If you're feeling up to the challenge of college-level study and want to boost your experience with Japanese culture, the Reischauer Scholars Program is taking applications until October 18th. This is an intensive online course offered through Stanford University from February to June (Spring semester), designed to give students a solid foundation in everything that isn't language. It's free, and you don't need to know any Japanese to participate. From the website:
Currently entering its eleventh year, the RSP provides students with a broad overview of Japanese history, literature, religion, art, politics, economics, and contemporary society, with a special focus on the U.S.–Japan relationship. Ambassadors, top scholars, and experts throughout the United States and Japan provide online lectures and engage students in live discussion sessions. Students also complete readings and weekly assignments, with the coursework culminating in an independent research project. Final research projects are printed in journal format, and students are also required to lead two presentations on Japan at their schools or in their local communities. Students who successfully complete the course will earn Stanford Continuing Studies Program (CSP) credit and a Certificate of Completion from SPICE, Stanford University.
Brochure: http://www.stanford.edu/group/spice/RSP/RSP%20brochure.pdf

Application: http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/679/2014_RSP_Application.pdf (181.9KB)

For questions or more information, contact Naomi Funahashi, Reischauer Scholars Program Manager and Instructor, at [email protected].

(Honestly, If this weren't specifically limited to high school students, I would be signing up for it right now.)
The Summer Olympic Games are returning to Tokyo in 2020! 万歳!We should all be finished with college by then, right? Start making your travel plans; Japan's already got the architecture figured out.
On the more subtle side of design, those of you familiar with the current scandal over the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia might argue that Japan's color choice for the initial logo of the 2020 games has a particular significance... although, to be fair, they're missing the orange, and Japan has used a rainbow theme in their past Olympic designs:
Banzai once more! やった、日本!