Jin’s Reflection

I haven’t traveled to Japan before, because I’ve always thought that Japanese culture is somewhat similar to Chinese culture, but it turned out that I was wrong. As soon as the first day of our tour, I’ve found out the big differences between the two cultures, and American culture as well. Since the big theme of the trip was about sustainability, so that was where I paid my special attention. I remembered that the first day we were introduced that in Japan, there weren’t trashcans on the streets. In the beginning, I didn’t believe that, they might be less than there are in America, but there must be some. Then I found out that if one country really wants to keep itself clean, it must work like Japan then. In America, people throw trash everywhere, China as well, and most likely one is not going to pick a trash up if he or she throws it outside of the trashcan. Another reason is the recycle system of Japan, which is really advanced. Far back when I was in China, I’ve heard of how Japanese people are really serious about the recycling matter, which a lot of people had admired. In Japan, the trashcans were divided by plastic bottles/cans, newspapers, others, and etc.
Another thing that really impressed me is how the Japanese people taught their children the idea of unity. Because this is what it really is, their recycling ideas comes back to sustainability, the people here really are caring about their future generations, how they can create a similar or even better environment for their kids. As we visited the school, I saw how the little kids couldn’t even lift up the food basket, but was still trying his best to take it all the way back to the classroom without complaining a single bit. The children who served food in the classroom also knew what kind of person eats how much, he gave me more than other little children and gave a gigantic amount of rice for his PE teacher, he was adorable, but was also very responsible. The children had milk during lunch, which after finished, they fold the paper box, and put it into another milk box with other folded ones, they also separated the straw and the package that the straw came with. I looked into kids’ rice bowls, not single rice was wasted. During the class, I saw the idea of responsibility everywhere as well. When practicing soccer, children took the gates out from the storage themselves, and took them back after practice. In China, we say everything has to start with the children. In Japan, they took the responsibility of passing the environment to their future generation and started educating the children how to sustain such an environment.
Sustainability doesn’t only mean to preserve the environment and pass it down to the future generations; it also means to pass the history and the culture down. As theme of our group project was values, I interviewed a few locals, and paid my attention to people on the streets as well. I have always been ashamed of how Chinese people didn’t preserve their own style of clothing. I can’t recall what traditional clothing is really Han. If there were, it traces all the way back half a thousand years ago, which is not even modern and fits with the time. But in Japan, the people still are wearing kimonos. People have realized that they wanted to pass down their proud culture to their future generations, so they meant to wear kimonos so that it doesn’t lose track in history. It is also beautiful since such a dressing has carried a history of a nation on it. It’s also a shame that in Mongolia, people don’t wear the robes anymore, unless one still lives on the steppes. I thought Mongolia could also borrow the idea from Japan to wear robes ceremonially.
I’ve learned so much during this trip, about the idea of preserving for the future generations, to become selfless. The Japanese are right, we as in the river of history are shorter than a blink, the world was never ours, it’s our sons’.

2nd scavenger hunt-Jin

Lunch

Lunch

Dinner

Dinner

Cab ride

Cab ride

Our version

Our version

The ad

The ad

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After temple visit we had a little snack

After temple visit we had a little snack

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Mi gente

Mi gente

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Today was the second time we did the kimono day. Everyone woke up early to get ready for it as it would actually take a long time to get fully dressed. We took cabs to get to the place where we got dressed up, it wasn’t near. It was an ok weather, not rainy on the way to there. The area is kind of a traditional area, all the houses were small and mostly wooden. I quiet like it, it may seemed boring to live here, but it is the free spirit that really attratcts me, moutain at the backyard, streams go through houses, and an old temple stands right next to the neighborhood. Since I was the first one who went into the kimono house, it took me only ten minutes to get fully dressed, but different from last time, I got to choose the colors I wanted to wear, gray and bllue, safe choices make life easier, plus I had a golden belt that made me gangnam style.

Everyone looked absolutely gorgeous today. With such a elegance, all of us went up to the temple. In the temple, I went for fortune testing, love wishing and SAT wishing. Hopefully my dreams can come true. My hand got burned by the incent, well, the fortune did tell me to be careful of fire, it also told me I won”t get married, oops.After temple visiting, the rain started and got bigger and bigget, it was really annoying since it destroyed my kimono mood. We then went to the center of Kyoto, and went for another scavenger hunt there. We completed a replica of an advertisement, we bought souvenirs for family members, we took photos with people in kimonos, and also a group photo. These tasks weren”t hard, they did enhanced the friendship we have and helped us to know the city so much better, plus we had great food, cheap and delicious.

 

Lindsay’s post

March 9th

Today was a excellent way to wrap up out trip. It was our final kimono day! which makes me happy and sad because there so beautiful but very uncomfortable to wear. Waking up knowing I had to spend a day in such a confining item was nerve racking, yet excited because wearing one is a rare experience. My spirits were a bit downgrading when I stepped outside into pouring rain and chilly temperatures. I was convinced our kimono day would be canceled midway through the cab ride. Yet upon arrival we were greater with friendly smiles and plenty of kimonos to try on.
We walked around in out kimonos in the rain for hours. We started at the shop in beautiful and historic Shijyo, Kyoto. The streets were bustling with tourist and locals all visiting the temple. Walking around the temple was interesting. You can tell theres a lot of superstition associated with the temple. People where buying fortunes and burning green incenses. I didn’t buy any tho, I prefer to avoid any weird mojo. Plus the rain was slowing everything down. It took us over two hours to get through the temple but we stopped for a lot of snacks and shopping so it is understandable.
After the temple we got into cabs and headed to the market for lunch. Only due to language barriers and poor directions, some of the groups didn’t make it. It took us over a hour to find them. This lead to a incredible change in plans that gave us six hours of free time to eat, shop and do another scavenger hunt! by lindsay

