During orientation there will not be many Japanese students on campus because their semester starts at a different date. Some of the programs I think would be good to participate in is the Speaking Partner Program and the Experience Japan Programs that some of the students run. 

The Speaking Partner Program is especially good because this allows you to interact with and become friends with a Japanese person right off the bat. The person you will correspond with will most likely be an English Major and want to learn about the language and interact with a Gaijin (foreigner). They will show you things and help explain things to you, but overall just treat them like you would a friend back home. 

The Experience Japan Programs and set up by students of Kansai Gaidai and will focus on the travelling, traditons, and food of Japan. This is a good way to meet people and try new and or different things. I remember one of the first programs was a trip to Kyoto, and another was making and eating sushi. 

Besides these actual programs set up or organized by Kansai Gaidai there are some other things that I highly recommend doing. 

Explore the area. Whether it is by walking, bike or some other method of transportation just take some time to explore. I will be mentioning several places in subsequent posts, as well as how to get there and the like. 

After you have made some Japanese friends there are some things that you should have them help you out with, one of those things is to buy a bike. There are several used bike shops where you can buy one, and you should be able to get one for under 10000 yen (about 100 dollars), some much cheaper, regardless it is really handy to have a bike.

Another good thing to have a Japanese friend around for is to get your Alien Registration Card. If you are staying in Japan for longer than 90 days you are required to obtain an Alien Registration Card, this replaces having to carry your passport with you for the most part, and by law you must have your card with you at all times. To obtain your Alien Registration card you have to go to the Hirakata City Hall.

Before you go to the City Hall, there are some documents you have to present to them before you can get your card. When you were applying to Kansai Gaidai they had you provide a number of photographs of yourself, two of them should be given back to you when you get your orientation packet. You will need these two photos. If you don’t have them there is a photobooth directly under Hirakata-shi Station where you can get them done. Besides that you will need take your passport with you.

The easiest way to do that is to go to the Hirakata-shi train station, and walk to the Starbucks that is near the AMPM. Walk past the Starbucks on your left and a small park on your right the following building will be the City Hall. Walk into the door on your right (you’ll walk up a slightly inclined ramp), and walk into the building, you will walk down a hall and take a left. You will see a machine strait ahead a little further. You push a button on the machine that will give you a number and then wait for your number to be called (the button will have English below it denoting what it is for).  

After your number is called you walk past the machine and go to the left all the way down the set of desks, the last two or three are for obtaining your Alien Registration Card. There you will have to fill out the application for the card, this is where it is handy to have a Japanese friend with you because if you have any questions they can ask the attendant for you (not many spoke English when I was there). Bring your application packet because it has the address for the Seminar Houses and other information you may need to fill out the application. After filling out the application and getting approved you will be given a piece of paper that acts as a temporary Alien Registration Card, and be told when to come back for your actual card. 

Because this is already long and I have more that I will write I’ll end this post and call it Part 1, following will be Part 2 and there could be a Part 3 depending on how long the second part will be. So until then!