Mata Ne Friends

This morning, I had salmon, veggies, and many fruit- along with sea weed strips fir breakfast. <it’s a strange thing to have fir breakfast but they were some of my fav things to eat. My fav things that I ate on the trip: salmon, salmon/avocado sushi, eggplant, pumpkin, miso soup, and sea weed strips. It will be odd to go home and not use chop sticks at every meal.

This morning/afternoon was very bitter sweet- reminiscing all of the memories from the trip with my friends. I am determined to meet with everyone sometime in the future. I met great people on this trip- I can not say enough about how grateful I am for all this fortune in my life!!

Although many of us said our goodbyes at the hotel, about 3 hours later we ran into many friends again- and we were able to spend more time with them and see them onto their plane.

So many kind people with great big hearts!

We got on the plane at 5:30- eager to get the jet lag over with.

To celebrate our time in Japan (and occupy our anticipation) the three of us went to work and made several origami figures and shared our most fond adventures in Japan.

It’s so cool that Zahrah will be home on Saturday (Chicago) at 3pm when we left Japan on Saturday at 6 pm- time traveler!

I’m eager to be home to share stories with my family and to get back to my old schedule.

Sad that I won’t see the people I met through this experience every day.

But at the same time I feel so much happiness and love for the people that I have met because we have unbelievable memories and making future plans to meet up again because we enjoyed each others’ company is a priceless feeling.

Japan felt surreal. I had a great time- every moment was wow.

Saw lots, learned lots, met lots of people, and had lots of yummy food- all I can say is is wow and thank you.

Farewell Technos

This morning we packed up our bags and loaded the bus, we left the hotel to go to Technos to take our last class and celebrate our time in Japan with our new friends.

Today we played Ikusa- a game that involves armor, a sword, and a helmet with a balloon on top. Two teams had to try and pop each other’s balloons. It was wild fun! The atmosphere was so fun and cool looking- lights, balloon, stadium! My (Emily) was called Edo. We didn’t win, but we had a great time. My favorite part was watching everyone else.

After, we had lunch in the cafeteria- rice, eggplant, tofu, and a salad. Next, me, Patrizia and Mathew went to 7/11 to spend the rest of our train-Suica card. On our way back to Technos, we stopped by a 2nd hand shop. There was a lot of merchandise! All sorts of toys (lots of rodys), designer purses, and a ton of electronics (game councils, video games, cameras, you name it!!). We returned and danced in the quad to Pompompom and

When we returned, the college threw us a farewell party. They made me feel so valued and loved!! We received a certificate and a warm fuzzy poster. They gave us many treats and one of the biggest surprises was that they bought a birthday cake and sashes for the visitors that had a birthday while they stayed in Japan. I was able to give cards and tiny tokens if gratitude to many of the people involved in this amazing experience. Endless Words come to mind when I want describe how thankful I am for this unbelievable experience. Everyone was so kind, helpful, and hospitable. Every moment there was something new. Many people ya e speeches that were very heart warming- Japan definitely benefitted the mind, stomach, and heart. Communication is so important- I hope to stay in touch with all of the people I met. They are too great! Saying until-next-time was very rough. Many people stood by the coach bus to send us away. This experience was unforgettable. Can’t wait to see my friends again, the moments shared were so priceless!

On our way to Ueno to shop and eat, we passed the location where they are building structures for the Olympics 2020!

we arrived in Ueno and went passed the Lillypad park to eat dinner! We found a basement restaurant- I had an omelet, avocado, edamame, and a salad. Yum yum yum!

After, we went on a bus to our hotel and we had the chance to take a wonderful picture of Tokyo’s sky tree! The weather is so nice! The hotel we are staying at is very grand! I am excited to eat the breakfast! I’m not ready to leave!

