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.
The welcome ceremony for three new members of HUIT (Hokusei University International Team) was held on Friday, June 16. The three new members were selected to fill openings on the ten-person HUIT team.
☆What is HUIT? ☆
HUIT (Hokusei University International Team) is a student organization established in 2016 that works directly with the Hokusei International Education & Language Center. HUIT organizes and leads activities that promote international exchanges between Hokusei University students and the international students who are studying at Hokusei. So far, HUIT has held various events such as a dodgeball competition, farewell party and chirashi-sushi party.
The members of HUIT will continue to create a variety of fun events to increase globalization on Hokusei’s campus. You can check past events held by HUIT on Hokusei International Education & Language Center’s Facebook page.
The annual Hokusei Sports Festival was held from June 2 to June 4, and the exchange students participated in this event with Hokusei students. The exchange student teams participated in futsal (indoor soccer) and basketball. Even though their teams were eliminated in the first round, everyone tried hard for their team.
The exchange students were able to experience Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) with the cooperation of the Hokusei Calligraphy Club on Wednesday, June 7. They began by learning how to hold and make strokes with the brush, and they are gradually improved.
Afterwards, they chose a Japanese word that they liked and wrote it. Each student’s best calligraphy is currently exhibited in the International Lounge at Hokusei.
The exchange students had a chance to try on kimonos on Tuesday, June 6. The students enjoyed trying on traditional Japanese kimonos and having their hair set in the unique Japanese style called Nihon-Gami. They took many photos of each other.
Afterwards, they took a walk to a nearby shrine. It was a bit difficult for the students to walk in the unfamiliar clothes; however, they had fun experiencing this aspect of traditional Japanese culture.
The exchange students had a chance to try their hand at Japanese flower arrangement (Kado) on Thursday, June 1. The students enjoyed arranging peony, carnations, sunflowers and other flowers in the traditional style of Japanese flower arrangement with the cooperation of the Hokusei Flower Arrangement Club.
The students listened carefully to the teacher’s explanation and advice, and each of them created their own original flower arrangement.
A special lecture open to both Hokusei University students and the general public was given by Professor Douglas Stiffler Ph.D. on Tuesday, May 30. The title of his lecture was “On Fighting to the Bitter End: Katsu Kaishu and Fukuzawa Yukichi.”
Dr. Douglas Stiffler is a great-great-grandson of Katsu Kaishu, a well-known Japanese politician who played an important role around the beginning of the Meiji era. Dr. Stiffler teaches history at Juniata College (USA), one of Hokusei University’s exchange institutions.
Dressed formally in Japanese clothes, Professor Stiffler talked about Katsu Kaishu’s actions and thoughts during this important time of Japanese history, and he compared him to another important contemporary Japanese leader, Fukuzawa Yukichi.
Many people in the audience, including Hokusei students, asked questions at the end of the formal lecture, and the lecture ended on a high note.
The exchange students were able to experience Japanese tea ceremony (Sado) with the cooperation of the Hokusei Tea Ceremony Club on Wednesday, May 24. The students learned how to perform the tea ceremony with the instruction of a tea ceremony teacher, and they and the members of the Hokusei Tea Ceremony Club enjoyed drinking the unique whisked tea.
This was the first experience for almost all of the exchange students, and although they struggled with sitting on the floor Japanese style, they enjoyed experiencing this famous part of Japanese culture.
International Camp, a two-day, one-night trip for Hokusei students and International students, was held on May 20 to 21. The destinations of the trip were Shiraoi Poroto Kotan (Ainu Replica Village) and several places near the town of Noboribetsu (in southern Hokkaido).
At the Shiraoi Poroto Kotan, the participants visited the Ainu Museum and learned about the culture of the Ainu, who are the indigenous people of Hokkaido. The participants also went to Date Jidaimura, a historical theme park highlighting the Edo Period, and they enjoyed getting to know each other while visiting these places.
International Camp will be held again in the fall.