The weekend before the class orientation week began Hitotsubashi had its bukatsudou shoukai, which roughly translates to club activities introduction. Its basically a chance for incoming freshmen to get to meet members of different clubs and begin to think about which to join. From a club`s point of view this event is very important so they all put in a lot of effort to try and entice the froshies. For example they make huuuuuuuge placards advertising their club and pass out fliers at the gates of both campuses. They also exhibit some of their club`s activities: so the karate club held a few demonstration spars, the dance club had a dance off, the cheerleading club did their thing etc. Its a really busy time for most students but a lot of fun I would imagine.
For those of you who don`t know in Japan there are two types of clubs: bukatsudou and circles. Bukatsudou are really intense and usually have manadatory practice four times a week. Circles on the other hand are more relaxed with two or three practices and you don`t have to go to each and every one. For exchange students joining a club is a great opportunity to meet people and make Japanese friends. If you`re not a sports person never fear, there all sorts of other clubs like ikebana, cooking, MUN etc.
I went to the shoukai with three of my exchange student guy friends, all of whom are extremely tall and buff. As a result the moment we walked into the centre of campus we were literally attacked by all sorts of clubs. The fact that you are a foreigner makes you interesting to most Japanese students, so you are in high demand. Be forewarned however, some of the more traditional clubs may not be too enthusiastic about letting exchange students join for various reasons, one of them being that exchange students are sometimes perceived as slackers when it comes to serious training. In general, if you decide to join a serious bukatsudou just be sure that you are one hundred percent committed (as in you will go to every practice, even the ones during the holidays) or you might annoy your fellow club members.
After the shoukai, the clubs e-mail all the freshmen who signed up and get them to come to nomikai s (drinking gathering, usually at an izakaya) /hanamis (sakura viewing)/preliminary practices etc as a chance to meet all the club members on their turf and get a feel for things. This goes on until May by which time freshman should have made up their minds as to what club to join.