Ueno and Fuchu Adventures

This morning we walked to Technos to participate in a program. There were 3 classes that you could take- bridal, manga, or mock-flight. I was paired to be in bridal- it was the best class yet!! They decorated the board so beautifully for us and they made us feel so special! The class turned on music and went to work. They selected a few to get their hair. D makeup done while others taught us different origami designs- heart, kimono, and crane. They stuck lots of beautiful flowers in our hair. Then we all took turns trying on a bridal kimono. The original popular kimono is white but I wore an orange one. They had to put two other layers of robe on before the final touch. It was a bit warm and heavy but it was so elegant! Then after, they painted our nails! It was so relaxing and everyone was giving out compliments to each other!

After class, we went to the cafeteria. I had tofu, rice, pumpkin, and greens. Yum yum yum. Then Carly, Macey, Ellie, and I made our way to the train station to go to Tokyo’s national museum. On our way there we bumped into a food/shop festival. It was nicely put together in the park! We stayed by the museums for a little bit- observed: swords, manuscripts, vases, statues, art, textiles. So many artifacts!! So cool!

Next we went to the neighboring town s d walked down streets looking at shops! There were so many shops!!- filled with shoes, souvenirs, and jewelry.

We grew tired and decided to make our way back to Fuchu- neighboring area to our hotel. We found a delicious restaurant where I had tofu, edamame, and salad with potato. The restaurant was beautifully decorated- it was interesting because the chairs did not have backs to lean on.

We returned to our hotel and played games with other students! I am going to miss all the people I have met on this trip. They are all so kind and helpful. I can’t wait to meet with them again and see what the future brings us. -Emily

Wednesday Asakusa Field Trip!!

Typhoon hits again, but luckily it wasn’t warm out. This morning we adventured to Asakusa with some Technos students. We were all given partners, my partner, Aki, was very kind and good company! She is in school to work at a Disney Hotel! Her English was coming along great as well.

We took the train- and wow, it was crowded. I can’t even think of a simile fir how packed it felt.

When we arrived, we went shopping, there were a lot of souvenir shops and plenty of food for sale! Many people tried chocolate tempura, dove cookies, and a dessert that had soy sauce on it! In addition, I got the opportunity to see a temple and shrine- it was so grand and beautiful.

We all roamed the streets for a bit, looking at all the sights. We found a woman advertising an exotic animal café- she was using an owl.

Next, we went to lunch. We were served tempura. I had never tried this before. I ate shrimp, pumpkin, and fish tempura- and it wasn’t all bad. The food has always left my heart happy and full.

After lunch, we roamed the streets some more; then, we went to a plastic food making shop. We all got the opportunity to make our own tempura! It was so interesting watching how they made the tempura and lettuce. The tabique was calming! I chose to make lettuce, shrimp, and pumpkin tempura- luckily there were some very kind people around to help me!

Everyones’ creations were a success! After, some friends and I made our way to the Sky tree tower- tallest building! However- it was so cloudy that it was hard to see the top but it was still a fun journey and it made for some great pictures! We stopped in the mall, they have stationary shops in many places!

Then, my English friend, Duha, and I, set off for Harajuku to find clothes and a animal café. The street was very long- all with well known designer merchandise. Then we came across a hedgehog café- 1st in the world. The vibe was very nice! We played with hedgehogs fur half an hour- we held them and fed them bugs. They were very sleepy and cute. I had never seen one up close. I hope to do another animan café. Next, we headed to a store and I bought a sushi shirt! Then we made it back to Fuchu.

I knew that this would happen eventually- the train was too packed. I tried to fit my body in but when I got an arm and a leg in, the skies closed on me, they opened and I tried to reenter but it was too late. Duha and I waved goodbye through the window- I felt like it was a dramatice movie – as if we would be separated forever. At first I was nervous to be on my own again, but I knew exactly what I needed to do! I felt a lot better about navigating my way around from previous practice! I made my way back to Fuchu- hit the grocery store and bought fruits and vegetables :)) and realized that I have done a lot of traveling these past 2 weeks! It’s so great having a train right at your fingertips. It’s fast and cozy! It’s so helpful, I will definitely miss getting around on my own so frequently.

Class is in Session!

