Immerse yourself in the anime and manga capital of the world. Develop your illustration skills and design techniques through interactive classes with industry experts.
Due to the deepening concern about the coronavirus, The Experiment has transitioned all 2020 programs to The Experiment Digital.
The Experiment Digital is a fully funded (free) exchange program conducted entirely online and mobile-accessible four (4) hours per week from June 22 to August 16, 2020.
The Experiment Digital connects hundreds of young people across the United States with peers from Iraq, Algeria, Yemen, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa to discuss such topics as digital citizenship, leadership and identity, community initiatives, and public narrative. Participants even have virtual families!
Learn from the best as you attend an authentic anime school in Tokyo, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world and safest travel destinations. Develop your artistic ability and style through classes taught in Japanese by design and animation professionals. Learn voice-acting in Japanese from a professional voice actor and experience dubbing a scene in a studio. Practice animation techniques such as color blending with Copic markers; inking with fountain pens; and screen-toning, a method of applying textures and shades to drawings. Work on character development; then take your characters from paper to the screen through digital animation, using programs like Photoshop, AdobePremiere, and AfterEffects.
Immerse yourself in Japan’s pop culture through visits to its vibrant neighborhoods. Play games in the colorful arcades in Akihabara, the city’s anime, manga, and tech district, or Ikebukero, known for the Pokémon Center. Wander through the busy market streets of Ameyoko; then ride the maze of escalators at Ginza’s skyscraping department stores. See the famous alternative street fashion of the Harajuku neighborhood.
Broaden your perspective on Japanese culture during your homestay on Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island, known for its natural beauty and indigenous Ainu culture. Visit a local high school for activities with Japanese students, such as cooking lessons or creating a Japanese family crest. Visit a Buddhist temple and study the art of Japanese calligraphy as you share daily life with your host family. Learn about Japanese history by visiting shrines, museums, and
hot springs and by participating in a traditional tea ceremony or learning the art
of wearing a kimono.
Return to Tokyo for final city exploration and reflections before heading home.
Tokyo, 3 days
Tomakomai, Otaru, Bihoro, or Nanae*, 7–9 days
Hotels and/or hostels
Orientation in Tokyo
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotel or hostel.
Animation and Manga Study in Tokyo
During this period, you and your group will stay in a youth center and a hostel.
Homestay in Sapporo or Otaru
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Sapporo, Otaru, Bihoro, Nanae, Hamanaka
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Sapporo
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Christy Bahr graduated from University of Washington in 2008 with a BA in international studies and a BA in Japanese. Christy’s interest in Japan started at age nine when her family began hosting Japanese exchange students. She traveled to Japan for the first time in high school and completed a one-year study abroad in Tokyo during her time at UW. Following graduation, Christy moved to northern Japan to work with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program for five years as a an international relations coordinator, assistant language teacher, and prefectural advisor.
Before leading an Experiment program, Christy traveled the world on a 105-day voyage with Peace Boat, a Japanese NGO, where she worked as a language interpreter. During her time on Peace Boat, Christy led sightseeing and exchange tours in the 17 ports of call including Madagascar, Argentina, and Easter Island. Christy has traveled to 25 countries in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Christy enjoys running, photography, and playing the violin. She is currently pursuing an MA in international education at New York University.
Andre Martinez, a native of Denver, Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 with an MA in Japanese language and culture with a focus on medieval and early modern illustrated fiction. Prior to entering graduate school, Andre taught a multitude of courses in Japanese language, art, history, and culture in middle and high schools in the Denver metro area. Upon entering the university’s Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, he continued to teach advanced and beginning courses in Japanese as a teaching assistant.
Andre began studying Japanese at the age of 14, he attended high school in Japan, and he received his BA in graphic design from Tokai Daigaku, a Japanese university. Besides his passion for the Japanese language, Andre also holds an undying love of Japanese traditional movement: he has studied kendo, kyudo, karate, kenjutsu, and jujutsu. When he isn’t sharpening his pen or sword, Andre enjoys gliding around town on his skateboard.
