#10 留学生 | Danielle Helmさん

I came to Japan to study Japanese at Doshisha University for a year. The students are moving into dorms tomorrow and taking placement tests at the end of the week. Classes start on April 1st. I hope I’m ready….My interest in Japanese first started when I was 10 years old. My father had a Japanese book at home and I found out that it was written in Japanese — I was fascinated. It was a book on how to read Manga, and I remember being so surprised by it. Ever since then, I’ve loved the language and have been studying Japanese. I was self-taught at first and then I went to college to study Japanese under my professor. They are very strict when it comes to work but are very sweet.


I’m from Saint Louis, Missouri. It’s located in the center of America. There are so many Japanese restaurants but oddly not many Japanese people. We have a national Japanese festival — one of the longest running festivals of its kind in America. Its been running for 50 years and goes for 5 days around labor day weekend. It’s so nice, we have sakura trees, donburi and okonomiyaki…so many Japanese activities. What else, ah sumo, sake tastings, karate demonstrations, and big drums….what are they called… Ah wadaiko, yes. We have a lot of Japanese students studying at Saint Louis University for medicine and at Washington University for business, but they go back after university…I wish they would stay so I could practice my Japanese with them…


A lot of Americans like manga and anime. I like it, but I would have to say that my favorite thing about Japan is the richness of its history and culture. America hasn’t been around for a long time, so to find and explore a country that has been around for centuries is very interesting for me. I also like how people are treated with this unspoken kindness. In America, we are very loud and there are a lot of outspoken people. Maybe coming to Japan sometimes is nice because everyone is “quiet”. I appreciate that. I feel relaxed here.I chose to stay in Kyoto because it’s what a lot of us Americans describe as a “modern traditional city.” Compared to Tokyo which is crowded with people, lights, etc,  Kyoto is relaxing. I love the architecture as well — Doshisha University is stunning. I found a gyoza place in kamigyo-ku, and it was great. Cheap, too. When I eat gyoza in Saint Louis it’s usually very expensive.

I’m just so excited to be here… the architecture, the food, the people.. but I know my family misses me. I went to Game Panic the other day and played the crane game. Got two big stuff animals. I think I’m going to ship them to my twin sister so she doesn’t miss me too much. They’re so cute. Can I bring them down to show you? I’ll be right back…