Update from Japan

Alicia Garcia

Andrea Green, Gretchen Lee and Kryatal Gopaul, are our three Food and nutrition students studying in Japan this summer at Wayo Women’s University in Chiba. They were accompanied by Alicia Garcia, head of Brescia’s Food and Nutritional Sciences program. The four women have been in Japan for almost two months now and are adjusting well to their new settings. Here’s an update from Alicia:


Professors Ikuko and Reiko have kept us very busy so far at Wayo, attending their classes and participating in their activities.  Yesterday, we were in the food lab to prepare a meal: fresh mackerel boiled in ginger and miso (soybean) paste (they asked me if I would gut and cut the fish, which I did like an expert they said), boiled rice and peas, boiled vegetables (carrots, Chinese cabbage, white gelatin from seaweed) and mashed tofu, steamed sticky rice flour with green tea powder and dried apricot and chestnuts in syrup.  After cooking, we arranged the food nicely in individual bowls for each food and ate it with chopsticks and had green tea as beverage.  In the afternoon, we attended a public health nutrition class where we participated in the data analysis of a survey that the students generated.

 Today, the university had photographers following us in classes (taking pictures to use as part of their promo materials for this exchange program).  In the first class, we prepared and colored paper nutrition education materials (shaped like an ‘origami’ when folded and have three hexagons of different foods from their food guide) and they showed us how the students cut up cloth scraps and make food models out of patterns for the ‘obento’ (lunch box).  Andrea and Gretchen loved the hands on work.  In the clinical nutrition class, students were doing a demo on nutrtion counselling and they were using food models similar to ours. 

 The highlight of our afternoon was the 30-minute tea ceremony where we had a geisha mistress directing members of the ‘tea ceremony club’ in showing us how the green tea ‘macha’ is made (in ancient past) and serving it to us with all the flourish of bowing, gesturing and hand placements that we had to follow. Previous to the tea drinking, we were served in a napkin a sticky rice ‘moshi’ with purple-colored gelatin on top that we had to eat with one very short flat bamboo chopstick. Really quite an interesting ceremony and the geisha said that it is one thing we are lucky to have experienced once in our life!


Stay tuned for more updates from Japan!