A native of New York City, Marcus graduated from Haverford College in 2012 with a BA in East Asian studies. In 2007, he went abroad for the first time to Japan as a representative of his high school, helping to build communication between his home school and a partner school located near Tokyo. The following year, he was invited to participate in an internship for teaching English at this partner school. While in college, Marcus returned to Japan for a semester of study in Nagoya. Along with his love of learning language, Marcus also enjoys computing, drawing, writing stories, running, and making music. After leading one of the summer 2014 Japanimation groups, Marcus has begun working at a charter school in Brooklyn, teaching Japanese language to middle school students.
Serena Winchell is a native of Red Hook, a small town in upstate New York. In 2006, she graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a double major in German language and literature and Asian studies. While at SUNY New Paltz, she studied abroad for one year at the Universitaet Wuerzburg, in Bavaria, Germany. She then continued on at her alma mater to receive her MSEd for TESOL in 2008. Upon receiving her New York State teaching certification for TESOL, Serena spent four years teaching English in Japan with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Shirakawa-shi, Fukushima Prefecture. A survivor of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, Serena spent much of her time volunteering and raising funds for the relief effort. Upon returning home, Serena has made it a goal to promote understanding about Fukushima’s dilemma while at the same time encouraging tourism to her beloved second home. In her free time, she enjoys studying languages, watching anime, singing karaoke, playing the hand bells, and baking.
This trip allowed me to learn new things about Japanese culture and advance in the field I love to study, Animation. Going to school in Japan was a different experience than in America. I made a lot of friends. I wish I could have stayed longer!--Julian
Our host families were amazing, and I created an incredible bond with mine. Our leaders took the most care of us, and made sure we were on our right tracks. I learned how to style with animation and how to become an greater artist and person.--Diamond
n Japan I had lots of fun. From the streets of Tokyo to the woods of Nanae in Hokkaido, our group traveled everywhere. The anime classes we attended were great, as it was a type of learning that always introduced an exciting aspect to it. We did voice lessons, worked with professional animation technology and tools, and we learned from experienced instructors.--Kofi
It has been almost two months since the first day I embarked on my adventure to Japan. I remember the first night I came home and how I felt that everything was a dream. I walked into my room and felt as if I had never left. But, during the next week, I received calls and emails from my experiment family and experienced the Experiment once more.
It’s still overwhelming to think back on what we did because our home-stay week was very full. We canoed, went to a hot spring, played park golf, attended Japanese schools, tried kitsuke, attended a tea ceremony, made key chains, tried many different foods, and so much more. Our week was surreal and passed by so quickly that it didn’t seem a day had passed when we had to leave for Sapporo. However, we established family bonds with our hosts and I will try my best to make mine stronger.
Yoyogi was a dream come true. We had two weeks to “taste” anime school, but I feel as though I fulfilled a life-long dream. I will not be an animator any time soon, so I am extremely grateful to have gotten the chance to try animating. Our instructors were wonderful and allowed us to develop however we wanted. We were also told how japanimation is produced. After learning how painstaking the process is, I have developed a new respect for the artists. I hope that I might join them in the future.
What else did we do? We had language classes in the morning. Again, our instructors were very patient and adjusted lessons according to our varying levels. They made it more than a regular class by teaching us games and songs as we learned. I am also very grateful for these cultural lessons (which I have also been sharing with kids at home).
In addition to the time with my Experiment family, I also deeply enjoyed the time with our language partners. They didn’t treat us like kids and we didn’t treat them like chaperones. Always eager and friendly, they shared their daily lives with us. Even though there was a language barrier, I felt that they really became ‘one of us’ and that made the experience all the more memorable.
We left Sapporo to spend our last few days in Tokyo. During that time, we moaned about how we didn’t want to leave and that we “wished we could stay forever!” Now that I think back, I would take that statement back. I am glad to have left because now I have a wonderful memory to turn back to and a new goal to work towards: to return with everybody some day.--Angela