Extracurricular Activities

We think that immersion in a work environment in a different culture equips students with skills that go beyond the specific internship experience, and we could make the program more rewarding and fruitful for the students. We designed the program to be an opportunity to explore not only academic interests, but also cultural views. Based on such a policy, we included extracurricular activities such as a one-day excursion with students who are currently enrolled in the school, and Japanese culture experiences.

Field Trip to Yamanashi Prefecture

Forest Therapy Research Institute: For the first time in the UTRIP program, we visited the Forest Therapy Research Institute (FTRI). The institute is located near Lake Yamanaka in Yamanashi Prefecture. It is one of the University of Tokyo Forests ("The University of Tokyo Forests" of the University of Tokyo were established in 1894 for research and educational purposes in the field of forestry and forest science. There are seven branch forests in a wide variety of vegetation localities. The forest area is about 32,300 ha in the total) The institute is situated at the foot of Mr. Fuji, on the banks of Lake Yamanaka.

Narusawa Ice Cave:

This is one of the main caves in the foot of Mt. Fuji. The cave is concentric-vertical and is 153 meter long. Even during mid-summer, visitors can see real ice.

Aokigahara (See of Trees):

Aokigahara is a 35 square-kilometer (14 sq mil) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. The forest floor consists primarily of volcanic rock and is difficult to penetrate with hand tools such as picks or shovels.

Saiko Iyashi no Sato NENBA (Lake Saiko Healing Village):

The village is situated at Lake Saiko. This village was destroyed by a landslide during a typhoon in 1966. Forty years later the village's traditional thatched roofed houses were reconstructed and the village reopened as a museum and traditional craft village. Students took up the challenge to try their hands at Japanese folk crafts such as Japanese paper making, an owl strap made with Japanese traditional design cloth, and a paper-mache picture.

Japanese Culture Experience

Students participated in Japanese culture experience seminars: Tea ceremony, Japanese calligraphy, and Sumie (Ink wash painting).

Note: Sumie Ink wash painting developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). The concept of sumie was introduced to Japan during the Kamakura era (1185 – 1333). Beauty in a sumie picture is expressed with various styles of lines (bold & strong lines, and lines drawn with watery ink controlling the color tone) and blank spaces, where the painter intentionally leaves white areas with no shadows on the paper. Blank space is created to express the inside of the picture. Beauty in a picture derives from the balance between blank space and drawing.

Japanese Language Course

Japanese language course was provided in cooperation with the Center for the Japanese Language Education at the headquarters of UTokyo. The course was specially arranged as an intensive survival course for UTRIP students. The mainly practiced a conventional dialogue for situations in daily life.

Voices from the participants

  • I had studied some Japanese before arriving in Tokyo, but I did not know any practical phrases (ordering at a restaurant, etc.) The course was incredibly useful.
  • I am amused at the amount of Japanese that I learned at the course in such a short time.