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Tag Archive: KCP student

KCP Alum Mike Doeren’s Photos of Japan

  • Posted by:
  • November 14, 2016

We love to see photos taken by our KCP students, as these offer a first-hand view of what strikes them while in Japan.  KCP Summer Short-term 2016 student Mike Doeren shares with us his photos of Tokyo and Mt. Fuji scenery. Thanks for sharing, Mike!


Night life in Tokyo. | KCP Flickr.


Never a dull moment in Japan. | KCP Flickr.


Lanterns. | KCP Flickr.


The journey into Fuji begins. | KCP Flickr.


Met by the sun. | KCP Flickr.


The sun rises at Fuji’s peak. | KCP Flickr.


Descending Fuji. | KCP Flickr.


Temple wishes. | KCP Flickr.

Want to see more KCP photos? Visit KCP Flickr.

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KCP Alumnus Tyrone Harmon’s Japan Experience

  • Posted by:
  • September 29, 2016

Summer Short-term 2016 student Tyrone Harmon sure knew how to have a fantastic time while studying at KCP in Japan. We have pictures to prove it! Thanks for sharing, Tyrone.


Ninja Showdown. | KCP Flickr


Ikebukuro Dorm. | KCP Flickr


Cross culture cooking lessons. | KCP Flickr


At the Kawaii Monster Cafe. | KCP Flickr


Taking J-world by storm. | KCP Flickr


Dabbing Samurai. | KCP Flickr


Asakusa adventures. | KCP Flickr

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Snippets of Japan by KCP Summer Short-term 2015 Alum Haley Albin

  • Posted by:
  • October 22, 2015

Japan is brimming with visual wonders: photo opportunities can be found everywhere you turn. Summer Short-term alum Haley Albin took some fabulous snaps showing various facets of Japan, from crowded streets to rural dwellings amid lush greenery. Check these out!


Tokyo SkyTree at dusk.


A shrine dedicated to the maneki neko at Gotokuji Temple.


The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Kanagawa.


Cosmo Clock 21 at night – has a height of 112.5 meters (369 feet)!


Sunset over Shinjuku.


Shibuya Scramble in action, taken from inside of Shibuya Station.


The hustle and bustle of Takeshita Street in Harajuku.


The tranquility of Iyashi no Sato in Yamanashi Prefecture.

For more of our photos, visit KCP Flickr.

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KCP and Beyond by Hector Santiago

  • Posted by:
  • November 26, 2014

hector9KCP alumnus Hector Santiago describes how his desire to learn more about the culture and language of Japan led him to join the KCP program and later, achieve his goal of working in Japan.

By the end of my second year in college, after having been involved in my school’s Asian culture club on campus and learning about different Asian cultures, I had decided that I wanted to study abroad. Of all the countries I had learned about, I was most enamored of Japan. I knew this was where I wanted to go. I felt a connection to the culture that I couldn’t explain. I started studying the language and even began practicing karate. My hunger for knowledge and experience pertaining to Japan led me to KCP, which had a great reputation as a school using the direct method of language learning while offering total immersion into the culture as well.

In cooking class. | KCP Flickr

hector1When I arrived at KCP on the first day of class, I’m happy to say I was well prepared, as I had taken 2 semesters of Japanese in anticipation of going to Japan. The classes are intense, but I learned a lot, so long as I applied myself and kept trying. During my time at KCP, I was given the opportunities to hone my language skills by attending English support sessions, class trips, and joint events with Hosei University students, like cooking classes and parties. Also, I decided to live with a host family during my stay, which gave me opportunities to practice and learn Japanese daily. That experience has not only enabled me to become more confident in learning and speaking Japanese, but I also developed a lifelong relationship with my host family.

Since my time at KCP, I have gone on to graduate from my university in the U.S. and have started a new life living and working in Japan with the JET Program. The possibilities are endless for you if you pursue your goals and dreams with passion.

KCP is not just any language school. It is a first home for many who want to explore the world outside of their homes. It is a place where people from all over the world can come together and grow with respect for each other’s cultures. KCP is the epitome of an international education.

Hector with a taiko drum. | KCP Flickr


Read other posts by Hector here.

You can also visit Hector’s online travel journal to read about his other study abroad experiences. If you have a question for Hector about his language learning tips, please ask him.

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Gwen Taylor on the Joys of KCP

  • Posted by:
  • October 27, 2014

KCP alumna Gwen Taylor describes how studying at KCP and experiencing Japan have touched her life. She also offers valuable insights about the program. Thanks, Gwen!


I had always felt held back by the speed of language courses at my university. And I thought Japanese culture was something easily understood through textbooks. I wanted to learn so much and was so motivated, but there was often nothing for me to do. In my second year studying Japanese, I got the opportunity to spend three months at KCP. It was everything I dreamed of and more.

