Japan 2014 post 32

November second
I got my full eight hours of sleep last night, and was able to do a do my journal, have a (very sweet) waffle, some granola, and a few mini green tea oreads before I was picked up. Shigedi, her husband and I dropped their car off at their house, then walked to the train station. It was about an hour long train ride into Tokyo, but that was alright, I showed them my parkour videos, as well as a few professional ones. Shigedi’s son wasn’t actually able to be at the festival because he was at some sort of lifesaving training, but it was still enjoyable. It was held at his university, which is on the same grounds as his high school (where we went to his culture festival two hears ago), and an elementary school. When we arrived, we started the day off by getting some snacks/lunch. We had to wait in line for a long time to get some noodles, but it was worth it because they were AMAZING. We also got a spiral sausage, and a deep fried potato dish, very similar to a hash browns.
Both Shigedi and her husband are very nice people, so it was a pleasure to be with them. Their also two of Catherine’s English students, so they tried their best with English, and I tried my best with Japanese. I think we both taught each other things! The three of us played a variety of games, but I think the most creative one was where they pushed you around on a chair, and you had to knock down little bowling pins with balls. They had set up several walls around he classroom, so it was like there were stages. It was a lot of fun. There was also a really interesting classroom where the students had set up optical illusions. They had created a whole floor and backdrop in the image of a cityscape, and when people stood in different places and had their picture taken, it looked like on person was really far away, even though they were the same distance from the camera. They also had a room with a real life mirrored image in it. There were two desks, two books, two teddy bears, two clocks, etc. In an exact mirrored image. There was even an empty picture frame between them, so it looked really real. But there were three differences between the scenes that you had to find. Luckily it was a team activity, because I couldn’t find any fast enough.
Another really fun game was in the junior high school. The students had divided their classroom into three sections with low walls. Each of the sections was filled with either balloons, pompoms, or paper shreddings. And you had thirty seconds in each section to find a certain object, or sometimes two or three. It was really well done, and I enjoyed it.
I found it nice that most of the students tried to use English with me (including a random “excuse me” instead of “sumimasen” in a crowd), and I was surprised by their skill level. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was good. I found that the junior high students were a bit less reluctant to try to speak. But one of the high school classes had actually gone on an exchange trip to Canada for a few weeks. Unfortunately I only got to see their displays, not talk to them.
Before leaving the festival, we ducked into one of the class’ restaurants, where we were serenaded while eating cake and sipping our drinks. There was a string quartet, then two horn players, and then two girls, one with one of one square drums you sit on and a cymbal, and the other one on piano. It was quite lovely.
After we left the festival we got on a quick train to an aquarium in downtown Tokyo. Everywhere was busy! The streets, sidewalks, trains, stations. There were so many people, but the aquarium was still great. There were so many types of amazing underwater creatures. It really made me in awe of the great depths! It was mostly fish, but there were also some sea lions and otters, and pelicans. There were huge fish, tiny fish, colourful fish, translucent fish, small sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and corral. To name a few. We even got to see (I believe) real shark eggs, but with the shell removed so you could see the moving fetus’! Most of them looked like they were about to hatch, and I think one already had. It was so interesting! I thought the otters and the sea lions were the cutest, but some of the other prehistorical looking fish were awesome. In the oldest sense of the word.
After the aquarium we were going to have shabushabu for supper, but it was too busy. So instead we went to a Chinese restaurant. Not a takeout place, but am actual Chinese restaurant. It was delicious. We had a ton of dishes, and I can’t remember what they were called, but I’ll post a few pictures so you can see.
After the meal we took a taxi home. Reiko’s sister and children were at her house, so they invited Shigedi and her husband in for a few drinks. I was exhausted from the long day, and all the Japanese, so I retired to my room. And though I’m tired now, it was a great day.
Christopher
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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ecosophian on November 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Super cool! I would have loved to see that aquarium! So when do you go back to Catherine’s place?

    Reply

    • I have lots of pictures from it! But I think you would’ve really liked being there too.
      I go back to Catherine’s on Wednesday night… My two weeks here have flown by so fast!

      Reply

  2. Posted by Jacquee on November 3, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I’m under the impression that today was ‘cultural day’ in Japan. A holiday. Or was that yesterday? I really like that pic of you & Reiko (if that is her). Do they always serve each type of food on a separate plate? I sure wouldn’t want to be a dishwasher there!Tokyo is supposed to be one of the most heavily populated cities in the world. It must be quite an experience for you, coming from the quietness of the farm. Your Japanese will be quite good by the time you get back. An EXCELLENT experience!

    Reply

  3. Yes, November third. But for some reason the school had a festival on the second. Maybe because the third is a holiday, so they didn’t want to have to work. I’m not sure actually… The woman in the picture is actually Shigedi, but thank you! And yes, often the food is served and consumed on separate plates…. I wouldn’t want to be dish washing either! Although in Catherine’s house I don’t mind, but a restaurant…. No thanks.
    Coming too all the business wasn’t too much of a shock, but I’m wondering what it will be like once I go home! Even saskatoon seemed enormous after my last trip, so the farm will be out of this world.
    I’m hoping that I’ll be able to retain some Japanese, maybe a more disciplined study program once I get home…. I’m not sure yet!
    Thanks for the comment!

    Reply

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