Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trip to Nagoya and Anjo (Preview)

On November 20th, I was very fortunate to have been invited to Nagoya by Oak Lawn Marketing, a major corporate sponsor of the Bridging Foundation scholarship.  Oak Lawn Marketing graciously provided for my transportation to visit their headquarters with 3 other Bridging Scholars to learn about the field of marketing in Japan.  Here I was able to meet people who moved to Japan from various parts of the world and have successfully found a great career.  This is something I strive to achieve in the future, it was a good to hear about these people's stories and create contacts to help me in my journey.
Myself with 3 fellow Bridging Scholars at Oak Lawn Headquarters!
After spending the afternoon with Oak Lawn I then wandered around the streets of Nagoya, a city that I have been to once before during my first visit to Japan.  It was an interesting change, during that time I was unable to speak any Japanese at all and could only rely on the English ability of the person I was speaking to for communication. 
It was a good thing that I spoke enough Japanese to get around during this visit to Nagoya.  I did not book a hotel in advance and visited a few hotels that were already full until I was directed to a capsule hotel.  
This hotel was a very interesting experience and a bargain too!  It would be a great place to stay with friends during a
Originally, I was supposed to return to Tokyo after my visit to Oak Lawn.  However just 15 minutes away from Nagoya is a small town called Anjo.  Three years ago I visited Japan for the first time in my life through a sister city-exchange program between my home city (Huntington Beach) and Anjo.  My host family and friends in Anjo are like a second family to me.  I sent out emails to Oak Lawn to delay my return, and to the Sister City Association in Anjo who very graciously welcomed me back!  

When I arrived in Anjo I was able to meet with Mayor Kamiya to discuss how my the Sister City Program 3 years ago changed the course of my life and has led me to seek out a life for Japan-America relations.  Anjo is extremely supportive of their Sister City Programs and even has an fully staffed office to manage these programs year round!
3 years ago I met Tomo Ishikawa, a very lively worker for the city who helped guide me around Anjo during my visit.  He has since become a top director and council member for Anjo!  
Ryuko Nobata, the wonderful woman who leads the sister city programs for Anjo.   Ryuko also has invited me to attend a fair to promote this exchange program later during my visit.  

Shikizakura, a special species of sakura that blooms both in the fall and spring.

My host family took me to Toyota City after my meeting with the mayor to see these sakura.  Many families were also there to enjoy the beautiful fall season in Japan. 

For two nights I was able to homestay with my friends.  It was the first time I had a family experience in 3 months!  This was definitely one of the best birthday presents I have ever received!

The Ishikawa family whom I am staying with right now!

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