Gwen. | KCP Flickr

Not only are the courses magnificently challenging and the staff extremely supportive, but the school is in the heart of Tokyo. I have never been in a place where there was so much to explore, so much to do. One afternoon, I decided to go to the trendy shopping district of Harajuku, and after a great day shopping in a huge population center, I discovered a temple almost totally hidden by a forest. The ease of train travel meant I could go anywhere, from peaceful rural farms to historical monuments, castles, and hot spring resorts; from frantic urban centers to glorious beaches in a single day. It is true that you are only young once, and I believe every young person should get to spend time in Tokyo.

edo7blogThe culture classes taught me more than I ever learned in university. Every class was devoted to exploring some aspect of Japanese culture that had never occurred to me. Because the teachers were Japanese living in Japan, their perspective was totally new to me and opened my eyes in so many ways. The tours we had of Ginza and the Edo-Tokyo Museum will remain in my memory forever. Our teachers were not only knowledgeable but also seemed to genuinely share in our wonder and joy at discovering so many new things. One of the best experiences was seeing Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku performances, which should not be missed even by those who don’t know what they are.

At Edo-Tokyo Museum. | KCP Flickr

We were also obliged to participate in a sports day event. As an American, I found this incomprehensible at first, since even elementary schools in America do not have a culture of students putting on events. But like everything else at KCP, the idea was immersion. I suggest embracing everything that seems weird, including strange community events. Although I dragged my feet at the beginning, by the end of that effort I enjoyed a sense of community and family that I have never felt in an academic environment. I also highly recommend trying extracurricular activities such as the Anime Club, through which I was able to visit the magical Ghibli Museum. Every child should get to go there.

aizu10One of my most memorable experiences was our day trip to Aizu near the end of our term. By that time, I thought I was getting a good idea what Japanese life was like. How wrong I was. We stopped at several historical sites, at each place seeing beautiful clothing, rooms, and structures plucked from periods in Japanese history. Because Aizu is somewhat colder and we started our day so early, each place we visited had an air of stillness, a slight hint of fog tipping from the mountains as we drove further into them. Our final destination was Tsuruga Castle, from whose top tower we could see what felt like all of Northern Japan. As snow started falling in big flakes, we visited a rural village that, even though it had people living in it normally, really felt like stepping back in time. The blissful feelings carried us all the way home through winding mountain roads and Japanese children’s songs.

Aizu. | KCP Flickr

Even if there were no language classes at all, KCP would be a worthwhile experience for anyone. But on top of this wealth of cultural experiences, every day is dedicated to learning Japanese. It feels like a heavy load at first, but after a couple of weeks it becomes thrilling to get to learn so much every day. Each level and class had three different teachers, each one fascinating, kind, and funny, and always willing to help with any problem or answer any question. Because most of the students’ native languages were other than English, there is little temptation for switching to one’s native tongue during classes. Soon, without really realizing it, speaking Japanese every day becomes natural.

overnight2blogThe system of levels and the way the school is designed seem perfect for language learning. No matter what one’s Japanese proficiency is at the start, there is a class ideally suited to helping each student learn as much as they can. Because KCP has so much experience teaching Japanese, they understood my own psychology and ability even better than I did. As each hurdle approached, my teachers helped me to overcome it. I have never had a learning experience like it, and I wish it for anyone.

KCP students at dinner during an overnight trip. | KCP Flickr

Each of my classmates experienced KCP differently. Some were old hat at this and simply concentrated on studying; others took every opportunity to make new friends in the strangest places. For some, it was their first time in Japan and first time ever learning Japanese. I would have worried about them, but the staff was so supportive and friendships so strong, none of my friends ever complained about feeling left behind or lost. I have never felt so close to other human beings as I did to those I met during my time at KCP.

In summary, even for a total novice in Japanese language and culture, KCP is a perfect experience. Everyone deserves the accelerated learning and day-to-day experience of Japanese life, and no human being should go without spending some time in Tokyo. Even years later, I think often of my time there and wish to return. There is no need to hesitate. Japan is waiting for you.

For more of Gwen’s photos, visit her KCP Flickr set.

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KCP Student Colette Kinder Takes Us Around Kasai

  • Posted by:
  • September 22, 2014

One of KCP’s dormitories is in Kasai City, and KCP student Colette Kinder stayed there during her time in Japan. Here are just a few of her many photos of the dorm and the Kasai area. Check these out!


My Kasai dorm room desk. There is lots of storage for books and supplies. However, that didn’t stop me from keeping my desk a mess.


View from the dorm’s staircase. These roads are usually busy, but nowhere near as noisy as any city in America. Directly across the street is Mos Burger, a super delicious hamburger chain.


The washers are at the bottom, and the dryers are on top. Even if you don’t know Japanese, they are very easy to figure out. The washers are free, and the dryers are only 100 yen ($1) per 45 minutes.


