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Get the latest news on NUFS Study Abroad Program and learn about our recent excursions and events!

Mini Tatami Making Workshop (December 8, 2017)

If you've ever been to, or seen, a traditional Japanese home you know that tatami are an indispensable part of it. Do you know, though, about the mythological background of tatami mats? Legend has it, the god of the sea - Umisachihiko - had a beautiful daughter, and when another deity - Yamasachihiko - saw her, he fell in love at first sight. The news made Umisachihiko very happy and to honor Yamasachihiko he had him sit on a beautiful tatami. This manifestation of the utmost respect and courtesy to one's guest is a crucial part of Japanese hospitality to this day.

With this in mind, we embarked on a mission to make our own - mini! - tatami mats, which can be used as flower vase stands or as picture frames. Even though the size of our mats was much smaller than the ones used for flooring in homes, it was still quite a challenging task to make them right. We don't mean to brag, but the effect was pretty neat!

Japanese paper-making workshop (December 1, 2017)

Japanese paper (washi) is well known for its high quality and durability despite its thinness. For this culture practicum we went to Mino City in Gifu Prefecture, one of the famous centers for Japanese paper making. After learning about raw materials used and their production process, we embarked on the mission to making our own washi sheets adorned with Japanese maple leaves. Making even one sheet of washi paper was quite a challenge, even though the craftsmen and women helping us made it look easy. The effect, we dare say, was pretty good though!

Tea Ceremony (November 24. 2017)

The Introduction of the Tea Ceremony: In 1191, Eizai (the founder of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism) returned from China bringing with him (the seeds for) the Tea Ceremony as well as Zen Buddhism.

Tea was used for medicinal purposes in Buddhist monastic training centers. As with the practice of Zen Buddhism, the Tea Ceremony became widespread among the Bushi warrior classes in the thirteenth century.

Tea Ceremony became widespread among feudal lords and their attendants (during the Muromachi and Edo periods, servant priests in the close service of the Shogun generals and Daimyo feudal lords were entrusted with various official duties, including the tea ceremony) on account of their deep reverence for Chinese culture and Chinese objects of art.

In the sixteenth century, Sen no Soyeki, commonly known by his later name of Sen no Rikyu (the greatest of all tea masters) brought the Tea Ceremony to its present day high state of perfection and formality.

After that, a number of different tea schools came into existence (from the C17th to the C18th).
Some of the major schools of tea: Omotesenke, Urasenke, Mushanokoujisenke, Souhenryu etc.
L2 Course List for Spring 2018 and GJSC list for Fall 2018 added!

We have added the list for L2 courses to be offered in Spring semester 2018 and GJSC class list for Fall semester 2018. Please note that the L2 Courses are designed mainly for NUFS domestic students with lower English proficiency and may be not suitable for exchange students with a native or near native English proficiency. Exchange students with a lower English proficiency should consult with coordinators or faculty at their home university before enrolling in these courses. Further, these courses cannot be included in the 7 classroom hour/week minimum and can only be taken if the said minimum has been met by enrolling in GJSC and/or JLC classes. To download the lists, please go to the Course Offerings tab and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Kyoto and Nara overnight trip (November 17-18, 2017)

Kyoto and Nara - ancient capitals of Japan - are a huge draw for visitors from both overseas and Japan. This is not surprising with all the breathtaking cultural heritage both cities boast.

We started our trip with Kyoto's most popular tourist spot - Fushimi Inari Shrine - with the famous corridors of 1000-torii gates. Afterwards, we moved to the picture-perfect geisha district Gion, to watch a performance of traditional arts, including the tea ceremony, ikebana (flower arrangement), koto zither music, and kyomai - traditional dance by the graceful maiko.

We then moved to Nara, where we had dinner and stayed at a ryokan, or a traditional Japanese inn. Our second day started with a visit to Todai Temple, with the famous Great Buddha of Nara, Japan's largest Buddhist statue. For lunch we made our own somen noodles and moved to admire one more of Nara's many World Heritage sites, the Horyuji Temple.

Naturally, both ancient capitals deserve much more time than just two days, but our trip was definitely an amazing cultural experience and an encouragement for future visits!

As you know, our deadline for document submissions for Spring 2018 was October 31. However, we have decided to extend the deadline so contact us if you're interested in joining NUFS! If you would like to apply for our study abroad program starting March 2018, please make sure all your application documents reach us by November 30. For details on the application process and to download the application files visit our How to Apply section.

We look forward to seeing you in Nagoya!

