Em, who are you again?
Sup. I’m Yichen Shou, but you can call me Ethan.
I am a rising junior majoring in Digital Media Design at the University of Pennsylvania. I am a programmer, a gamer, a lion dancer, and a half-assed artist/Youtuber. You can check out my really outdated website/portfolio thing here; I’ll update it…one day… Oh, I am also an exchange student at the International Christian University (ICU) at Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan.
Woah, Japan? That’s awesome. Can you speak Japanese?
Barely. I took an intensive intro Japanese course my sophomore year, so technically I have 2 years of Japanese under my belt. But you know as well as I do how useless those 3 years of Spanish or French in High School was; at this point I’m just counting on picking it up while in Japan. Hey, if all fails, I’ll just watch a ton of anime.
But aren’t classes in Japanese? Speaking of which, What classes are you going to take anyway?
Luckily for me, ICU is actually a bilingual school. That means every student knows a bit of English and 20% of classes are taught in English. Since my Japanese skills are very limited however, I’ll pretty much be taking only English classes. It’s not as good as it sounds: as a DMD major, I’m supposed to take a combination of a lot of programming classes and a bit of fine arts classes, which are either not offered or are in Japanese. So I’ll be taking some random classes like sociology and communication. And then when I come back to the states I’ll have a WONDERFUL (read: miserable) time taking like 3 hardcore CompSci in the same term.
Wait so when are you coming back? And why are you leaving in the middle of the summer?
Aww you miss me already don’t you? Don’t worry, I’ll be back in spring term of 2015! As for why I’m leaving so early, you see, Japan runs on a trimester system; it’s autumn semester is from September to November, which is a month shorter than what Penn wants. So in order to compensate for the missing month, Penn requires its students going to ICU to also attend their 6 week long summer intensive Japanese course. It’s a bit annoying not being able to intern this summer because I’m leaving this early, but how can I complain about having more time to spend in Japan?
Damn, Ethan. This all sounds mad awesome. Can I study abroad too?
Of course! If you plan early enough, the study abroad program doesn’t need to have anything to do with your major at all. Just look at me; I’m taking entirely non-engineering courses in Japan, and I’m can still graduate on time. Yes, my time back at Penn will be more miserable than usual, but it’s a fair price to pay for taking a 6-month vacation in a foreign country during the middle of college. I recommend everyone to do it!
That’s cool dude. Why are you keeping a blog doe? Didn’t know you were one of those hipster bloggers.
I’m not lol. I just thought this would be a good way to document my adventures in Japan and keep things organized. It’ll also be cool to come back in a few years and read through this blog myself! I’ll try to keep this blog updated every week: try is the key word here haha. Come visit often!
Will do. Why is the blog called “Lion in Tokyo” anyway?
Well, “Lion” because I am a lion dancer and a member of Penn’s premiere lion dance troupe, PennLions. And guess why it’s “in Tokyo”…I’ll give you a minute to figure that one out.
Real funny. Why are you writing this blog in question and answer format?
Because I like talking to myself. Don’t judge me. >_<