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Category Archive: Events

Countdown to KCP’s Fall Extended 2017 Application Deadline

  • Posted by:
  • February 1, 2017

Majoring in Japanese? Graduating this spring? Read on!

KCP’s Fall Extended 2017 term application deadline is on February 8 and you wouldn’t want to miss it. Here are some highlights of the Fall Extended Program:

  • You get to spend more time in Japan than when in a regular semester program
  • Earn over 2 years of Japanese language academic credit
  • Experience the culture through our Japanese Culture and Civilization course
  • Passionate and enthusiastic teachers are readily willing to spend individual time to help students

KCP Flickr.

  • Have good time management skills— consider working half time to help supplement costs
  • Financial aid may be available even to graduates
  • Teachers will help with resumes and/or job interviews
  • Enough time to network and explore potential employment in Tokyo
  • Experience the stunning beauty of Japan’s changing seasons

The Fall Extended Program is ideal for students or recent college graduates who want to achieve higher levels of Japanese proficiency for educational or career reasons.

Students commit to a Fall Extended program with a long-term student visa. You can make the decision to extend your study in Japan without having to leave Japan. You can stay up to as long as the visa will allow, usually 1.5 years or 2 years.

Read about our students’ experiences with KCP and Japan:

“With some additional study at KCP, my near-perfect proficiency opened up many new doors for me and made me much more employable in Japan. KCP’s encouragement is the most significant turning point in my recent life. Without it I can easily say that I wouldn’t be in Tokyo right now or have a job at a prestigious IT company.” – Brian Bergquist, Western Washington University

“It can be intimidating at first to pursue a program like this, especially for long-term study. But while I’ve been studying at KCP I’ve never felt like I couldn’t overcome challenges I was faced with; the quality of the school and instructors is top-notch.” – Adam Clay, Auburn University

“I picked this program because it is intense and I need to be challenged in order to make progress. Also it’s one of the few programs that actually gives college credit. I truly enjoyed my first semester teachers and overall experience in Japan. I learned so much and improved so much that I would love to continue with this program.” – Amanda Curry, Broome Community College

KCP Flickr

“Since KCP, I have graduated from my U.S. university and am now living and working in Japan at the JET Program.  I’m working towards a career in International Education. The possibilities are endless if you pursue your goals and dreams with passion.” – Hector Santiago, Brookdale Community College

Interested? Visit our website at kcpinternational.com for more details on how to apply.

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Countdown to KCP’s Spring 2017 Application Deadline

  • Posted by:
  • January 6, 2017

Cherry blossoms in full bloom, hanami parties left and right, and an array of festivals to take part in. Spring is the perfect time to visit Japan. There is no better place to admire and experience the beauty of the season than with all the lush foliage Japan has to offer, as well as the many events that welcome spring. KCP Spring 2017 application deadline is January 10, only a few days away! Don’t miss out on your chance to experience the beauty of Japan’s unique culture, history, sights, the people, and everything else it has to offer.

Here’s what our students have to say about KCP and Japan:

“I felt that class in general was very productive and that everything I learned I could apply outside of class. I found the conversation practice to be particularly interesting since I got to speak with other students from different countries and hear different perspective on topics.” –  Terry Chan, Spring 2015

“These courses were incredibly informative. Each professor was more interesting than the last and gave an in-depth look at many of the multi-faceted aspects of Japanese culture. This is exactly the kind of thing students need. More exploration of this beautiful country, its people and its culture.”  – William Gomez, Spring 2016

KCP students during hanami season. | KCP Flickr

“I particularly enjoyed the culture classes and the BBQ. The culture classes I found very interesting as I have never really learned about traditional Japanese customs. My favorites were the Kamakura trip, the Asakusa Sanja matsuri, and the kabuki. The BBQ was just a fun day and a really good chance to bond with classmates.” – Yuna Murayama, Spring 2013

“Not only did I have a great time at KCP, but the improvement I’ve witnessed in my Japanese proficiency is astounding. I still can’t quite believe I’ve learned so much in such a short time.” – Suhaib Sarmad – Spring 2014

KCP attends Sanja Masuri. | KCP Flickr

“Without a doubt, your Japanese will improve while attending KCP, but the extent to which it will depends on you. Those who choose homestay invariably will improve speaking and listening comprehension as living with Japanese speakers is a sure way to improve. Balancing schoolwork and exploring Tokyo can be difficult as you’ll want to hang out with friends and discover cool places but also maintain your grades and study for tests. Take advantage of KCP’s resources such as the English support class and be sure to confirm things with your teachers after class. Making friends with the other international students is one of the funnest part of KCP as you’ll not only practice more Japanese, but learn about other cultures and have friends worldwide once you return home.” – Sophia Warren, Spring 2016

KCP chatting event, Spring 2013. | KCP Flickr

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Japanese Athletes Go for Gold at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

  • Posted by:
  • September 26, 2016

Still fresh with excitement  from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, Japanese athletes are coming into focus with the anticipation of what’s to come when Japan hosts the 2020 Olympic games.