A park near Kasai Station. A nice detour if you don’t feel like going home right away.


View from inside Kasai Station. It’s on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, so you can easily get just about anywhere in the prefecture from here without too many transfers. You are also close to Chiba prefecture, home of Tokyo Disneyland!


View from outside the station. Kasai is a great balance between rural small-town Japan, and busy Tokyo city.


For more of Colette’s photos, visit KCP Flickr.

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Colette Kinder Answers the Question, Why KCP?

  • Posted by:
  • September 15, 2014

With all the study abroad programs that offer Japanese language courses, you might wonder what sets KCP apart from the rest. In this informative post, KCP student Colette Kinder answers the question, “Why KCP?”

colette1Often I get asked why I chose to attend KCP rather than a Japanese university, or another language school somewhere else in the country. There was a handful of study abroad options for going to Japan offered at my university, all of them great programs. However, what set KCP apart from the rest of the study abroad options is its direct-method approach and the intensity of the program. When people ask how difficult KCP is, I have a hard time giving an answer because it depends on a variety of factors, including one’s study habits, what level they are placed in, and how adaptable they are to a new environment. Although the program is rather difficult and may appear overwhelming, I believe it is the best way to improve one’s Japanese quickly and efficiently.

Colette Kinder. | KCP Flickr

KCP classes (excluding the American program cultural class) are taught in 99.9% Japanese. The .1% missing there is on the first day, when you are taught basic Japanese greetings, and translations in everyone’s native tongue are provided. After this day, you will no longer receive in-class instruction in English. Using this method, one associates Japanese with the ideas rather than the English, giving them the ability to understand Japanese rather than translate it. In other words, when learning vocabulary and grammar, if you see a picture then hear the Japanese, your brain will start to associate that picture with the Japanese. If you learn the English, then the Japanese, your brain will have to think from English and change into Japanese, which makes for poor, slow conversation and writing skills. By learning Japanese using Japanese, you train your brain to think directly in the language, eliminating need for translation.


I took Japanese for three quarters at my university. I had a very knowledgeable, helpful teacher who taught to the best of his ability. While I am very grateful for his instruction and help, taking Japanese class at an American university is nothing compared to taking it at KCP. About halfway through level one (one quarter) at KCP, I learned more Japanese and improved my skill significantly more than I learned in level one (three quarters) at my university. My results are not particularly amazing or special; everyone who tries their hardest at KCP will improve immensely. With a highly-dedicated staff and teachers, they make sure no hardworking student is ever left behind.

 Class in session. | KCP Flickr

The reason I chose KCP rather than any other school, including Japanese universities, is that I wanted to focus on improving my language skills quickly and efficiently. KCP is not for people who do not like hard work, or for people who are simply trying to fulfil their study abroad requirement for their major. KCP requires a lot of dedication, time, and patience, and I do not believe it should be taken lightly. I have met American students at KCP who struggled because they were not prepared for how difficult it would be. I do not want to discourage anyone who wants to improve, however, from applying. I don’t want to scare anyone off. You get out of life what you put in, so if you’re ready to work hard, step out of your comfort zone, and give it your all, I believe KCP is right for you.

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Steven Brucato’s Insights on KCP and Japan

  • Posted by:
  • October 27, 2013

KCP summer-short-term alumnus Steven Brucato shares with us several valuable insights and photos taken during his time at KCP. Thanks, Steven!

This past summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Tokyo. My school’s study abroad department recommended KCP International Japanese Language School. I had always wanted to travel to Japan, experience the culture, and learn the language. When I arrived at KCP, I was a true beginner at Japanese. My goal was to provide myself with a strong foundation in the language. After 8 weeks in the program, I left confident in what I had learned, my expectations had been exceeded, and I was ready to further my studies in the language.


Summer Festival at the Kaminarimon. |  KCP Flickr

Studying at KCP in Tokyo was a defining experience in my life. I had never been outside of the United States and hadn’t had exposure to a country not my own. However, adjusting to life in Tokyo was not difficult, and I did not experience culture shock. I loved being in the city every day and in fact did not miss home once.

I chose to stay in a dorm. I felt this was the best choice for me because I like having my own space, and it was also a chance for me to be truly independent. I highly recommend KCP’s dormitory housing. The dorm managers were extremely helpful, and while they did not speak English, they made every effort to provide me with everything I needed for a comfortable stay, and were very engaged with the students they hosted.


Kasai Dorm. | KCP Flickr

At school, I made a lot of friends with other Americans, Koreans, Chinese, and Vietnamese. At KCP you will truly be among international students, the majority of whom do not speak English. However, the thing that connects you all together is Japanese, so using it becomes a lot of fun. While attending KCP involves a lot of work and studying, there is still a lot of time to go out, which you will need because there is so much to do in Tokyo. Almost every day after school, a group of us would go out and explore the city, and I still haven’t seen it all.


