In Japan most people take public transportation everywhere. So today we visited Japan Rail East which is leader in Japan’s transportation. They are Japan’s largest railway company. We learned a lot about how they are trying to make it easier for people to get from place to place. There working on making faster trains for more efficiency. Also installing systems where people can print where they are trying to go and it tells them what trains to take. They had plenty ideas to improving their railway. Such as they want to establish a smart station. The smart station consist of smart space, personalized information, interactive terminal, security, and providing easy-to understand train status information. Also making interactive signs to show you which train is coming next and how close it to where you are located. They gave us a tour of the projects they are working on and also of the new shopping and train area they are trying to make.
Waseda University is one of the top private schools in Japan. It is very prestigious and hard to get into. To get into this particular college there is a entrance exam in which most students study since grade school so they can pass the exam when the time comes for them to take the test. I found it interesting to learn that maybe 3,000 apply to the school but they only accept about 600 which just go to show it is very competitive to get in. I had the opportunity to meet students while I was there. They were very friendly and down to earth. I found it interesting how long some of them travel to school each day for many of them it’s a 2-3 hour ride. Most of the students I met were studying English. There school building was very plain compared to the buildings at Michigan State University. Also there campus was a lot smaller.
The most exciting baseball game I have ever seen. I never knew how big baseball was in Japan until I had the opportunity to experience it first hand. The crowd was hype and they cheered on the team all the way throughout the game. Even though baseball is big in the US I don’t recall the audience being hype throughout the whole game. Tokyo Giants were an amazing team. When it seemed like the other team was going to come back that’s when Tokyo Giants went in for the kill. The game never had a dull moment. I never seen such an enthused crowd for baseball. Even if the team made an error the fans always showed their support. It gave me a new outlook on the game of baseball. To the Japanese baseball is like football or basketball for the US. I really enjoyed myself and was a little sad when the game was over.
The tea ceremony is a very traditional ceremony in the Japanese culture. When you first enter you must remove your shoes before sitting for the ceremony. Then once seated they bring you treats. I did not really like the treats because they were way to sugary and tasted like playdoh. Next the lady who was in charge of the tea ceremony began to make the tea. She made each person’s tea individually. When you received your tea you had to turn it to the left the cup then say a chant with her. It’s like a greeting for presenting the tea but also a thank you for receiving the tea. When it was my turn I forgot one of the sayings on accident. So I hope they weren’t too disappointed in me. Overall it was a great new experience and it taught me more about the Japanese culture. I was glad I got a first hand look at their different customs.
Japan is not like America in the sense that they do not tend to overeat. I noticed that everything is smaller portions. If you order chicken and fries in Japan you probably will get about only 12 fries and little pieces of chicken. They are very health conscious that is why most of the Japanese are not obese. Most are very slim and I can see why. Although at first I was disappointed in the smaller portions it helped me to be more conscious in what I was eating and taught me not to overeat. You would be surprised that the smaller portion actually made me more full than eating as much as I usually would. It took a little while to get used to the small portions but after being there for a week I knew what to expect when eating. I believe if America could cut back just a little bit then our people will be better off and there will be less health problems.
At night you see all types of things going on Tokyo. There are several different people who try to attract you too things like clubs. You even see men dressed as rockers to get you too spend time with them and spend money on girls they promote. In Ropingi there were several Nigerians who tried to talk to the study abroad group. They wanted us to go to their clubs but that was not going to happen. So we just continued to ignore them. I must say it is real beautiful at night. It’s lit up and full of life and things to do. So we had no problem finding things to get into. On the strip there are several food places to try. They had a few American ones as well such as T.G.I Friday, and Hard Rock Cafe of Tokyo. Nightlife is a big part of Ropingi being that is one of the club districts in Tokyo.
Sunday May 23, 2010
Today all of us are headed to Harajuku and the gaming district. In Harajuku it was a culture shock for me. The girls dressed very different but it was kind of cool. From their hair all the way to their clothes were very colorful. It’s nice how in Japan you are accepted for who you are and no matter what you wear. But if they were in the States they would be definitely be judged and thought of to be weird. I feel like maybe in Japan you are able to express yourself more.
Later on we went to the gaming district. Within the gaming district there are a ton a maid cafe’s. Maid cafe’s are very popular in the Japanese culture. They have this unique way of doing things at the cafe. We ended up eating at Maidreamin. Every time a dish came out we had to sing a chant with the maid. I tried this desert it was good it was pancakes that were decorated with a cute face with two scoops of chocolate almond ice cream. It’s very animated and original.