A city of mountain springs and tiered, 17th-century palaces, Ogaki, Japan, offers beauty and history. This summer participants in a College of the Mainland study abroad program can discover both.
The two-week noncredit program is open to students and community members, who can select from three tracks of study. Options include sketching in classes on the manga art form, delving into music courses or exploring the college’s culturally rich early childhood development program.
“It will be the experience of a lifetime. It will change the way you see the world,” said COM professor and program coordinator Mayuko Ono Gray.  
Ogaki Women’s College is open to both male and female foreign exchange students. It is one of the first schools in Japan to have an accredited program in manga, the art of Japanese-style comic book drawing, and anime, cartoon animation. It is also affiliated with the instrument-maker Yamaha Corp.

Dividing their time between classes and sightseeing, participants will view the splendors of Tokyo, Kyoto and Ogaki, from museums to temples. With Ono Gray, a native of Japan as their guide, they will tour the flowering Japanese countryside as well as its bustling shopping centers.
During the 17-day trip, participants will stay in homes with Japanese families and enjoy traditional cooking. Joining in events such as a formal tea ceremony, a floral arranging class and an opportunity to play Japanese drums will complete the once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience.
Participants do not have to be COM students or speak the language. Ono Gray, a native of Japan, will accompany participants on all sightseeing excursions.
“It’s an authentic Japanese experience,” said Ono Gray. “It’s priceless.”
The cost is $4,950, which includes roundtrip airfare, hotels, sightseeing fees, transportation and tuition to Ogaki Women’s College. The only additional costs will be incidentals such as souvenirs and some meals.

The deadline to apply for the program is March 21 at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Gray at mgray@com.edu or 409-933-8354 or visit www.com.edu/sbs-clubs/japanese-culture-club