Konnichi wa! We have had a long and exciting week so far in Japan: first, in the Ueno area of Tokyo, and later in Sapporo City, Hokkaido. Our students have begun analyzing the combination of older, more traditional Japan with more modern Japan. In the words of our students:
On a scale of 1 to incredible, today was a solid 27. In the morning, we all had a Japanese breakfast with broiled fish, scrambled eggs, miso soup, green tea, potato salad… and had a brief orientation where we learned more about Japan and our program. We then went to Ueno Station, to begin a scavenger hunt. Mainly staying in the Shibuya and Harajuku areas, we attempted to complete the hunt and explore Tokyo in small groups. Some groups spent a long time trying to find a closed observatory, visited heaven-on-Earth (also known as the “slime shop”), went hardcore on some Taiko drumming games, and so much more. At 6, we met at Meiji Jingu, and later explored Harajuku for some dinner and fun fashion. We also ran into a local dance group, who we talked to for a while and received a few packages of tissues with their caricatures.
Happy 4th of July! Today was SO fun– we all got to explore whatever part of Tokyo we wanted to! We started off the day at a pan-ya (bread store) in the Ueno station, then brought our breakfast back to the hotel dining room to eat and plan our group itinerary for the day. Afterward, we headed to Ueno station to learn how to purchase train tickets. In the morning, one group went to the imperial palace, whereas my group went to the Tokyo Sky Tree and — how could I forget — one group stumbled across a maid cafe. According to them, they had an incredibly fun but unusual time. We met back at the hotel at 3PM for a check in before heading out to Roppongi and the Edo Tokyo museum. We went back to Ueno station for a DELICIOUS dinner of ramen and more before circling up to talk about the day’s experience and hitting the hay. 🙂
Two words to describe today would be hectic but relaxing. It all started with packing our bags to head to Ueno station where we were able to buy breakfast at Andersen Panya (bread store). The food there was amazing. Before recounting the rest of the day, it is important to note that we took the train at rush hour. Imagine 15 people with heavy loads of bags in the midst of hundreds or thousands of people cramming into trains. The image is not pretty but we made it out alive and got to the airport safely. After checking our bags, we took a 90 minute flight to Sapporo. There we were graciously able to meet Kaori-San and Mion-San, who were of great assistance. After grabbing lunch from a restaurant in the airport, we embarked on a slightly long trip to our traditional Japanese ryokan (hotel).
Just to let you know, this hotel is other-worldly and enthralling. It is definitely one aspect of the trip I will never forget. When you enter the hotel, you must take off your shoes and put on the hotel slippers. We are staying in a tatami room, so before entering our room, you must take off your slippers and walk barefoot on the floor. Our beds are futons, which are comfortable mats that get folded during the day and we sleep under many comforters at night. It has a warm and comforting smell.
After getting accustomed to the new environment, we walked to school to see what Kaderu building is like. After briefly meeting with Kaori-San, Hiromi-San, and Mion-San, we split into groups to get dinner at a food court in Sapporo station. (Japanese version of Hawaiian pizza is delicious.) I can’t finish this entry without mentioning Kelsey’s birthday; we got ice cream at Cold Stone and they sang to her while they made it. Overall it was refreshing day after the bustling city of Tokyo. However, like every other day, everyone was exhausted at the end of the day.
Personally, I’m excited for tomorrow. Today was definitely lit. For the first day of school I felt that everyone did pretty good. Nobody died of a panic attack or had a stroke. Josh and I ate lunch with Mion-san and learned some Japanese. After class, w e went to Odori park to find the mythical Hokkaido corn, which is apparently the best in the universe., A street vendor was selling it. I feel like I’m struggling with English words. We all ate at a hamburger place to celebrate the 4th of July and Kalani gave me some French fries. Mion-San ate dinner with all of us. I’m studying some words to talk to college kids tomorrow.
What a day today was! We started it by going to a restaurant that was selling traditional Japanese breakfast. After we finished breakfast we walked to odori park to meet up with Japanese university students. Honestly we were all a bit stressed about spending the day with a bunch of Japanese university students we had never met before. Luckily it all worked out and all of our students were amazing. I had 4 host students. 2 were from here, one was from Korea, and one was from China. We started by having talks about who we were and what we all want to be. We then all walked to Sapporo station where we hung out and shopped/. We went to the arcade where’s we played the claw game, air hockey, and basketball game. After this we went to get lunch. For lunch we had Monja and okonomiyaki, which I had never had before. After lunch we went to take photos in a photo booth (purikura). By the way Sienna’s group had joined us by then.
After lunch we went to the university where they showed us around. Then we sat around and listened to someone playing the piano. Then we taught them how to play “Down by the banks”. After this we sent photos to each other and got contact information. When we finished we went to the bus stop and said goodbye forever to our students and then we went up the mountain (Mt. Moiwa.) we got up the mountain where we could see the rest of our group and the beautiful landscape of Sapporo and the surrounding area. When we got back we all got ramen and headed back to our ryokan, where we ate cheesecake and told ghost stories. Overall today was amazing. I feel like I’ve never smiled more but I’m very tired. I can’t wait for what we do tomorrow.