Author: Zoe Simonovic

Personal Essay

Glowing and growing in Japan: an ode

I always knew that I wanted to study abroad. As I neared my graduation date, however, I had accepted the fact that this opportunity had passed me by. While it wasn’t something that caused me great feelings of despair, I was disappointed that I never got to continue my studies in a different country. It […]

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Chinese-style Karamon Gate that guards the Nijo Castle
Feature Story Kyoto

Nijo Castle: preserving the essence of the Edo period

Among the many Japanese historical relics, Nijo Castle is a beautiful building with a deep history in the heart of Kyoto. Built in 1603, this flatland castle has been carefully preserved for millenia and, therefore, has an abundance of stories to tell. First-time travelers should not miss an opportunity to visit this magical site. Nijo […]

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Lanterns line the sides of a shrine in Gion
Feature Story Kyoto

A glimpse of geisha in Gion

The secretive nature of geishas makes seeing one a rare and memorable event. Geisha literally translates to “art person” whose purpose is to host and entertain through conversation, song and dance. The term “geiko” is used primarily for geisha trained in Kyoto. The Gion district in Kyoto is deemed the most famous place for geisha […]

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A crowded crosswalk in the heart of Tokyo
Feature Story Tokyo

Beyond borders: Japan’s cultural etiquette compared to America’s

When arriving in Japan, one may experience a bit of culture shock adjusting to the country’s customs and norms. Japanese culture is highly focused on being reserved, which is quite different from the United States. In America, one can expect loudness, uncleanliness, and at times, utter chaos. While Japan can be chaotic, especially considering the […]

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Large bonsai tree next to a pond at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Feature Story Tokyo

Nature’s influence in Tokyo: from restoration to preservation

First-time visitors of Tokyo will quickly notice the contrast that now exists around them. Something that makes Tokyo different from most big cities is the presence of natural landscapes amongst the looming towers and bustling city life. Massive skyscrapers are seen right next to ancient temples, shrines, forests and gardens. Japan’s intentions on maintaining the […]

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An ornate pagoda at Kiyomizudera Temple
2023 Daily Blog Posts

Good morning, Kyoto!

Day six of the SJMC Japan team’s trip found them at Kiyomizudera Temple, Yasaka Shrine and the geisha district of Gion.

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Headshot in front of Old Main
Introductions

Zoe Simonovic

Hi! My name is Zoe Simonovic and I am a senior at Texas State University majoring in advertising. I am very excited about our trip to Japan. I can’t believe it is finally here! I am due to graduate in December 2023 and I am so happy to have the opportunity to study abroad before […]

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