Week Two in Japan

Take a look at Andrea Green and Gretchen Lee’s second week in Japan!

Monday was a day of cultural immersion. We visited Tsukiji fish market where we learned about Japan’s food supply. We also learned about government and politics at the National Diet Building and about religion and tradition at the Asakusa Kannon Temple. At the sky tree town and Soramachi we got to see the modern side of Tokyo which is influenced from other countries.

On Tuesday we went to Ichikawa elementary school. Here we enjoyed lunch with some grade 6 students and learned about Japan’s school lunch program. The program was implemented after World War Two with the goal of reducing the incidence of lactose intolerance. Today the program still exists and every school-aged child is provided with a hot lunch that is very reasonably priced. Through this program, the children are also taught about healthy eating.

Tuesday night for dinner Motoko Sensei treated us to an elaborate Japanese dinner at a traditional style restaurant. The chef was so kind and gave us antique Japanese dishes and Motoko-Sensei gave us some souvenirs as well. Japanese people are so kind and generous!

On Wednesday morning, we joined Kistler-sensei’s English class to participate in group discussions with Japanese students. The students were curious about topics such as fashion, dating, and tattoos in North America. We also learned a lot about the Japanese views on pop culture. After lunch, Andrea and Gretchen went with Izumi-san, Saki-san, and Satomi-san to Shibuya and Harajuku in Tokyo for some sight-seeing. Tokyo is full of tall buildings, shops, and people – just like how we imagined Japan to be!

Thursday morning was spent at a nutrition education class (known as shokuiku). We completed a food group crossword designed for children. In the afternoon, members from the Japanese dairy board came to do a bone mass check and to promote the consumption of 3 dairy servings per day. The students also prepared a health fair with nutrition education, physical activity promotion through pedometer rentals, and education about blood pressure through a pediatrician.

On Friday we observed students participate in a recipe standardizing lab. We tasted the food that they prepared and filled out a response sheet. It was delicious!

 On the weekend Andrea learned a lot about Japanese religion and culture. On Saturday she went with her host family to take the new family car to the temple. It is tradition in Japan that when you buy a new car to take it to the temple to ward off any evil spirits. For dinner Saturday night we had Basashi (raw horse meat). On Sunday Andrea’s host family took her to Kamakura to see a beautiful temple and a shrine. We also saw the Great Buddha which is a very large Buddha statue that was built in 1252. 

Gretchen spent Saturday morning and afternoon at the busy city Shibuya to look for souvenirs. She then met up with her host family at night for a tempura dinner in Roppongi. On Sunday, she went with her host mother to the same public bath that Andrea had visited last week. It was a very culturally shocking because most people are not clothed! However the baths were very relaxing.