This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Beauty of Fukuoka ~Michael Gigante, CSI Exchange Ambassador to Japan

日本から こんにちは! 私の名前は マイクル ジガンテ です。私は 西南大学の 留学生 です。どうぞよろしくおねがいします! 日本が 大すきです。たのして、おもしろいです! スタテンアイランドに かえりたくない!

What, you don’t understand Japanese? Okay then!

Hello from Japan! My name is Michael Gigante, and I am an exchange student at Seinan Gakuin University. It is very nice to meet you! I love Japan. It is very fun and interesting. I don’t want to return to Staten Island!
Fukuoka, Japan is probably the most amazing city on Earth. I don’t say that very lightly, and I can’t really pinpoint one specific thing. From the language, to the people, to the general atmosphere - Japan is just incredible. The only thing I dislike so far is the fact that time seems to be moving so quickly! One of the coolest little things by far, and something that tells me I am in Japan every day, is the view from my room. Can you see the picture? Mountains! It is absolutely beautiful.

Probably one of my favorite places to visit in Japan is Fukuoka’s Castle ruins, right next to Ohori Park. It is absolutely the most beautiful place in the city, and from the top you can see the entirety of Fukuoka. It really shows off the beauty of the city. The architecture is also incredibly interesting and is nothing like European castles. For one thing, the walls are sloped, which makes them a little easy to climb…don’t ask how I know that, but it raises such interesting questions on the nature of siege warfare in Japan!

The language is also incredibly interesting. I didn’t realize this until I came here, but there are almost like three separate languages within Japanese. First is the very polite form you use to superiors, second is the polite form you use upon meeting someone for the first time, and third is the friendly form. A good example of this can be shown with help of my favorite words: まじ、and ほんとですか.  Both have similar meanings, but the first, まじ, cannot be used to superiors. It basically means: “are you kidding me???” Whereas, ほんとですか, means: “really?” It’s a lot like English, but honestly, I don’t even know any words in extremely formal Japanese, and it feels like such a daunting task to actually have to learn three ways to say a lot of things.

とても おもしろいね?
(Very interesting, right?) Oh wait…

The people are also very cool here, and probably one of my best Japanese friends is a Japanese student named Yuki. He lives at my dorm, but does not go to Seinan Gakuin. He is a fashion student, and we have seen some of his work at student fashion shows. A few weeks ago, I held a birthday party for him in my room…it was a little cramped, but it was a lot of fun! After, he was so grateful that he gave me a small tub of jelly beans. It was very nice of him, but…I hate jelly beans…

おわりました! ありがとう! またね。
(I’m finished! Thanks! Until next time!)