A Glimpse of Sendai: Exploring Student Life in Japan (Part 1)

  • 2021/7/1
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Exploring Student Life in Japan Part 1

Living in Japan is completely different with paying a short visit to Japan. You will find this especially true if you are a student in Japan. In this column, I will introduce to you how amazing it is to be as a foreign student in Japan.

Tohoku University in Four Seasons

The university in which I am studying is the Tohoku University. “Tohoku(東北)” means north-east and the name reflects the location of the university in North-east Region of Japan. Tohoku University, as one of the top national universities in Japan, was founded in 1907 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It has 4 campuses and the one I am studying in is the Kawauchi(川内) Campus. The photos show some parts in the campus in the 4 seasons.

1 . The cherry blossom tree under the “light of spring”.
2. The lovely evening sky of the campus in summer.
3. The rainbow formed after the autumn rain. Photo taken from the writer’s lab.
4. Watch your steps and take care not to fall while walking in the snow-covered campus in winter!

Moving Shelves - The Haunted Library?

The main library of Tohoku University is located in Kawauchi Campus. What is interesting is that there is an underground stack room in the library, where you have to attend a full guidance before you can enter as usual if you are not a researcher or a graduate student. Remember to leave your belongings outside before entering the stack room.

Don’t worry. The shelves won’t move by themselves. The library is NOT haunted.

1 . Inside the stackroom, there are moving bookshelves to save space for more books.
2. Press this button to allow the shelves to move automatically, making way for you to go through to get books.

The Free Gymnasium

Okay. It’s time to burn some calories. Let me introduce to you the university gymnasium. The university gymnasium is wide and is fully equipped with basketball courts, badminton courts, a swimming pool, a training room and others. How much do I pay for it? Nah, I only pay my energy and time for it. It is free! As long as you are a student in the university, you book for the space and the equipments for free!

Check Your Calories Intake!

Tired after walking around the campus? Let’s have lunch!

3. Here is the 学食(gakushoku – school cafeteria) of the Kawauchi Campus.
4. Get your favorite dishes, pay at the counter, get your receipt and…
5. …calculate your calories intake! For me, it was 739kcal… wait, what?!
6. Remember to get yourself a prepaid card to ensure a smooth payment at the counter.

The Laboratory of Cultural Anthropology – My Second Home

Next, I will show you the laboratory where I am doing research in. My major is Cultural Anthropology, an academic field of human science that deals with any culture of humans. For me, I am doing a research on Japanese chess culture.

But wait. A lab? As in the chemistry laboratory? Yes. But we are not going to do any experiments in the lab. Instead, we always have parties such as Christmas party or normal tea party in the lab. When there is no party in the lab, we will study in the lab because we have a small library in the lab! Besides, there are also a refrigerator, a sofa, a tea corner and a kitchen. This is why I call the lab as my second home!

1 . The decorations in the lab for the welcome party on the day of the entrance ceremony.
2. The room next to the lab, we have our 院生室(inseishitsu – research room for the graduate students) where all the graduate students have their own desk with a table lamp and a book shelf behind of it.
3. My bookshelf has not only books but also my favorite mixed nuts snack and some other food.
4. An Electric Fan for Winter? – Of course no. This is not a fan but a heater. HOT! Is not it?

A “Sleepover” for the Rising Sun

As what I mentioned above, since my lab is equipped with all the stuff we need to live, you can literally sleepover here. No one will chase you away and no time limit until what time you can stay in the lab.

I did sleepover in the lab when I finished my entrance examination for graduate school and that was the craziest thing I had ever done in my student life here in Sendai. I was thinking of waking up at 3:30am the next day to climb up the Mt. Aoba to the 青葉城址(Aobajoushi – Aoba Castle Ruins) to watch the sunrise. I remember the time for the sun to rise was at 4am. I admit it was a crazy idea but all I did really worth it.

5. The beautiful view of sunrise from the top of the mountain.
6. Greetings from the statue of Masamune Date, the 大名(daimyou – Japanese feudal lord) of Sendai in Edo Period!



27 years old. Bachelor’s Degree holder in Japanese Language and Linguistics program. Currently pursuing Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology, Doing research on Japanese chess culture at Tohoku University, Japan. Loves Japanese chess and Japanese culture.