We all woke up fairly early to travel to the Technos college to peek in on a few classes. Most of the student Technos visitors decided to walk to the college (about 35 min). It was a great decision because the sun was finally out to stay and the weather was nice and warm! The classes provided were calligraphy, voice-over dubbing, mass media discourse, English conversation, and sweets making. I participated in the mass media discourse class- it was insightful because the professor worked as the head honcho at his previous job- now he is 80 and teaching and Technos. He talked about his time in WWII and the influences on the news paper. I learned that media turns to baseball players to endorse their products. A chocolate company is trying to sell more chocolate by showing all of its benefits. And, that there is an article in the paper called titled 9 that discusses the topic of war- after WWII, Japan’s military was stripped, and now they only have a police department. The article mostly discusses anti-war. Fir the class assignment, the professor assigned a news paper section to the students and they have to write a four page essay discussing the media within the next month. The interpreter at this lecture was very helpful, he answered all of my questions. He talked about how he write books about translation and how his friend translated the Harry Potter books to Japanese!

Next, we had lunch. I tried a food that was like mashed up beans- I really enjoyed it. Along with miso soup, seaweed salad, and rice.

After lunch, we went to our next classes. The first class was English conversation- we played charades and talked about illnesses. The students did a good job- I hope that the stick with learning a different language.

Then, I moved onto a sweets making class. They first served hard seaweed, 3 types of fish- sardines and… along with broths. I could not come to eat the sardine/brith (because a head was popping out) BUT I enjoyed the rest. For desert I tried a pancake with red-bean paste- it was very tasty- I can’t believe that I actually ate a sweet.

After the classes, we were free to roam. Many students wanted to go back to the hotel but I wanted to adventure. I walked back to the hotel and took the train the Shinjuku.

I was already nervous enough to be out on my own, but many people said it was easy. But I got lost a few times. I kept skipping my stops to change to an express-train. Luckily, I found a woman (only speaks Japanese… and I only spoke English… language is so important- I wish I studied more!!). She told her grandson to get off at their stop, then she stayed with me until to next stop so she could see me off to where I needed to be. My heart was filled with so much love, compassion, and appreciation for this woman. She was so kind/generous and patient.

I still asked several people if I was going the right way. Not being able to read what was going on can cause lots of stress. Before you knew it, I was in Shinjuku!! Yay! I found the statue of Godzilla, then I was ready to go back to Fuchu (where the hotel is). All that stress wore me out!

I get back to Fuchu, take the scenic route back to the hotel. I look out the 10th floor balcony and you could almost see everything. The city skyline was really neat! Then, me, Matt, and Liam ventured off to a shrine (when we got there it was closed but the outside was pretty!) I love how many shrines they have in every city. It was a lovely walk down there because we saw so many buildings that helped me get a better picture of what life is like I’m Fuchu.

We decided to get food from the grocery store for dinner- I bought apples, watermelon, and edamame (I thought they were snap peas- I’ve learned lots today). Other friends bought Coke mintos and Taco Doritos!- I’m going to check if that’s there in the US. Then, I returned to the hotel to watch FIFA – Colombia vs Japan!!

I am glad that I got the opportunity to explore Tokyo on my own for a minute! I have never been so far away, all by myself, in ages! It was all a learning experiences! I got to see more of Tokyo and I loved it! I love Japan. 🇯🇵

Road Trip

Today the sight seeing tutor group from Technos took us on a bus to Kamakura!

I met new students who were very friendly!

We went to see The Great Buddha- it was beautiful. It has been around since 1252! It’s the second largest Buddha statue in Japan! We went inside of it and it was a beautiful atmosphere!

After, we went to lunch. I love eating here because they prepare me the best pescatarian food! I tried a red stalk of ginger, fried fish, veggies (I ate 5 people’s veggies because they didn’t want any), rice, and pickled foods.

Next we went to the Hasadera temple. There was a large statue of Kannon in there. It was tall and gold and I wasn’t allowed to take a picture 😦 but after, we walked around some more and we went into a cave where statues were placed and candles were lit. It was beautiful.

