Kyoto, Japan Versus San Francisco, California | What Are the Similarities and Differences?

As a San Francisco native and a student who has lived in Kyoto for 2.5 years, I’d say that I have a fair amount of experience to talk about the major differences and similarities between the two cities. After all, the minute you move to a new country, you almost immediately began to compare it with ‘home.’

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An Insider’s Look Into the English Programs at Kyoto University’s Economics Department — PART 2

Why Did I Chose the EA Program at Kyoto University Versus the English Management School's IPROMAC Program at Kyoto University?

After many conversations with my Professor, Chihiro Suematsu, and students who were part of the IPROMAC program at Kyoto University, I decided that the English EA Economics Program was the best for me, because of the ability to spend more time researching (with half the number of units necessary to graduate compared to the English Management School's IPROMAC Program), and the Masters Thesis requirement.

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An Insider’s Look Into the English Programs at Kyoto University’s Economics Department — PART 1

What is the Official Title of the Program?

The title of the program is extraordinarily long, so no one seems to use the official title. Instead, when we reference the program colloquially, we say we are part of the “EA Program.”

The official title is: "International Graduate Programme for East Asia Sustainable Economic Development Studies.”

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A Home Away From Home — Guest House Hachi In Kyoto

When I visited back in June of this year prior to their official launch in August 2017, I was fortunate enough to receive a sneak preview from one of the owners — Takuji — an extremely warm, friendly, and open-minded owner. With his business partners — Onur and Amelia, the trio collaborated and designed an immaculate guesthouse called Guest House Hachi with spectacular decor.

Pouring their hearts and souls into establishing the business, the trio often worked long hours and often into the middle of the night to launch this guest house in time for its grand opening this year. Not only did I witness the result of their combined efforts to transform a traditional town house (or 町家 / まちや)into an impeccably-designed guest house in Kyoto, but I also received such a warm welcome that I couldn’t wait to publish an Instagram story about it.

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7 Surprising Facts about the Meat Industry! Who Knew? Need a New Year's Resolution? Here's Some Ideas!

Happy New Year! As we all bask in the wonderful holiday season, full of good cheer and slightly larger waistbands, we may begin to think about our New Year's Resolutions. As such, I felt like this article would potentially spark some revitalized or brand-new interest in trying to eat less meat this year. Or some readers may do something more dramatic — attempting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for an entire year. Regardless, I hope this article teaches you something new. 

As part of a final presentation at Kyoto University, our group presented about the environmental impact of the meat industry. We wrapped up our presentation by sharing our key recommendations to create a more sustainable world. We did our best to answer this question:

“Why Should I Care?”

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The Top 3 Best Salads in Kyoto, Japan

While there are many types of Japanese-style salads that are readily available in Japan, one of the first things that I truly missed are San Francisco-style salads. In the bay area, you can easily obtain enormous, customizable salads with nuts, protein, vegetables, fruits, and even grains at places such as Sweetgreen. One of my personal favorites is a warm, friendly café called Crepevine that serves a hearty Bangkok Thai Chicken Salad with peanuts and a piece of bread on the side. On my recent trip back home, I went to this café at least 3 times with my family.

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Women for World Peace Japanese Speech Contest|日本語弁論大会

After hours upon hours of preparing and practicing the presentation, I finally presented the following speech about “My Future Aspirations” to an audience of over 50 people, including the local mayor. The Women for World Peace (WFWP) NGO organized a half day of festivities for us, replete with a sushi bento for lunch, two spectacular performances, an awards ceremony, and light dessert with the judges at the end.

Enjoy part of my presentation (on albeit, a shaky camera).

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Let's Bring on the Sunshine & Positivity!

I. Why Do You Blog?

Originally, I built my website as a portfolio of what I planned to accomplish, if I were fortunate enough to earn the Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship. Fortunately, I did receive the scholarship, and decided to make this an online resource for Japanese women who are thinking about starting their own business. And now, it's evolved into a collection of inspirational stories of Japanese female entrepreneurs, plus my musings of living abroad as an expat in Kyoto!

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The Most Important Factor to Become a World-Class Organization // Defined

World-class organizations are those that strive on a daily basis to make a positive impact on the lives of others, no matter how large. As such, the most important factor in order to become a world-class organization is the company’s leadership, as demonstrated by Google, Wantedly, and Kyocera.

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The Gratitude Diaries // Cheesy, Yet So True

Happy 8th Month Anniversary, Julie Taeko! Congratulations on lasting this long!

Even more importantly, congratulations to all of my fellow MEXT scholars and friends, who have also surmounted many obstacles, made peace with the そこびえ “penetrating cold” winters, securedアルバイト or “part-time jobs,” located barebones apartments for relatively inexpensive prices, navigated the bureaucracy of the Japanese government, discovered the most delicious restaurants for reasonable prices around town, traveled all over Japan and to nearby countries, made friends with people from literally all over the world, and most importantly, uncovered ways to truly enjoy living in Kyoto, Japan!

