JCMU and Hiraku were back on the con trail last weekend as they attended Lansing’s own anime convention, Shuto Con! Shuto Con is an annual Japanese media convention held in the Lansing Center and the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, Michigan. From March 23rd through the 25th, we hosted a booth at Shuto Con to highlight our study abroad opportunities in Japan for convention participants.
There, it was Hiraku’s goal to highlight our study abroad opportunities in Japan for convention participants. The cute little borb (bird-orb) discovered that while most of the attendees were in love with Japanese culture, few were aware of the study abroad opportunities available that would allow them to actually go to Japan. That’s where we came in.
After grabbing their own Hiraku button, attendees of all ages were surprised to learn about our study abroad programs in Hikone. High school or college student? We have programs for you. Don’t know Japanese? Most of our programs are taught in English. Don’t want to be gone for too long (or too short)? We have programs as short as 2 weeks over the summer and as long as the entire academic year. From yearlong college programs to high school exchanges, there are all sorts of ways for attendees to turn their love of Japan into academic pursuits abroad.
Past students came by in droves, too: over 10 alumni from different years & programs came by to pick up their own Hiraku buttons and greet the fluffy borb. Some just returned from participating on the JET Program, while others have continued their life with Japan by working for a Japanese company in Michigan. We introduced them to our “30 Years, 30 Stories” 30th anniversary campaign, and encouraged them to participate themselves. All in all, it was great to meet so many of our alumni at Shuto Con and see just where life has taken them.
We were particularly excited to attend Shuto Con, as their message of inclusivity and diversity closely aligned with JCMU’s own commitment to supporting all of our students and whatever identities they associate with. Shuto Con aims to be a safe space for all, something that JCMU also strives to be. The con chair was supportive of our initiatives, and was happy to help us reach out to more Japanese media fans. Additionally, we had the chance to meet up with other anime conventions in attendance, including members of the JAFAX team – the first anime convention we ever attended.
After our booth closed every day, Hiraku and the rest of the JCMU team were invited to participate in the nightly activities Shuto Con had to offer, and some of what was available reminded our volunteers of their time in Japan! The convention hosted a large game room complete with Japanese arcade games, including a UFO catcher, Pop’n Music, Dance Dance Revolution, and more. They also had virtual reality demos – how cool is that? Furthermore, there were concerts, panels, and photo shoots at all times of the day, which made the convention an extraordinary place to be.
JCMU and Hiraku would like to thank Shuto Con for meeting with and helping us introduce more con-goers to the world of study abroad in Japan. We hope this helps more students become aware of the study abroad possibilities available to them and encourages them to go on a program in Hikone themselves. If you were a Shuto Con attendee that visited our booth and would like to learn more about the wide array of programs that we offer, please visit the JCMU website.