International Office

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (November 3, 2017)

Toyota - world's leading automobile manufacturer - is one of the most important corporations in the Central Japan region and Japan as a whole. Did you know, though, that the company started as a loom manufacturer and the cars came years later? This Museum is a superb showcase for the history and evolution of Toyota and its contribution to Japan's and the world's technology and economy.

Ise Grand Shrine (October 27, 2017)

The Grand Shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, is one of the most important religious sites in Japan. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the Shrine is an sublime example of Japan's Shinto tradition.

After arriving to the shrine compounds, we first saw a kagura court dance performance with traditional prayers by Shinto priests offered for our well-being and prosperity. Afterwards, we strolled around the shrine complex admiring the beautify of tradition and nature.

To make the trip even better, we later walked around the town of Ise with its wonderful little streets filled with traditional shops and eateries.

Soba Noodle Making (October 20, 2017)

Anyone who's even remotely interested in Japanese cuisine knows the three types of noodles that make it famous: ramen, udon, and soba. For this week's Japanese Culture Practicum we went to Rassei Misato in Ena, Gifu Prefecture to make our own soba (buckwheat) noodles from scratch.

Wheat flour, buckwheat flour, some water, and some more buckwheat flour - that's all you need to make the dough. After your dough has gained the perfect texture and has been cut into thin strings, the noodles are boiled and served with soy sauce and yakumi - spring onions and wasabi. And voila, delicious!

Inuyama Castle and Karakuri Mechanical Dolls Museum (October 13, 2017)

Inuyama Castle is known as the oldest castle in Japan preserved largely in its original form. The castle is much smaller than those in Himeji, Osaka or Nagoya, but is a beautiful example of Japanese medieval architecture. It is also one of the best places in Aichi Prefecture to enjoy the hanami - cherry blossom viewing in Spring.

Karakuri mechanical dolls were first constructed in Japan in the Edo period. There were two types to the karakuri - the smaller zashiki-karakuri used indoors to entertain guests, and the matsuri-karakuri used on top of great floats during festivals (one can admire the ingenuity of their creators during the Inuyama Festival held every year in April). It is believed that the karakuri were predecessors of the modern-day robots, in whose production Japan is the world leader.
JSC Course List for Spring 2018 added! (October 12, 2017)

Dear Students,
We have added the JSC list for courses to be offered in Spring 2018. Please go to Course Offerings and scroll down to the bottom of the page to download the list. Please be advised that the course offerings may be subject to change.

Pottery Making Workshop (October 6, 2017)

This week we went to the town of Seto in our very own Aichi Prefecture, famed for its beautiful ceramic tradition. Sitting at the potter's wheel, we tried to find our inner pottery artist and made cups, plates, bowls or ashtrays. We can't wait to see what our pieces look like after the pottery master has finished them in the kiln!

This week's practicum was special for one more reason though. The pottery studio we were in was suddenly visited by a national TV celebrity, Mr. Tsurube famous for the "Tsurube no Kazoku ni Kampai" ("Tsurube's Cheers to Family"). After chatting with our pottery master, Mr. Tsurube talked to us for a few minutes and then disappeared with his TV crew! It's fair to say, though, that our road to fame has begun!
Furukawa Art Museum and Tamesaburo Memorial Museum (September 29, 2017)

Furukawa Art Museum founded by Tamesaburo Furukawa is a home to some fine pieces of Japanese and Western art. The exhibition we enjoyed during our visit presented contemporary oil paintings by Japanese artists with the origins in the Tokai region (prefectures of Aichi, Gifu, and Mie), created in the last decade or so.

During our trip, we also visited the home of the late Tamesaburo Furukawa (Tamesaburo Memorial Museum), which is a beautiful example of traditional Japanese architecture with its wonderful tatami-style rooms and an extraordinary garden. For some of us, this has been the very first visit to a traditional Japanese home, which made it even more memorable!

Tokoname Walking Tour (September 22, 2017)

For our first excursion this Semester, we went to a nearby town of Tokoname, famous for ceramics. Tokoname's famed Pottery Path is a popular place for walks and is also known as The Maneki-Neko Path as it hosts a wide variety of ceramic maneki-neko (“beckoning cats”) including the Giant Maneki-Neko “Tokonyan,” the 39 Devine Favour Ceramic Maneki-Neko, as well as the 11 Real Life-Looking Cats.

The Devine Favour Ceramic Maneki-Neko were manually made with affection by 39 Tokoname pottery artists. These 39 cats are amulets meant to bring prosperity.

The Real Life Looking Cats can be found near the Giant Maneki-Neko and look like living cats even when viewed from up close.

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