The international students had a chance to try their hand at kado (Japanese flower arrangement on Wednesday, November 1. This event was held with the cooperation of the Hokusei Flower Arrangement Club.
In kado, flowers and other plants are arranged by sticking them into the spikes of a kenzan (spiky frog). At first, the students found it hard to stick the flowers properly in the kenzan, but after many attempts and with the assistance of the Hokusei Flower Arrangement Club students and teacher they were able to arrange their flowers as they desired.
In the end, they created beautiful and unique flower arrangement which the teacher praised.
Promoting internationalization has been a goal of Hokusei Gakuen University since its establishment. As part of this, the university has been working to provide a variety of international exchange programs and events in addition to formal academic classes that are taught in several languages.
At present, there are 19 international students studying at Hokusei Gakuen University in the fall semester exchange program (16 students who arrived in September and three who are continuing from last semester). A calligraphy introductory lesson was held on Wednesday, October 18, as one of the various Japanese culture programs for the international students.
This was the first time for the international students to do Japanese calligraphy, so they began by learning how to use the tools, especially the special fude (brush). At first it was difficult for them to hold the brush correctly, but they learned with help from the Calligraphy Club members.
After learning how to hold the fude, they moved to next step of learning how do draw lines and curves. After that, they practiced writing actual kanji (Japanese characters) starting with easy ones like yama (山= mountain)and kawa (川= river). Finally, the international students displayed their works on the blackboard and introduced why they choose the word that they wrote.
On October 20, HUIT (Hokusei University International Team) held a tsukimi (moon viewing) party in the International Lounge.
This tsukimi party was organized to give international students and Hokusei students an opportunity to experience Japanese tsukimi, a traditional autumn event in which people watch the full moon while enjoying mochi, Japanese rice cake.
Unfortunately, the participants this year could not see the moon because of the cloudy weather. However, they were able to enjoy the mochi part of tsukimi. Using a large wooden usu (mortar) and kine (mallet) they did mochi-tsuki, which is the traditional method of making mochi by pounding steamed rice with a large wooden mallet to make soft, sticky, and very tasty rice cake.
Everyone was excited as individuals took turns swinging the mallet to pound the rice while the onlookers shouted encouragement. When the mochi was finished, everyone enjoyed eating this traditional Japanese treat. The international students will certainly remember their first time to do mochi-tsuki.
Hokusei Gakuen University holds several events, like this tsukimi party, throughout the year to encourage communication between Hokusei students and international students. Don’t miss the other events that will be held in the International Lounge!
A photo scavenger hunt was held on Friday, September 29 at the International Lounge. There were 30 students, including international students and Hokusei students, at this event.
The participants had fun doing two kinds of ice-breakers before the photo scavenger hunt started. First, they played a game called “Name Catch” to remember everyone’s names. After that, the 30 participants counted off into groups of five and did two-minute self-introductions in small groups.
Then the photo scavenger hunt started. The students had to complete a variety of given missions by taking various pictures around the campus within a given amount of time. They quickly searched here and there around the campus within the designated time, with some groups making it back to the International Lounge just before time was up.
The highest scoring team won the game, and they received a box of famous Hokkaido assorted sweets as their prize.
The exchange students had a chance to try on kimonos on Tuesday, October 3. At first, they seemed slightly puzzled as they put on the unfamiliar clothes. However, they were fascinated by kimono’s beauty and enjoyed taking pictures of each other.
Afterwards, they took a walk to Nakajima Park. Although the weather did not cooperate, they had fun experiencing this aspect of traditional Japanese culture.
On Thursday, September 14, the International Exchange Courses※ orientation was held in the International Lounge.
On that day, most of the teachers who are in charge of these courses attended the orientation. First, each teacher briefly summarized his/her course to all the students. Afterwards, there was a question and answer time when students could talk to the teachers individually about each class. The International Exchange Courses orientation is held every April and September soon after the international students arrive at Hokusei.
※Hokusei Gakuen University provides international communication-related subjects in which Hokusei Gakuen University students and overseas students have the opportunity to study together. International Exchange Courses are designed for overseas students to study subjects in fields ranging from Japanese culture, literature, and economy to comparative culture and mass communication in English or other languages.
A welcome party for the fall 2017 international students was held on September 12 in the college hall. About 40 participants, including international students, Hokusei students, and staff, joined the party and were welcomed by Prof. Peter Gray, Director of the International Education & Language Center.
In the middle of the party, the 19 international students introduced themselves in front of everyone. One international student who is from the United States explained his catchy nickname in Japanese. In addition, an international student who is from Korea told us his passion for Japanese baseball and said, “I’d like to go to the Sapporo Dome to watch baseball as soon as possible!” All of the international students gave a unique self-introduction.
After the welcome party, another party was held on the second-floor of the college hall, and everyone enjoyed playing “Human Bingo.” The international students and Hokusei students had lots of fun interacting and chatting with each other.
The new international students for the fall semester of 2017 have arrived on campus! We are glad to welcome 19 students from eight countries and seven universities or colleges. We hope all the international students will experience a rewarding and fun campus life at Hokusei.
The farewell party for the spring 2017 international students was held by HUIT (Hokusei University International Team) at the International lounge on July 7. There were 33 students, including international students and Hokusei students, at this event.
The theme of the farewell party was “traditional Japanese summer festival” and it was held for the International students who have studied at Hokusei Gakuen University from September 2016 to July 2017 or from April 2017 to July 2017.
The events at the farewell party included a rubber band gun shooting gallery, fishing for balloons, yukata try-on, and nagashi-soumen, which is a Japanese fun style of eating thin wheat noodles (soumen) that are served in water flowing down a special half-pipe. Not only the international students but also many of the Hokusei students commented that it was their first time to try nagashi-soumen.
After these activities, HUIT held a traditional Japanese summer game called suika-wari, which involves someone who is blindfolded trying to split open a watermelon with a long stick. All the participants consumed the pieces of watermelon afterwards!
In addition, July 7 is the festival of Tanabata (the Star Festival) in Japan, so HUIT performed a short play re-enacting the origin of Tanabata for the participants. After watching the play, everyone wrote their wishes on tanzaku (strips of paper) and hung them on a weeping willow.
This was the last event put on by HUIT in the 2017 spring semester, but we look forward to the events that they are planning for the fall semester as well.
A Japanese Speech Presentation by the international students was held in Hokusei’s International Lounge on Thursday, July 6.
This presentation is held at the end of every semester, and it is a compilation of what the international students studied while at Hokusei. Each student spoke in Japanese about the culture of their own country, memories of their stay in Japan, and various other topics.
Hokusei students also participated in this event as the audience. They enjoyed asking questions about the speeches and talking to the international students after the formal presentations were over. It was a successful event for everyone involved.