Lastly, we went to a shrine. It was large and red. After, we went down the streets looking at the shops. My partner bought me a rice cookie!! -so kind! They’ll be great tour guides someday! There was a Shiba uní café but we didn’t go up- next time!

We returned home, and I went with 7 visitors to sushi in Fuchu! My FAV- salmon/Avocado sushi. Yum yum. We traveled the rest of the mall- even though everything was closing, but there were 5 floors!! And the restaurants were still open. Then we walked back to get ice cream at Baskin Robins- there’s a kind called pippin’ shower. Then we all got together and watched a Japanese game show.

Sunday in Tokyo

Today was a free day for me(Emily)! Many of the visitors went to a baseball game but me and two others (Liam and Anna) decided to go out on our own.

We embarked towards Shinjuku. There we went up 45 floors to over look Tokyo. The view was overwhelmingly stunning. Tokyo is the largest city and that view brought it into a greater perspective and understanding.

Next, we traveled a bit to Shinjuku Gyoen- a garden/park. The weather was perfect fir this occasion! So many people were out- smelling the roses, laying on the grass, reading, drawing, painting. It was all very relaxing! We went into the green house and we looked at a French garden and a Japanese garden. As we were leaving, we ran into two visitors- such a small world- who had just returned from a hike in the mountains! Next, we went to an udon cafe and I tried a seaweed wrap- delicious.

Next, we traveled to the Meiji Shrine. It was in a park/wooded area. It was large, and there were lots of people. The walk there was beautiful and peaceful with all of the surrounding large trees. While we were there, we saw a wedding taking place. It looked so elegant.

After that, we took a train to another location and there we went thrift shopping. Their thrift shopping was pricier compared to Savers/Goodwill but the shopping bear was stuff that had been dated. Lots of the clothing came from the 70’s. Each store had its own spin, they were small, but they had lists of history/culture wrapped in a tight area. There was also a hipster boutique- it reminded me of a store in St. Louis- sunny daydream. Home away from home!! We also came across a desert stand called #grams – where they have a large variety of cereals.

We decided to go back to the hotel, because we will have a big day tomorrow. When we got back, Kamilla, Anna, Holly, and I went to a ramen restaurant. My new fav thing is steamed bamboo!!

Kabuki and tons more fun

This morning a group of the international students, professors, and Technos faculty/students went to a theatre production, Kabuki. It was a the story of a father and son lion along with a segment about to Buddhist priests to create comedic relief. Before the production, a man informed the audience about the key aspects to Kabuki. The orchestra was spectacular, the costumes were unique and breathe taking. The father and son had long head dresses at the end and they were sipping their hair everywhere! We had a translation record that helped explain what was going on.

Next, we headed for Shibuya. We near a castle and garden. The route was beautifully scenic. There were people running along the parks track- it looked like so much fun! Then we passed a castle- it was white. And we headed to Tokyo station. It was very large and fancier on the outside compared to others. We ended up having lunch in the train station- to get a taste of the local life. It was all hustle bustle! But after 10 min of searching, we finally found a place to sit! I finally got to eat my Fuji Apple from Mnt. Fuji. Yum!

We arrived in Shibuya. There were so many people. Everywhere. Going any/every way possible. We (Erick, Matt, Carly, Ellie, Me- Emily, and Macey) peeped in a few stores- Forever 21 (7 stories!!) and Loft (a stationary store- lots of office materials). We saw a Mario Go Kart Tour-every player dressed accordingly. Then Erick, Ellie, Matt, and I headed for Tokyo Tower!

We got lost in the train, but we found our way. On our way to the tower we came upon a shrine. Within that area- they had several sculptures, an organic food festival, and a celebration where they would play live music later on in the evening. We hung a wish in a tree and watched a mink hit a bell. The scenery and plants were very pleasing!! Then we came across a park (that was attached to a beautiful hotel). We got a good picture of the tower there. Then we kept walking to the tower! When we got there we decided to go to the top!! There were so many stores (lots of anime) at the bottom floors of the building. We got a head set and we learned a bit about the creators of the building. Then we road an elevator to the mid section, then all the way to the top. It was so beautiful. I could see everything- the park, Ferris wheel, rainbow bridge. Everyone had such a great time. We even got treated with tea and lemonade as we waited to go up. It was so great and indescribable.