2015/03/09

march 9th

Our days in japan are number yet our spirits are still hight. This lead to one of the most memorable kimono days in Japan despite the disgusting and tiring weather. The morning was rough since I woke up at 7:51 and barely made it to the lobby in time to head out. We jumped right into the day and immediately got taxi’s to head to the kimono shop. The taxi drivers are generally nice here but there is always a language barrier. Some of the Taxi’s arrived later then others to the kimono shop in beautiful and historic Shijyo, Kyoto When we entered the kimono shop, somehow I managed not to hit the ceiling. I really think that inJapan I developed a reflex of bending down when entering buildings.
Nevertheless, we got our kimonos on and went to a wooden house in a middle of nowhere (aka waiting area) and waited there for girls to do their hair thing. Afterwards, we walked into the a beautiful red temple , taking selfies literally every 2 meters. we lit green incense on fire for good luck. We got our fortunes and we set off to get lunch. We stopped by a small restaurant to eat some snacks. Everything there smelt and tasted like green tea (except for green tea itself. It tasted like seaweed).
It seems to take us a while to get places since we walk and stop by every food place we pass. It took us a total of two ice cream shops to eventually get to a main road. We then split into taxi groups and were directed to head to the market. Somehow some of the directions didn’t stick because haft of the groups didn’t arrive at the market. It took us over a hour to track everyone down and find them. Once we were reunited we split into lunch groups and Mami surprised us with a afternoon of free time.
Roman

2015/03/07

March 7th

Today was an amazing and exhausting day. We started off with visiting Hiroshima castle. It was a very special experience because we accidentally walked into a shrine in a middle of a wedding. At least now I know how beautiful and classy Japanese weddings are. The castles are all similar here. We have visited at least three castles and each one we visit has similar displays. It really shows how united japan is as a country. After we walked around the museum for around a hour we walked back throughout the park to the hotel. We spent a little to much time in the castle and wound up missing our train. This gave us time to pick up some yummy bento boxes at lunch before we departed on a long bullet train ride to osaka.
The bullet train ride gave us a opportunity to work on our journals and SLEEP! I think our group actually looks forward to the bullet train rides now since we do so much a day. The rest of the day went quickly by the time we got to Shin – Osaka we were all tired and ready to just get to the hotel. Only it didn’t quite happen like that. Haft go the group didn’t make the train do to the confusion and they had to navigate there way to Osaka. Luckily, we all have gotten pretty good with the subway system and we were able to find our way to osaka.
When we finally arrived at the station we walked to this little capsule hotel called Drop inn Osaka. the place was really cool. It kinda reminded me of a cross between Japan and Brooklyn. Basically instead of rooms we had Capsules in a communal room. they were comfortable but a little small. Overall, It was defiantly a day to remember in Japan.

Wasabi Frappachino’s (Roman, Lindsay and Jin)

Group Wasabi Frappuccino Feb.27

Today began in Osaka. We took a bullet train from Osaka to Okayama. The train ride was hilarious.
Okayama was a incredibly beautiful city in Japan. The day we spent was a day to remember. Even though it was cold, and the lunch was very interesting. We started with the Okayama castle. On the way walking to the castle, the view was definitely beautiful and the walk was very enjoyable. The castle itself was indeed very beautiful, it was a total black castle with gilded roof, and it was contrasted with Himeji castle, which is a total white castle. We walked around inside the castle, took photos in ceremonial clothes, and saw many beautifully crafted swords. By the time we finished the tour, it was really cold.

We the walked to the garden. It was unforgettably beautiful and elegant. In the garden, we had our first traditional Japanese green tea ever, it was a little bit bitter, but very foamy. Together we also had mochi, which was very good. In such a freezing weather, nothing could be better than a cup of warm tea with a little sweet. In the garden, there were blossoms, we couldn’t tell if they were the famously known sakura or not, but they were definitely pleasures to look at. Only in Japan right now one could feel that spring was coming, in contrast to the cold freezing icy weather in New York.
After we left the park, we went onto a mission of scavenger hunt. Within the small groups, we all have gotten tasks to complete. Among them, the hardest ones were finding hirakaras on signs, or asking people from different age groups to take photos with us. For taking photos, we tried to ask a few ladies who we guessed could be around the age of more than 65, but they eventually all rejected our quests. But finally we found a guy who was 75 underground and successfully took a photo with him. Maybe he didn’t even known what was going on. For finding the hirakaras, Jin tried to communicate with local students and asked them to help him finding them, and due to the limit of acknowledgement of English, they weren’t able to talk to each other successfully (using a dictionary). We had completed all the tasks besides the one of asking random strangers and say hi to them in Japanese, which we had forgotten. We eventually found our way back to the hotel with the help from a local lady who could almost speak English.
Today ended with a pleasant dinner to celebrate India’s 15th birthday.image

Lunch snack

Lunch snack

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Sakura?

Sakura?

With shop assistant

With shop assistant

Roman with kids

Roman with kids

The gang

The gang

Jin's take over

Jin’s take over

Kerrie in kimono

Kerrie in kimono

Group photo in front of the castle

Group photo in front of the castle

Lindsay, Roman, Jin