Japan proudly competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil from the 5th to the 25th of August and earned a bevy of awards to show for it.  The Japanese Olympic Committee was created in 1911. Japanese athletes have been competing regularly since the nation first participated in 1912.

Japan has had a 28738086981_d83e7e68e3_znumber of great athletes over the years with Ichiya “Ichy” Kumagai (熊谷 一弥 Kumagai Ichiya, 1890 – 1968), born in in Ōmuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, as the first Japanese Olympic medalist who won in tennis in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Kumagai actually won two silver medals, one in the men’s singles event where he lost to the South African Louis Raymond and the other in the men’s doubles event with his tennis partner Seiichiro Kashio, losing to Oswald Turnbull and Maxwell Woosnam from Great Britain.

Kosuke Hagino. | Andy Miah

fidlerIn the recent 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Japan had their proud share of gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals totaling 41 medals (12 gold, 8 silver, 21 bronze).  The sports the Japanese athletes excelled at and the official Olympic medal tally were wresting (4 gold, 3 silver), judo (3 gold , 1 silver , 8 bronze), swimming ( 2 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze), gymnastics (2  gold, 1 silver), badminton (1 gold, 1 bronze), table tennis (1 silver, 2 bronze), athletics (three distinct sets of events: track and field, road running, racewalking;  1 silver, 1 bronze), synchronized swimming (2 bronze), canoeing (1 bronze), tennis (1 bronze) and weight lifting (1 bronze).

Sohei Ono. | C. Fidler

Some notable Japanese athletes in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics include:

kohei_uchimura_2011Kosuke Hagino (萩野公介, born 15 August 1994) – he specializes in the individual medley and 200 m freestyle in swimming. He is a four-time Olympic medalist, and most recently won the gold in the 400 m individual medley.

Shohei Ono (大野将平, born 3 February 1992) – he won a gold medal for judo for Men’s 73 kg division.

Kōhei Uchimura (内村 航平 , born January 3, 1989) – he won a gold medal for gymnastics for Men’s artistic individual all-around category.

Kōhei Uchimura. | Rick McCharles

Risako Kawai (川井 梨紗子, born 21 November 1994) – won a gold medal in wrestling by defeating Maria Mamashuk of Belarus 3-0 in the Women’s freestyle 63 kg category.

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KCP Summer 2016 Students Make Curry in Cooking Class

  • Posted by:
  • September 19, 2016

Curry has its origins in the cuisine of the Indian Subcontinent. It consists of a complex combination of herbs and spices. Curry or karē is a favored dish in Japan. It is so popular it is even sometimes called Japan’s national dish. It is usually served over rice, udon noodles, or bread. Several varieties of vegetables and meats are used to make Japanese curry.  It’s the perfect satisfying dish to enjoy all year round.


KCP Flickr.

Curry was introduced to Japan by the British during the Meiji era (1868–1912) via India. India at the time was under the colonial rule of the British Raj (the rule of the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947). The British Navy popularized the Western-style curry, influenced by stews mixed with curry powder. The imperial Japanese Navy adopted the delicious dish from the Royal Navy to prevent beriberi (a cluster of symptoms caused primarily by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency).  Today, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has curry on their menu every Friday.

Our Summer students recently had a cooking session and learned how to make Japanese curry with rice. Take a look at our photos!


KCP Flickr.


KCP Flickr.


KCP Flickr.


For more photos of the cooking session, visit our KCP Flickr album.

Are you in the mood for some delicious Japanese curry? Check out this recipe!

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Gearing Up for Tokyo 2020: “Discover Tomorrow”

  • Posted by:
  • September 8, 2016

With the culmination of the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Japan is set to host the next Summer Olympics, in 2020, in Tokyo! At the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympics, Japan gave us a spectacular sneak preview of what we can expect on the next grand event, and it’s something to be excited about!

