Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Tokyo Program: Wednesday November 23, 2005

All of this courtesy of the Japanese Government! What a great first day in Tokyo!






































Field Trip and Orientation














This was the first day to really see Tokyo the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Way. Everything was scheduled to the minute.


6:45-7:35: Breakfast: Western and Japanese choices-amazing tea and great company. They made us seat by regions of the USA

7:35-8:45: Orientation: What I remember the most is their fear for us going in big groups to popular areas in Tokyo in the evening. Terrorism was in the background of their fears. Roppongi, and Ikebukuro had "danger flags."
Breakfast
9:00: Sightseeing on charter buses: I do not know how they did it, but everyone was on time and on schedule despite traffic. I sat in the back of the bus. This was a big mistake because I could not hear the guide at all!

Akasaka Rikyu (from bus)

Supreme Court (from bus)

The Diet: Described as the Congress-Parliament of Japan. The tour was great, but the explanations were all in Japanese. For the first time I realized how we need to accomodate people who do not speak English better when they come to visit us. The translators were good, but we could hardly hear anything.

The Imperial Palace (from bus)

Tempura Lunch- at a restaurant called Sansada in Asakusa. Good, but the only grease thing I had eaten in Tokyo so far.

Asakusa: we toured our first temple. Sensoji (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a temple located in Asakusa, a central part of the Shitamachi. Shitamachi ("downtown") is the old town of Tokyo. Visit: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3001.html for more information about the temple. I spent a dollar to see my future. It looked good.

The children and the families were having a great time because it was their Thanksgiving Holiday. There was a lot of people, but everything was orderly and people were not loud. They were also very polite. When I heard noise, I found a group of JFMF educators.

1:45 Return to Hotel
2:15-2:50 Traditional Japanese Theater: Kyogen (Don Kenny), Kabuki (Mark Oshima, Special Appearences: Nishikawa Masako, Kiyomoto Nobuchizu)

Kyogen (comedy-mostly without masks) and Kabuki (drama with masks) presentations. I saw an actress prepared for her Kabuki demonstration. I heard beautiful traditional Japanese musical instruments played by masters in their fields. Along with the artistic performances, I heard centuries of Kabuki history from a skillful presenter.

It was very interesting, but I was fighting bad jet lag! My pictures demonstrate my interest, but my eyes were closing. In my offline journal I wrote, "I wished I had been Stephanie Crossno. I would have had the background to get more into this drama presentation. I have a lot of information to share with Stephanie. Some of my group members bought the video and they said I could borrow it if Stephanie is interested. I hope to learn more about this area by sharing it with Stephanie." Links to Kabuki: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2090.html; http://www.lightbrigade.demon.co.uk/; http://www.asms.net/facultymanaged/srou/fmfwebsite/kabuki.htm; links to Kyogen: http://www.iijnet.or.jp/NOH-KYOGEN/english/english.html, No and Kyogen: http://web-japan.org/factsheet/noh/; Don Kenny: http://metropolis.japantoday.com/lifeinjapanarchive299/257/lifeinjapaninc.htm,

I wanted to go out and shop with my new friends, but I went to rest for 30 minutes and I did not get up until 2:30 in the morning. Oh, well, shopping and night life can wait.

Reflection:

I had a great time with a teacher name Mark sightseeing in Asakusa. It was not planned. He sat next to me during the tempura lunch and I joined his group, but somewhat they all went in a different direction and we ended-up looking around on our own. I think that is the way I will do most of my planning after hours. It is too hard to agree on what to do as a group. Most of the people here are younger than I am. I do not wish to spend every minute looking at something, shopping or eating. I need my sleep. I was invited to go Karaoke after dinner, but I went to bed. I hate being so tired!

The food is good, but my tommy is having a hard time adjusting to the changes. Other than that everything is amazingly organized, on time, and the FMF staff pays attention to the smallest detail. They are making us feel like very important people.

I forgot to add the amount of money given to us for meals: 32,000 yen to spend on food. It is about $20 per dinner, when they are not having a reception in our honor.

Today the big gift of the day was the visit to the temple. I loved the kids, the families, the sense of peace and tranquility. There were 1,000's of people, but the Americans were the noisemakers. Japan is a culture with so many controvesial points and contrasts in their history. How can they be so polite, community minded, environmentally friendly, peace caring and also have been so cruel to women, the Chinese, and power hungry to make Pearl Harbor happen. I want to read three books: Confessions of a Geisha, Shogan, and Ethics for the New Millennium. A teacher who is fascinated with the Japanese culture reccommended them.

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