The worldwide Augustana College experience

If this is Osaka, what is Tokyo like?!

Due to some (un)fortunate circumstances, I had to leave the group for a day and go to Osaka. Even though all the Augie kids had tons of fun in Hiroshima, I was glad to leave for a day and see Osaka at its finest because it is the second largest city in Japan, after world’s biggest metropolitan area, Tokyo. Unlike the sushi place in Moline, real Osaka is everything but cheap. When I got to Osaka Umeda train station, I was surprised because that was exactly what I would expect Tokyo to be like: commercials and billboards EVERYWHERE, street performers on every step and crowds of people rushing, and I swear if you stop walking or don’t know where you are going, somebody will run into you (hate to enhance the stereotype).

I stayed a night at Yuki Serizawa’s place, and Yuki was an exchange student at Augie last year. She is a senior studying International Relations at Kobe City University for Foreign Studies, and wanted to show me around Osaka and welcome me to her home. Even though Serizawa family’s hospitality cannot be described with words and I thoroughly enjoyed staying with them, I tried to spend as much time possible in the city of Osaka, since I only had a day and the city has metro population that is bigger than that of Chicago.

Yes, I did rock some Dance Dance Revolution (it is actually called Dansu Dansu Reboryūshon, no joke). When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I sucked at it pretty bad, since the guy dancing next to me was spitting his A game. At least I can hide my foreignness (to some extent?) at Augie, but if you can’t step on those arrows at the right time, you have a tourist sign on your forehead that says you’re not Japanese. It’s almost like having a shoe tie wrapped around your head in Europe, but let’s not start that discussion.

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Dansu Dansu Reboryūshon

Dansu Dansu Reboryūshon

 

In ww2, Osaka was bombed heavily only one day before the end of the war, and that is why the city is brand new. Perfectly balanced modern and eco-freindly buildings have gardens and bars on rooftops, from where you can see the whole city and enjoy your overpriced beer.

When we came back, Yuki’s mom made curry rice with beef, because central Honshu is well know for world class beef. It is very common to drink beer with dinner and is also a little inappropriate to say “no”, so Yuki’s dad kept pouring and I was just being polite. Amazing culture, no wonder people are so nice and welcoming. When he heard I’m from Belgrade, he pulled out a map and we talked about soccer for about an hour (note: his English was as good as my Japanese, but we were just yelling random player’s names and tapped each other on the shoulder when agreeing that Dragan Stojkovic Piksi is the best player ever to play in J-League).

The Serizawa's

The Serizawa’s

True value of education at Augustana aren’t small classes or student-to-faculty ratio. Instead, it is people that you meet from all over the world that will accommodate you in their home, show you around and get you a little tipsy with their family members. This is my second time visiting friends that I met at Augie, after my Eurotrash adventure in the Netherlands with Berend Janssen last Christmas break.

5 Responses to “If this is Osaka, what is Tokyo like?!”

  1. Vuk, It is great to read about your visit to Osaka. Sounds like you are having fun. Keep writing blogs, it’s great to read about your experience in East Asia.

  2. I am so glad you enjoyed staying with us .

  3. I will be back, Tomi!

  4. Thanks for your post. I appreciated reading about your experience. I also loved hearing your take on the “true value of an Augustana education.”

  5. thanks Keri, stay tuned!

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