Here are some pictures (finally), of the university I am going to, Keio. I am pretty lucky I get to do exchange here because Keio is one of the top schools in Japan (maybe #4?). Fortunately for me I did not have to go through the same admission process Japanese students had to go through to get in!
——I’m pretty sure that in Japan a student’s admission to a university is dependent entirely on how they do on the standardized college admission test offered at the end of high school to all students. Letters of recommendation and essays are not used in the admission process——
There are also feeder schools that Keio operates. For example, if a child’s parents can get their child enrolled in a Keio feeder school system, that child will go to Keio elementary, Keio junior high, Keio high school, and then (unless their grades are horrible) they will go to Keio university. As far as I’ve heard, most of these kids come from very rich families that are basically paying for their degree- once they get into Keio they don’t go to class often.
In general though, the environment around campus is pretty relaxed. I think college is more of a time to have fun – join clubs and circles before joining the working world – what a person chooses to major in might not be as important as it is in the U.S. I think if you simply graduate from a school like Keio you have pretty good chances of success. You can check out the wikipedia site to see the long list of notable people who have graduated from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keio_University
Keio is the oldest university in Japan, built in 1858. It also has several other campuses, including Yagami (for sciences and research), and Hiyoshi – which is bigger, more modern, and closer to where I live. It is where freshman and sophomores take classes, and where club and athletic activities are held. The Mita Campus where I attend classes is in Minato (Tamachi), by the Tokyo Tower. Juniors and Seniors take classes here. I think they have the exchange students take classes here because of the Tower, and because this is the original campus – so it has a few pretty old buildings.
Anyways….(!) here are the pictures: