Hello, everyone! My name is Jon Zmikly, and I am the Program Assistant for this year’s study abroad trip to Japan. I am a senior lecturer in the Digital Media Innovation sequence in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, as well as the Assistant Director for the School’s Media Innovation Lab (MILab). I teach web design, advanced coding, virtual reality and other digital courses, and I am the School’s webmaster and social media manager.
I first went to Japan in August 2016 to visit my high school friend, David, who lives near Kobe with his wife and son. Some of my favorite moments of the trip were:
- eating the most amazing steak of my life in Kobe
- visiting the Arashiyama Monkey Park in Kyoto
- swimming and spending time in Suma Beach
- celebrating Matsuri, a traditional Japanese festival, by slurping noodles from a bamboo slide
- seeing fireworks over Osaka Bay
- experiencing an owl cafe
- taking a hike to Nunobiki Falls in Kyoto
Visiting Osaka and Kyoto was an amazing experience, and I was surprised by many of the differences and similarities between Japanese and American culture. For example, I couldn’t believe how expensive it was to see movies in Japan (upwards of $20)! Also, many of my stereotypes were completely destroyed, such as assuming every store accepted credit cards, or that Wi-Fi was prevalent. Take a look at a few of my photos from the trip below:
I am extremely excited for our trip this year, especially visiting Tokyo. I have a feeling it will be very different from my experience in Osaka since it is such a huge city. While there, I hope to visit the Shinjuku Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, attend a baseball game, and get to know more about Japanese daily life and culture! Thank you to Gilbert Martinez for leading this trip and inviting me to join in on the fun!