Friday, June 15, 2012

I will say Hello to Japan, again, soon

Looking back on the past two weeks, I dwell on the notion that there really are no goodbyes. We have made memories that are as sweet as the decadent chocolate cake that seems to be layered with more yummy goodness than our lips can devour. I suppose that's why John (Trinity College), is aggressively tackling it - 
In the afternoon we were distracted by games with the Technos students that employed a fraction of wiggling, a quarter of Shakira inspired hip shaking and a truck load of laughter. 

Where's Rachel?

So this post has been engulfed with pictures and videos composed solely of happy faces. But saying farewell (for now) was difficult. At the end of the evening, before all of us students tried to cram into one big coach bus, we all fell into a line, much like graduation, where we were left to embrace the Technos students we consumed large bowls of soba noodles with, raced alongside, as manly as possible in Swan peddle boats, and communicated with (hands and all), unperturbed by the language gap. 

And we cried, together. 

Will we miss them? - That's a definite yes! But, we'll see them again and the memories of this experience, including my first encounter with a digitally enhanced toilet seat, will remain and continue to inspire us. 

So let's not dwell on goodbyes...

- Tenzin 

Going home

As you can see, we let Japan sweep us off our feet this week and didn't get much time to post.  The past two weeks have been a truly unforgettable journey into another culture.  When you visit a place as a tourist you see what the guidebooks can show you, but what you see when you have locals showing you around is the real thing.  Yesterday, at the farewell party I witnessed the amazing friendships that grew in the past two weeks.  From every corner of the globe people inspired me to be more insightful, challenged my ideas, and--the Technos students especially--showed me all of their amazing accomplishments.  We will all be posting more thoughts and pictures up in the next few weeks as we adjust to life back home (and enjoy bread!) so stay tuned for more!  Thank you Tanaka family, Technos students, and international family for an amazing two weeks!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Manga Class

This time, our group went into a manga class. Everybody knows that Japan is famous for its mangas ;)
Note: Mangas are comics created in Japan. It includes works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, etc. Since the 1950's manga has become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry. It has also gained significant worldwide audience.

Here are the basic steps in drawing manga:
1. Draw with a pencil. Then you outline with an ink pen.
2. Rather than coloring everything in with ink, you apply the sticker on the drawing, and simply carve out everything that is not needed.
3. Same method applies for the background. Since it's too complicated to draw the background every time, you use stickers of various backgrounds to apply and carve.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

Before heading to the Ghibli Museum, we stopped by a 100 yen/dish sushi store for lunch. You can select your choice of sushi from the rotating sushi stand. 
Ghibli Museum is a museum featuring the Japanese anime work of Hayao Miyazaki. It is filled with carefully designed exhibits, original short animated films that is only screened at the museum, and also a cozy cafe. I've only watched one of Miyazaki's famous animated films, Spirited Away. Even though I didn't recognize most of the characters displayed inside the museum, I still found myself enjoying everything.  
Note: I wasn't able to take pictures inside the museum, because it was not allowed :( I wish I could have though, because there were SO many cute things int here!
The cafe inside the museum had various flavors of ice cream. I got the "white milk" flavor. It was awesome! ONe of my friends got the "red pepper" and regretted it after his tongue started to burn.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Calligraphy Class

Students split up into groups, and each group was able to experience few of the classes offered at Technos College. My group went into a calligraphy class. 
Although calligraphy isn't' very common in the states, it's pretty common in Korea. I remember taking calligraphy classes as a child in Korea. I thought the manners in which you approach calligraphy was very similar (sitting up straight, holding the brush so that it is directed down, etc.) in both countries. Due to the difference in language, however, I've noticed the differences in expressing the strokes and accentuating certain areas. 
Overall, it was a very interesting class, and it brought back memories from childhood :) 
The first thing I wrote was my name. This is written in hiragana. 
Note: Hiragana is a Japanese syllabary, one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji. 

Next, I tried writing kanji on a fan. This kanji means "love."
Note: Kanji is the adopted Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese writing system. In contrast to hiragana, each kanji has different meanings.
The professor of the calligraphy class presented us with a gift, which had our names written in kanji. The one written above is my name in hiragana, and the one written below is my name in kanji. My name in kanji has the meaning of a "beautiful and shining day."


Monday, June 11, 2012

Kamakura, One Day Bus Tour

@ the Kotokuin Temple, The Great Buddah of Kamakura: Built in 1252, the "Byakugo" (located on the Buddha's forehead) is known to emit rays of light to illuminate all of the world. 

@ the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine: Built in 1063, and moved to the present location in 1180, this shrine has been dedicated to the guardian god of Samurai Warrior. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Free day!

Today was our first whole day of free time!  This morning the Bates contingent, along with others in the group went to a Kabuki theatre performance.  It is a traditional style play/opera that included big Taiko drums, traditional one string banjo-like string instruments, and singing/talking that was a little screechy (on purpose).  Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures of the elaborate set and costumes, but here is some information on the style in general.
Kabuki info

Architecture in downtown, near the Kabuki performance 

Outside the Tokyo National Theater
The lobby of the National Theater reminded me of Lincoln center with its jewelry box-like lighting.

Curtain, pre-Kabuki show

After the show I went on to explore the very modern area of Harajuku with two other students.  The shopping was overwhelming (even for a shopper as experienced as me) but the fashion and people watching was fun!

Walking through Yoyogi park on our way to Harajuku

Upstairs at an over the top food court in Harajuku

Tonight Sandy, Nancy, and I met up with two other recent Bates graduates (one just finished up her thesis with Nancy as her advisor) for an amazing dinner in the fancy shopping district called Omotesando Hills. Designed much like a modern Champs d'Elysee, the large tree lined boulevard was flanked by designers, boutiques, fancy apartment buildings and incredible malls.  We got dinner at a restaurant famous for their traditional Japanese pork cutlets, and they exceeded expectations for what pork can taste like.  Incredibly tender and flaky at the same time they were barely trumped by yet another amazing plate of sushi!  Yum!

Found a little bit of home!

The lobby of a fancy apartment building