I don’t have a laptop, I only have my tablet with me. Does JCMU have Wifi?

Yes. The password will be provided with the orientation materials.


I’m going to be in the Summer intensive Japanese program. What will a typical week look like for me?

Typically, from Monday to Thursday students have four Japanese classes in 50 minute segments, starting at 9:00AM. There are 10 minute breaks between periods 1-3. Lunch is from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. The fourth class period begins at 1:00 and ends at 1:50. Students then have free time for the rest of the day. On Friday, students have three Japanese classes from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. After lunch JCMU usually offers a workshop for students to try Japanese traditional arts.


How intense is the summer intensive course actually?

It’s actually pretty intense. This program is for serious students and will push you to your full potential. Remember, this is a full academic year’s worth of Japanese in two months.


What should I bring to Japan?

With luggage restrictions, students should carefully consider what they will really need to bring. First think about what the weather is going to be like when you are in Japan. Will it be hot? Cold? The climate in Hikone is very similar to that of Michigan’s. Do not underestimate how cold it can get here.

  • No more than two weeks worth of clothes
  • Swim suit
  • One set of professional looking clothes for formal events.
  • Warm Socks (If you will be here in winter)
  • Good walking shoes (You will be doing a lot of walking in Japan)
  • Personal Shampoo (Japanese shampoo is very different and you may prefer your own)
  • Deodorant (It’s hard to find here)
  • Toothpaste (Japanese toothpaste is very different as well)
  • Your favorite non-perishable food from home
  • Lots of gifts for home-stay families, new friends etc.
  • An electronic dictionary

Bringing things that will be given away or consumed will make room for bringing back the souvenirs you buy in Japan. Shipping rates from Japan are even more expensive than shipping from the US.


What should I NOT bring to Japan? (That people bring all the time)

While it may be tempting, we recommend that you do not bring the following:

  • Heavy fluffy towels (Japanese towels are much lighter and dry faster)
  • Unnecessary books (Remember, even Japanese language learning resources can be found online. Save the room in your suitcase for something else)
  • Too many accessories (Japanese dollar stores have hundreds of adorable accessories if you really can’t live without it)
  • Anything big and heavy (Save the room and the weight for more important stuff, like food from home and gifts!)


 What kind of gifts should I bring for my home-stay family?

Japanese people really like food. If you can bring in a pack of non-perishable food that can be shared among many people that would go over very well. If there is something that your hometown is famous for and you can share it, that also would be very well received. If it is a larger/more expensive object it is okay to just bring one for the whole family and then bring something like a pack of mini candy bars for everyone to enjoy. If you are into arts and crafts you can also make something to share. You can get crafting supplies at local stores. Other things you can give are:

  • Memorabilia from your home university
  • Birthday/Thank you cards
  • Magazines
  • Cultural items if you celebrate your ethnic background
  • Anything you brought and wish you had not


What extra things should I budget for?

Japan is usually full of little extra surprise expenditures.

Slippers: In the JCMU buildings, students may not wear outside shoes indoors. Instead students can use the slippers provided. These slippers are not very comfortable however, so we recommend that you buy your own at Besia for $4-$10.

Taxes and Fees: If you’re paying for anything that requires a regular bill, there are likely to be additional fees tagged on.

Seating Charges: Some restaurants charge a base amount for just sitting. If you want to save money you can avoid these places but sometimes it’s hard to know before you’ve already committed.

Souvenirs: It is likely that you will find some really amazing and must have items during your time in Japan. While these fall under personal expenses, try to budget for these.

Shipping: Shipping from Japan is more expensive than most people would think. Before you decide to buy something that will need shipped home, think about the total cost of that item, including the shipping cost.


I was at the grocery store and I didn’t get any bags. What’s going on?

In Hikone, if you are buying groceries, some places charge for bags. Besia, the main grocery shopping location for students, charges 2 yen per bag and you usually have to ask for them. The word for bag is fukuro. The counter for them is -mai. So if you need two bags say, “ni mai” . 


Where can I find an International ATM?

The Transferring Money page will give you all the details you need to find an ATM.


I’m going to be going to University of Shiga Prefecture to take classes. How far is it from the JCMU campus?

It’s about 35 minutes away by bike on a flat route along the lakeside.


I want to find someplace to eat/go shopping. Where can I find information about what’s in the area?

Check out the Local Maps page to see where other students have been and recommend.


How do I take a train?

See the Navigating Trains in Japan page.

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