Macey and Carly met us down at the bottom and we set off for dinner. We passed the shrine again, and there was a woman singing a Bruno Mars song, it was so beautiful! Then we searched the streets for food and we came across this advertiser, who brought us down to a basement restaurant and she sat us down in a cubby-like eating area- 2 tables and 8 chairs. Our waitress had a poster of herself on the wall and in the bathroom. I tried a tofu-reddish appetizer (I ate 4 of them b/c no one else wanted it), rice, edamane, pickled veggies, and tofu salad. It was all so delicious!! Then we spent 15 min, trying to calculate our portion of the bill. It was so tasty tho!

Next, We headed back to our hotel. It took us about 2 hours but we had great laughs. I am so thankful to have made such great friends with the people visiting Japan. They have helped me out so much. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I can’t imagine this trip without them!

Back to Tokyo

Headed back to Tokyo!

Breakfast- tofu-mushroom casserole-like food, cauliflower, sea weed soup, salad, and pickled veggies, in addition I tried sea weed strips and fermented beans- v interesting.

On our way back to Tokyo we visited the Matsumoto Castle- it’s been around since 1594. It’s black- which is rare because most castles are white- because the samurai liked that color. The steps were v steep but it was a beautiful area with a lot of vegetation and artifacts.

Next, we traveled 30 minutes away to a miso factory. We had the chance to smell 3 and 10 year old miso and we had the opportunity to eat lunch there. Miso soup, tea, salmon sushi- yum, ice cream, bread, fried rice, and tofu-topped with 10 year old miso.

We headed back to Tokyo. The mountain scenery is breathe taking, we watched Poyo on the way home and stoped by a v busy rest stop.

When we got back, we said goodbye to Zahrah and another student (because they will be staying with a host family for the weekend).

Some international students and I took the train to a sushi conveyer belt restaurant where we are loads of sushi! Then we went to an arcade game and spent too much money on useless tokens. But after we went into a photo booth and get snacks from 7/11 – we learned so much today!!

Going to watch a Kabuki performance tomorrow!

Midori No Mura

Today I (Emily) woke up really early! But that was good because it gave me time to go sit by the window and gaze upon the mountains and sunshine. Breakfast I had salad, shredded seaweed, seaweed strips, roots- yellow and green, pineapples, oranges, and green tea!! Then me, Gloria (professor), Partrizia, Duha, Mimi, and Cecily went on a mini hike- got a bit lost- but we made it back in time to go to the gymnasium and learn a dance.

Everyone was separated into 3 groups according to their room assignments and the Technos students taught us a dance. My group learned a sing called Pompompom- we learned it in 2 hours, then everyone performed fir judges. And one of the international students (Liam) dud river dancing, while the professors did the makarania. It was really tough to learn the dance but we had a great finish.

Lunch time cane around- salad, rice w/ veggies, and veggie soup, along with snow cones! Then we went back to the gym where we learned 2 team building games- one was like a centipede and the other was a pole relay race. We didn’t win, but I had a good time!

After the games, I played ping pong and tennis with some of the group and went on a mini hike again. Everywhere we went there was something new- firing, snake, caterpillar.

Went to a bbq dinner in the back yard- the meal was created on a fire pit- similar to hibachi- yum yum. I had corn, rice with veggies, salad, assorted veggies, onion and squash, and I tried some scallops, shrimp, and noodles. After we danced around to some misión- taught people pompompom, Cupid shuffle, wobble, and Casper slide.

After that we freshened up, watched the sun set, played cards, karaoke. Then we saw our videos that a Technos student made into an entertaining broadcast and my group received candy fir having a good performance. Took a lithe bath, and before you knew it- the clock struck 11:30.

Had lots of great laughs today!!