on the main island of the Japanese Archipelago, Honshu. It is dominated by the tree covered mountain ranges of the Kii Mountain Range and has very few flat open plains, less the one formed by the Kinokawa River occupied by the capital city.. The capital city, Wakayama City, is located in the northwestern part of the prefecture, 80 km south of Japan's second largest city, Osaka. About 1,000,000 people live in the prefecture, a small portion of Japan's 130,000,000; however the prefecture is important for several reasons. Wakayama is home to the representative sacred lands of Japan, Kumano and Koyasan. Soy sauce (shoyu), certain types of sushi, miso and pickled plums (ume boshi) all originated in Wakayama. For for more information on Wakayama Prefecture see Wakayama Tourism Info .

I spent most of my time in Japan in Kainan City, Wakayama in a small four-story house with an extremely nice family. While they spoke very little English, they (and I) made every effort to communicate, no matter how difficult. I was able to answer some of their questions about America while simultaneously learning things about the land of my ancestors. My host student has almost the same interests as me, particularly fishing, videogames and basketball (I even went fishing three times), which made all the more easier to get along. The other exchange students and I made a brief trip to Kyoto near the end of the trip, so some of the pictures are from Kyoto. So while there are few pictures compared to how many I took (300+), hopefully you'll like them. Go To [Album].

My general impression of Japan is that it is a very nice place. The people seem to be happier and more content with their position in life and are definitely more polite than here in the U.S. Perhaps the politeness and the joy were only characteristics of the region (Kansai) but nevertheless I liked it so much that I hope to return one day (hopefully speaking Japanese and who knows maybe to live). Click here to read entire trip impression.


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Page Created: August 6, 2001
E-mail: carnitrobongen12@hotmail.com