The Olympic Games ceremonies of the Ancient Olympic Games were considered an important part of the games. Today’s modern Olympic games have opening, closing, and medal ceremonies that derive some aspects from the Ancient Games.  The prominence of Greece from where the games originated is given importance in both the opening and closing ceremonies, both much anticipated events. Presentations continue to grow in scale, scope, and grandeur with each successive celebration of the Olympic games.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 official logo. / Screengrab from tokyo2020.jp

The Olympic opening ceremonies showcase the proud history, culture, and achievements of the host country to the entire world. It represents the official commencement of an Olympic Games. The Olympic Charter mandates various elements that frame the Opening Ceremonies of a celebration of the Olympic Games. Most of these rituals were canonized at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Olympic closing ceremonies, in contrast to the opening ceremonies, are gradually developed more by tradition than by official mandate.  It begins with the “Parade of Flags” where flag bearers from each participating country enter the stadium in single file. This is followed by the “Parade of Athletes,” which is the blending of all the athletes, a tradition that began during the 1956 Summer Olympics. Before closing the Olympic games with the Olympic Flame being extinguished, the next host nation introduces itself. This is usually done with much artistic pomp to whet the excitement of the audience in anticipation for what’s yet to come, and Japan did not disappoint!


Screengrab from YouTube video by Show Fever

2020 Tokyo Olympics with its slogan “Discover Tomorrow” promises to bring into focus Japan’s technological innovations with its high-tech cool theme.  The presentation began with hundreds of performers garbed in traditional Japanese costumes gliding through the arena to display the flag of Japan. This was followed by a fast-paced sporting and cultural video tour of Tokyo. A multilingual translation app is available on smartphones to describe the entire scene.  It seems like pure science fiction but this is what Japan wants to bring to life in the next games in four years, truly an Olympic feat in technology. No less than Japan’s Prime Minister himself, Shinzo Abe, made an appearance at the closing ceremonies in Rio dressed as the iconic Super Mario game character.  A remarkable show stopper indeed!

Here’s  a clip of the closing ceremony of the 2016 RIO Olympic Games, YouTube video by Show Fever:

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Tōhoku and its Great Summer Festivals

  • Posted by:
  • July 25, 2016

Although the Tōhoku region of Japan suffered devastating damages along its east coast with March, 2011’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, it is slowly getting back on its feet.

Ou_MountainsThe Tōhoku region (東北地方 Tōhoku-chihō), or “Northeast Region,” consists of six prefectures: Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata. Tōhoku  region is a quaint, hilly, and mountainous area full of picturesque scenery. The Ōu Mountains are the longest range in Japan, stretching about 500 km south from the Natsudomari Peninsula of Aomori Prefecture to the Nasu volcanoes (a group of complex volcanoes whose talles peak, Sanbonyari, is 6,289 ft. high.) Mount Nasu is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountins of Japan.

Ōu Mountains. | 佐藤智史

Tōhoku was historically known as the Michinoku region in 654 with an ancient settlement existing between the seventh and ninth centuries. The last stronghold of the indigenous Emishi on Honshu was the site of many historic battles. Traditionally, Tōhoku was a granary because it supplied 20 percent of Japan’s rice crops. In recent decades, Tōhoku has developed other industries in iron, cement, steel, pulp, and petroleum refining.

August is a much anticipated month in the region with the “Three Great Summer Festivals of Tohoku” to look forward to. These are:


Sendai Tanabata Matsuri –  Tanabata, or “Evening of the seventh,” is also known as the Star Festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year depending on either the solar or lunar calendar and the area in Japan.  It commemorates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi who, according to legend, were lovers separated by the Milky Way and were allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar.

Tanabata Festival in Edo print by Utawaga Hiroshige

7803873622_af470e88e7_zNebuta Matsuri – this festival is held every year from August 2 to August 7. “Nebuta” refers to a prominent warrior-figure–his float is paraded through the streets and accompanied by dancers wearing costumes while chanting “Rasserā.” The festival is held in Aomori City and attracts numerous visitors with its grand showcase of extravagant floats and lanterns that can measure as big as 10 meters.

Float decor at Nebuta Matsuri. | Laura Tomàs Avellana

Akita Kanto Matsuri – celebrated every August 3-6 in Akita City, the festival commemorates hopes for a good harvest. Over 200 bamboo poles, about 5 to 12 meters long, are attached with 24 or 46 lanterns and topped with gohei (wooden wands).

