Beyond the REU in Japan, Jillian's Experience

A summer in Japan inevitably brings
about a wide variety of experiences. Over 80 days of my summer, I went mountain
biking in the Japanese Alps, saw a sumo tournament in Nagoya and a geisha
performance in the Gion district, watched a traditional Japanese drumming
performance, and experienced my first earthquake.  The food was another experience in and of
itself. Sea urchin sushi, as it turns out, is one of the more disgusting things
I've ever tasted. Raw horse meat, on the other hand, is surprisingly palatable.
But beyond the weekly trips and adventurous dinners, it Jillian_Japan.jpgwasn't all fun and
glory. There were seemingly endless difficulties of adjusting to a new culture.
Sometimes, just figuring out how to dry my clothes or how to order at a
restaurant seemed like an insurmountable challenge. But I'd like to think that
the frustrations of the perpetual language barrier and cultural differences
were well worth it. Without a doubt, I've come out of this summer with a
greater understanding of myself and my own strengths and limitations, as well
as increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. 

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