Fun at Tokyo Disneyland. | KCP Flickr 

Of all the things I did last summer, the festivals were the most memorable. There are countless festivals in the summer season, and by going to them you will experience a true part of Japanese culture. Going to the heart of the city, like Shibuya, especially at night, is a great experience. You may find that you need to stay out all night on multiple occasions because the trains stop running at twelve, but you won’t find a safer city to be out all night in.


Shibuya. | KCP Flickr

Walking, bikes, and the train are the ways to get around in Tokyo. One of the most interesting aspects of Tokyo is the almost complete lack of car traffic. On the surface, it may seem like the city is not that busy, but once you get onto the train for the morning commute or on the weekends during festivals, you see just how busy and packed everything can be. Visiting Tokyo Disneyland and the temples were definite highlights as well. KCP makes sure to show more traditional sides of Japan. They take you on cultural excursions to ancient temples and samurai castles. Travel outside of Tokyo is up to you. There is time for it; a few of my classmates climbed Mount Fuji and visited both Kyoto and Yokohama.


T0kyo Disneyland. | KCP Flickr

KCP is a great program. It is centered on learning Japanese, and this, in my opinion, is what sets it apart from attending a Japanese university. KCP also makes more sense economically to attend than a Japanese university. There is only one class, and it is language instruction. There is also optional English support and a Saturday culture class for students who stay for an academic semester. In addition to this, there are a lot of clubs that most students join, such as the newspaper and singing club. With relatively small classroom sizes, you will be doing a lot of speaking, a huge benefit in learning a language. In addition, reading, writing, and listening are critical parts to the program. With English used so little, soon enough you will start to think in Japanese.


KCP culture trip: Odawara Castle. | KCP Flickr

The instructors at KCP are all professionals; they know how to teach Japanese very well. As with anything, though, it comes down to how much you work at it on your own. There are important differences between American and Japanese classrooms that I became aware of. First, there is a divide between the students and the teacher. While the teachers are very helpful and kind, you generally will not get as close to them as you may with your college professors, although it varies from person to person. It is important to give them your utmost respect at all times. Eating and drinking in the classroom is considered incredibly rude. Remember you are a guest in Japan, and it is important to value the traditions and culture of the Japanese, which are based on politeness and respect.


Buddhist temple and Tokyo Tower. | KCP Flickr

KCP is a very rewarding program. It’s located in a great area in Shinjuku in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Enrolling in a KCP program is a great way to spend the summer or academic semester. I left KCP with improved Japanese language skills, a newfound appreciation for Japan, valuable international experience, great friends, and some of the best memories of my life.

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KCP Summer Student Michael Lee Shares Photos of Japan

  • Posted by:
  • October 14, 2013

Wherever you go in Japan, there’s always something fascinating to see, from bustling metro railway stations to serene landscapes. Summer-term alumnus Michael Lee shares with us glimpses of Japanese scenery through his photos. Thanks, Michael!


Shinjuku Gyoen is a beautiful park just minutes away from KCP. | KCP Flickr


Climbing Mt. Fuji was difficult, but the sunrise justified the struggle. | KCP Flickr


The beautiful Enoshima waterfront, as part of the culture class. | KCP Flickr


Shinagawa Station.  | KCP Flickr


As part of the KCP Cultural Class, we had the opportunity to stay at a ryokan. | KCP Flickr

For more KCP photos, browse our Flickr sets.

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KCP Student Emily Cole Visits Tokyo University and Odaiba

  • Posted by:
  • August 9, 2013

Fall 2012 KCP alumna Emily Cole takes us around Tokyo again, this time to Tokyo University and to Odaiba. Thanks for these wonderful shots!

Some background information:

Tokyo University (Tokyo daigaku or “Todai” for short), Japan’s most prestigious university, was established in 1877 and currently accommodates around 30,000 students in a school year.

Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, is home to many popular destinations such as DiverCity and the Telecom Center.

Check out Emily’s photos:


I went to Tokyo University with a friend. The campus is a pretty neat place to visit, and non-students can eat in the cafeteria. | KCP Flickr


The school’s science building had a lot of billboards posted around the central atrium. I had fun seeing how much of the Japanese I could understand. Quite the different graphic design style! | KCP Flickr


The enormous Gundam replica, probably the most famous landmark in Odaiba. | KCP Flickr


Odaiba at dusk, Telecom Center at right. | KCP Flickr


Odaiba with its giant Ferris wheel, Daikanransha, in the distance. | KCP Flickr

For more of Emily’s photos, visit our Flickr set.  You can also read our other blog posts about Emily.  If you have a question for Emily about her photographs, please ask her.

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