Day 7 – June 9, 2012

12 Jun

Today, marked the 50th Anniversary of the Technos College and the 20th Anniversary of the Technos International Week.  There was an anniversary ceremony where Dr. Kenji Tanaka, our host, was present.  There were many congratulatory speeches and messages.  There was also an Introduction of Technos College and history!  After, there was a luncheon reception, where there was a toast from the professor at Oxford and Pembroke College.  The best sushi in Japan was served at the luncheon, as well as prime rib, several Japanese foods, and many delicious desserts.  It was amazing!  After, we received a gift from Technos and enjoyed a popular Japanese performer.  Then, we all took a bus back to the hotel.  Later, we got on the train and headed to Shinjuku.  As we were in Shinjuku, we walked the city and saw a lot of types of Japanese fashion.  We ended up getting lost in the “Times Square” of Shinjuku about three or four times, but we managed to make it back to the train station.  When we got there, a Japanese man named Haruki helped us find which train to take, and rode the train with us until we got back to Fuchu!  People are so nice here!

Jennifer Melusky, Myself (Brianne Funk), Haruki (the Japanese man who helped us find our way – THE HERO OF THE DAY!!!), Megan Inboden, and Kayla Morelan in the Higashi-Fuchu train station after Haruki helped us find our way back to our hotel!

Advertisements

Day 6 – June 8, 2012

12 Jun

We left Midori no Mura early in the morning to go to Zenkou Temple (Buddha).  We took off our shoes after climbing the large steps into the Temple – where there are no photos to be taken inside the Temple because it is sacred.  Inside, the ceilings were very high and everything was gold and gold leaf.  There was a large bamboo floor area where people can pray.  We got to go into a dark hall that led to the door of death.  We walked down the stars into a dark, dark hallway with low ceilings.  We held our right hands on the wall to feel our way through the hall.  After two right turns, there was a door with a handle.  I touched the handle for good luck and tried to open the door, but it was locked.  I then followed the rest of the hall back to the light and exited the Temple.  The meaning of the hall and door was that the darkness represents that death is near.  The locked door represents that it was not our time – the door of death – so you then would touch it for good luck.  Then you would follow until you saw the light representing now – life.

Day 5 – June 7, 2012

12 Jun

Kayla and I woke up early and went on walk, but Kayla broke her sunglasses, lost her only pencil, and WE GOT LOST!!! – in the woods, in Japan, with NO PHONE! Oops!!!!  But we eventually heard people walking in the woods, ran to find them and found our way back!  When we got back to Midori no Mura, we ate breakfast!  After, it was our recreational day!  We learned some Japanese traditional games, as well as the Japanese version of dodge ball, volleyball, basketball, and rock-paper-scissors.  It was an extraordinary day, but very tiring!!  Later, we had a Japanese style BBQ.  We grilled on Hibachi grills – beef, pork, shrimp, noodles, eggplant, corn, sausage, scallops – all in this phenomenal sauce.  It was THE BEST MEAL EVER!!!  Later, I enjoyed another bath.  It never felt so good to fall asleep!

Day 4 – June 6, 2012

12 Jun

We rode a bus for two hours to Mt. Fuji!  Today is very rainy and cold, so we couldn’t see any of the mountain or view because of the fog.  I was a bit bummed because we didn’t see any of the mountain and we only had 30 minutes when we stopped, but I did make some great purchases!!!  After, we drove back down Mt. Fuji and headed towards the Wasabi Farm about two hours away.  We had lunch there and then later explored the farm and took pictures of the beautiful scenery.  When we were finished at the Wasabi Farm, we drove for another two hours and arrived at Matsumoto Castle.  The castle was absolutely gorgeous!!!  We climbed to the top of Matsumoto – 6 flights of stairs to get to the very top!  Once we finished, we got on the bus for another two and a half hour bus ride and finally arrived at the hotel – Midori no Mura.  Our rooms had six people and the floors were all bamboo mats.  We set up our “mattress pads” on the floor – like a slumber party!  We gathered in a cafeteria-like place to eat dinner with everyone.  We then went into the karaoke room to listen to a lecture on how to use the spring bath and put on kimonos properly.  We karaoked a bit, then headed to the baths to take our first bath in the spring.  We were nervous a bit, but overall it was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it!  It was very relaxing!

Day 3 – June 5, 2012

12 Jun

Today we explored Technos College!  When we got there, we played a game – a scavenger hunt, where we answered questions about the school – we only had a map to help us!  After, we all received fans and a key chain with the word “Technos” written on it and ate lunch.  Later, we watched the Technos students’ presentation on their school and the things they learn.  We also presented about McKendree and what we do at school!  After the presentations, the Japanese students walked us from Technos to our hotel.  When we got back, Kayla and I walked up and down all the streets by the hotel – Marroad Inn – and bought some souvenirs!  We ate dinner with Mr. Ottinger this night; it was delicious!!  I also skyped with my sisters 6th grade class at Mascoutah Middle School to talk to them about Japan; I also taught them a few words in Japanese!

Day 2 – June 4, 2012

12 Jun

Today was the start (officially) of the Technos International Trip!! After we all got breakfast, we got onto a public bus to go to Technos College!  When we got to Technos, we had the Welcome Ceremony – it was unbelievable!!  When we got to the college, we entered into this huge outdoor auditorium separated out by our universities.  They announced our names and we walked onto a red carpet where hundreds of students were cheering with flags; I felt like a rock star!  They were filming us to broad cast us on a huge screen above the stage we got on.  Once on the stage, we introduced ourselves one by one.  Everyone, in the crowd, went nuts and cheered!  After, we entered into the welcome party where there was tons of food and important people from Technos.  They did a few formal speeches, then we mingled and everyone asked to take pictures with us!  Later, we explored Fuchu, a city near our hotel, with the Technos students and visited a Shrine.  It was absolutely beautiful.  After we got back to our hotel, we went to a restaurant nearby, right outside our hotel, where we took off our shoes and sat on cushions on the floor.

To see the video of us being introduced and on stage at Technos College go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xWcbat6sXY

To see the video of how the crowd reacted at Technos College go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-zqUSCXgSw

We made it!!!!

3 Jun

We have finally arrived to Tokyo, Japan!!! After the long flight, we checked into our hotel. The rooms are very small – smaller than my dorm room back at school. The toilet is very awesome, as well!! After we brought everything up to our room and freshened up, we had our first dinner and it was completely amazing! During the dinner, we met the other participants that we will all be spending our week with! Now, it is bed time! 🙂