These are the journals of Montana State University-Billings students who traveled to Japan in May 2009, May 2007 and May 2005 on a study abroad program jointly sponsored by the Prefectural University of Kumamoto and MSU-Billings. In converting these journals for internet publication, I have tried to maintain the layouts submitted by the students with as few modifications as necessary to meet requirements of the web. The students' words are theirs in their entirety; there has been minimal editing to standardize spelling of Japanese words and to fix a few typos, etc. The students all knew that these would be published on the web. Hopefully their words will show others the value of travel abroad and will stimulate future enrollments in the Japan trips.
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Note on the 2009 Trip: Traveling to a foreign country inevitably exposes one to foreign viruses and other bugs. The time change as well as the heavy daily schedule makes travelers especially susceptible to contracting a virus. This trip saw an unusually high number of the group come down with a fairly virulent cold. Compounding this was that the H1N1 Flu had finally broken through the Japanese quarantine precautions while we were in the country. Though at least one of the student journals refers to having caught the Swine Flu,, there was no evidence that anyone in this travel group was felled by the flu...though the virus they contracted certainly may have felt like it at the time.