A short collection of shots from the Ross Japan’s day in Nagoya.
February 26 – Travel Day
On Tuesday morning the highly-anticipated 2015 Japan Field Academy kicked off with a collective vigor and venturesome spirit not to be outdone. The group left from the Ross Upper School campus at roughly 4:00 a.m.. Though fatigued after nearly 20 hours of flying, the students hit the Nagoya ground almost running – their eyes reawakened and their pocket cameras fully charged, they were a group excited to simply to finally be in Japan.
Yet, there has been a lot of preparation to be thankful for on this front. Each student was provided a travelling backpack with instructions to pack lightly. Not only would they be responsible for shouldering the entirety of their bag’s weight during each of the 16 days in Japan, but the bags would no doubt accumulate, either with snacks, gifts, or any sort of Oriental tchotchkes they never knew they needed.
And of course, there’s the language. We can’t be in Japan and not learn any Japanese. Mami Takeda, the lead chaperone, has started the spry group off with some essential survival Japanese phrases. We began with phrases like ‘hello,’ ‘good morning,’ and ‘good-bye’ (こんにちは – konnichi wa、おはようございます – ohayō gozaimasu、and さようなら – sayounara, respectively). Along the way we have included ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ (すみません – sumimasen、ありがとうございます – arigatou gozaimasu). And the language instruction continues to grow as the students ask more questions that arise with new experiences and situations.
When we first checked into the hotel the first night in Nagoya (just a couple of blocks from the train station), we were all looking forward to a good night sleep. Some did just that, wanting to fully recharge for the next day. Some were still up and about and enjoyed a quick late-night run to the nearest convenience store – a hallmark of contemporary Japanese snacks and culinary curios.
And after returning to their rooms, the long travel time caught up with them and they were out – looking forward to the next day and the beginning of their Japanese trek adventure.
Blog for 2015/02/26
Today was the first day of our exploration of wonders in Japan. It was a little bit rainy, but it couldn’t stop everyone’s excitement, oppositely, it made Nippon, this far eastern country more mysterious than it already was! Japan is absolutely a clean country, unlike it is in NY, when it rains here in Japan, it’s not dirty nor muddy, it’s just simply fresh and cool. Coming from the cold NY, this kind of freshness was exactly what we wanted
We started the morning with exploring the technology museum in Nagoya after a great Japanese breakfast buffet. The museum was owned by Toyota, it was much bigger than it seemed to be. It was divided into two sections, automobiles and textile. Very interestingly, there were a lot of demonstrations in the museum, and the staff gave us a lot of free samples, who doesn’t love a free sample? Most impressively, my Wasabi Frappuccino group watched a metal smithing demo, the staff forged a piece of accessory of a car from the beginning, raw material, he then heated it up till 1200 celsius. He had to forge the heated metal four times to get to the expected shape, the forging machine reduced the original process from maybe few hours down to 30 seconds. The machine was press machine with a pressure of 120 tons, one elephant is roughly about a ton if you don’t use ton. The sample was a miniature, the staff told us that in real life, the piece was much bigger and the machine could reach up to 600 tons. At the end, we all got a miniatured piece of metal as a souvenir.
The second place we went was the Nagoya castle. Serena Kim did a brief intro for everyone, it was built during the war period of Japan. The whole structure of this building complex is white, it was a building contained both elegance and greatness. The complex was owned by the shogun. I found that the Japanese architecture can really go up to 6 stories while the Chinese buildings are never taller than 2 floors. Unfortunately, the original construction was burnt down in 1945 during the WWII, the one we saw today was a replica, But it has shown us the amazing construction skill of the Japanese people. One thing that was very interesting was that in the museum, everyone had to take their shoes off and put on a reusable pair of slippers, while the other museums in other parts of the world, even if one has to take his or hers shoes off, the museums usually offer disposable shoe covers, which are wasteful and unsustainable.
For lunch, we had to go with our project groups, and we could choose whichever restaurant we wanted to eat. BUT, the biggest problem we had was the language problem. For me though, I could understand the common characters that we share between Japanese and Mandarin, so I could tell my teammates whether the food was pork or chicken for example, and as for the rest of the deciding process, there were wax replica of the real food in the show case windows. Everyone loved the noodles we got, and some of them even improved their chopstick skills.
For the afternoon, we took the bullet train from Nagoya to Osaka. I have longed to take the bullet train, which was one of the first high-speed trains in the world, I also have watched a series of cartoons about the Shinkansen throughout my childhood. The train arrived and left the station on the dot of 5:11. The train ride was very quiet. The Japanese people I have met throughout the trip so far were always very friendly and mindful of one another. They always thought in other people’s shoes first, for example, on the train, those people also wanted other people to have a nice and pleasant train ride, so they kept the quietness within the train car.
One thing about Japan is that you are constantly thinking about food. After breakfast, I started to think about the lunch I was going to have, and then about dinner. For dinner, we had another language problem and our indecisiveness stopped us from getting a dinner in a short time. We went around the street and looked at every restaurant for almost half an hour, than we decided to go to a small restaurant which was cheap and pleasant. We had curry tempura with rice, or udon noodles, or even sashimi rice bowl, isn’t that just dream coming true?
The day ended pleasantly and joyfully with a cup of caramel macchiato. Saiyonara! -Jin, Roman, Lindsey