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The Wonderful World of Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremonies

I’ve been taking advantage of every opportunity available to me such as visiting Taipei for Christmas with Mariko Fukui, attending yoga classes entirely in Japanese, running along the river, attending entrepreneur related events, visiting my aunts and uncle in Osaka, and literally saying “yes” to almost every opportunity that came my way. After all, I am here to learn — about Japanese female entrepreneurs, economics & business, the Japanese language, the culture, traditions, and history!

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A Quickie // The Complexities of Throwing Away Trash in Kyoto

One of my first “adventures” living in Kyoto was deciphering the mesmerizingly complex trash dispensing system. No, it’s not as straightforward as “trash” versus “recycling.” Instead, there’s at least 6 different ways to separate trash. Not only do you have to learn what exactly goes into a “プラ” or plastic bag, but you also have to clean the interior of all items such as bento boxes, almond butter cans, used natto containers, etc. Most places even require you to remember what days specific types of trash can be thrown out.

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Experiencing the Startup Life in Silicon Valley | A Self-Initiated Mega Tour Part 2

Recently, my professor Chihiro Suematsu of the Graduate School of Economics and Management at Kyoto University sponsored 5 MBA students to join him in a weeklong tour of Silicon Valley startups (GoogleEchoUserChewse), and universities (StanfordUC BerkeleyUSF). Through both my professor’s connections and my contacts, we scheduled a whirlwind, often back-to-back tour of Silicon Valley companies and highlights.

In Part I, enjoy an FAQ-style overview about Silicon Valley. In Part II, you will learn something unique about each of the places we visited.

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Experiencing the Startup Life in Silicon Valley | A Self-Initiated Mega Tour Part 1

Recently, my professor Chihiro Suematsu of the Graduate School of Economics and Management at Kyoto University sponsored 5 MBA students to join him in a weeklong tour of Silicon Valley startups (GoogleEchoUserChewse), and universities (StanfordUC BerkeleyUSF). Through both my professor’s connections and my contacts, we scheduled a whirlwind, often back-to-back tour of Silicon Valley companies and highlights.

All in all, we all felt it was an outstanding success! Thank you very much Professor Suematsu and Kyoto University for allowing us to participate in such an enriching and positive experience.

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San Francisco's Awesome Places | サンフランシスコの素晴らしい所の発表

I wrote and presented this for one of my Japanese courses this past semester, and it's all about my hometown — I place I truly adore. Since it's in Japanese, it's simple, but hopefully, informative.

Here's another blog post in Japanese about female empowerment. Enjoy!

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The Essential Guide for Traveling Overnight in Japan

What’s It Like to Ride on a Night Bus? The Essential Guide for Traveling Overnight in Japan.  

Towards the end of June, I rode my first overnight yakkou bus in Japan. Although many Kyoto University students ride this inexpensive type of bus for long-distance travel, very few will recommend it. As such, I asked around, read an online blog, and figured out how I could make it the best experience possible. After all, I relish new experiences and this was most definitely, a unique experience.

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What It’s Like to Intern at a Japanese Tech Company in Tokyo?

Without a doubt, I am thrilled to be working in Tokyo for a Japanese startup called PhoneAppli, a company that specializes in cloud collaboration technology. I mean…how cool is that? All of my core passions are combined into this experience — learning and experiencing new things, plus working in the dynamic world of technology. One of the many tech companies in Tokyo, PhoneAppli is no google japan internship, but it is a Japanese tech company that offers internships in Tokyo. 

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A Day in the Life of a Kyoto University MEXT Scholar

One of my dreams was to live and work abroad. Thus, I applied for the MEXT Monbukagakusho Scholarship. I am writing this with the hope that it will be valuable for future MEXT scholars, and anyone who is seeking to pursue a graduate degree in another country.  

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Memories to Last a Lifetime at the SGI Hall of the Great Vow

If you are planning to visit the Hall of the Great Vow (HoGV) 大聖堂 Daiseido, please secure a Letter of Introduction from your home country’s SGI office. Otherwise, you won’t be able to visit. The Soka Gakkai Headquarters Building, or the Hall of the Great Vow 大聖堂 Daiseido, is dedicated to world peace. 

Thanks to my mother’s advice, I went straight to the Josei Toda Center from Shinanomachi 信濃町駅 Station to receive my ticket for the Hall of the Great Vow around 10:30 am — quite early. You never how crowded the Hall of the Great Vow may be that day, so it’s best to go earlier than later to secure your ticket!

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A Natural Way to Get ~1 Hour of Free Stair Master Exercise with Mt. Daimonji Hike!

Looking for a way to de-stress, or just want to discover more places around Kyoto? Then, hike this awesome Daimoji trail. Although it’s not as clearly marked as trails in America, these pictures should help you find your way. 

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