Tōhoku, in spite of its industrialization and having gone through a natural calamity, has still maintained its tranquil and majestic beauty and has three great summer festivals that make it a place always worth visiting when in Japan.

Festival lanterns. | Chris Lewis

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KCP Holds Technical School Fair

  • Posted by:
  • August 30, 2011

KCP International will host a technical school fair in Tokyo on  7 September. Reps from various technical institutions will explain to KCP students their options in continuing study in Japan after they graduate from KCP.


After high school, Japanese students can choose to take senmon gakko, or vocational-technical courses. Hundreds of specialized classes are offered in various schools in Japan through evening programs or correspondence education. In some cases, high school seniors can take a specialized course along with their regular classes, such as hairdressing, mechanics, or architecture. Some are two-year programs that provide an Associates Degree. More on education in Japan.

The technical courses featured in KCP;’s fair include Fashion, Anime, Game, Hotel, Bridal, Jewelry, Graphic, Food, and Business. American students who take any of these courses can put into practice the skills that they have learned when they return home.

Japan is at the forefront of many fields like gaming technology, a multi-billion dollar business. Japanese developers have pioneered many legendary games like Super Mario and Pacman. Japanese companies such as Nintendo and Sony are leaders in this industry and manufacture all kinds of gadgets and consoles that are constant favorites of gamers everywhere.

To learn first-hand from Japanese teachers who are experts in their fields is a great opportunity that will reap valuable rewards.

This two-hour affair runs noon – 2 p.m. in the KCP school grounds. This is the perfect chance for you to open new doors to your future. Be sure to be there!

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Today in Japan: Gozan no Okuribi

On August 16 in Kyoto–today–some enormous bonfires are burning.


Spectacular okuribi bonfires on five Kyoto mountains signal the end of summer.

Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火), more commonly known as Daimonji (大文字), is one of the iconic festivals of Kyoto. Five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding the city to signify the moment when the spirits of deceased family members are believed to be returning to the spirit world—thus the name Okuribi (送り火) (roughly, “send-off fire”).

Specific families have the hereditary duty of organizing all the logistics of the bonfires, and they spend many hours annually providing volunteer labor to maintain this tradition.

Here’s the play-by-play:

  • Daimonji (大文字), “large” or “great” and the most famous: on Daimonji-Yama/Higashi-Yama, Nyoigatake at 8:00 pm
  • Myō/Hō (妙・法), “wondrous dharma” (Buddhist teachings): on Matsugasaki, Nishi-Yama/Higashi-Yama at 8:10 pm
  • Funagata (舟形), the shape of a boat: on Nishigamo, Funa-Yama at 8:15 pm
  • Hidari Daimonji (左大文字), again, “large:” on Daihoku-San, Hidaridaimonji-San at 8:15 pm
  • Toriigata (鳥居形), a torii gate: on Toriimoto, Mandara-San at 8:20 pm.

By 8:30, all the characters are lit. Each bonfire lasts for 30 minutes.


A montage of four of the fires.  Which one is missing?

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Celebrate this!—Takoage-Gassen

The Takoage-Gassen (凧揚げ合戦) , or Kite-Fighting Contest, is a spectacular festival of some 100 large kites (tako)  flying in the sky over the Nakatajima Dunes, Hamamatsu, City, Shizuoka Prefecture.  It happens May 3-4.. The Nakatajima Dunes are one of the three largest sand dunes in Japan, which overlooks the Enshunada Sea.

Here you can see many large kites measuring 3.5 meters by 3.5 meters (roughly 11 ft. x 11 ft.). Then to the sound of the trumpet, the fighting starts. Making the 5-mm thick hemp strings intertwine, the kite-fliers try to cut their opponents’ strings by friction, which is very exciting to watch.


The strings burn, giving off a scorched smell. You can try flying a kite yourself in the grounds adjoining the shuttle bus terminal.


This festival dates back to the 16th Century when large kites were flown in celebration of the birth of a baby son to the Lord of Hamamatsu Castle. Even today, kites are flown at Hamamatsu when a baby boy is born.


A festive day to pray for boys’ good health and a bright future, it is the custom in Japan to fly decorations called koinobori, which are carp-shaped streamers.


Carp are known to swim up waterfalls and this powerful image of the carp overlaps with the image of advancing in one’s career.


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