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2020 Idemitsu Grant Recipient

By Niya Plynton ’22

I am excited to be selected as Tabor’s 2020 Idemitsu Scholar and thrilled to have the opportunity to live in Kyoto, Japan, for an entire month this summer. 

I have been interested in Japanese culture for a long time, both pop culture and traditional elements. I am a Shotokan Karate student, which is a traditional form of Karate originating in Japan. The weapon that I handle the most is called “Sai” and was originally used as a tool to plant rice. Right now, I can only practice during the summers and vacations. During my middle school years, when I attended practice religiously, I learned a great deal about the origins of the art. I was also empowered to break boards and flip men twice my height. Aside from karate, I am continually inspired by harajuku fashion elements, which challenge strict Japanese societal norms of dress. In the last few years, I have amassed a large collection of manga, and I am currently reading from Junji Ito’s terrifying horror collection. I can frequently be found on campus eating red-bean mochi, a Japanese confectionary that is tough to find in the U.S. (which my mom somehow manages to find and send to me). Japanese culture has enriched my life so much already, and I can’t believe that I have the opportunity to fully immerse myself in Japanese life this summer.

Kyoto is often referred to as the cultural capital of Japan, as it contains over 2,000 temples and shrines. I will be in Japan during the rainy season, but this means that tourist sites will probably not be too overcrowded. It is also an excellent opportunity to buy a cute umbrella. According to the CIEE website, the activities typically change a bit each year, but I will likely make sushi, soba noodles, mochi and more in Japanese cooking classes; practice the ancient arts of Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, and Taiko drumming; visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where former emperors lived in high style; climb the Fushimi Inari Shrine, while passing through thousands of bright-orange torii gates; and check out the Kyoto International Manga Museum and its collection of 300,000 comic books.  In addition to activities, I will be studying the Japanese language in the mornings, which should be a fun challenge. I will be staying with a homestay family so I will be able to experience authentic homelife, as well. 

Overall I am so thrilled to receive this opportunity of a lifetime. It is a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to go!


Tabor provides this grant opportunity for a month-long summer study in Japan with CIEE annually to a rising junior by application.
 

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  • Bermuda Reception

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