Back from glorious Japan

We had a wonderful trip to Japan thanks in large part to Yuji Sasaki who kept us on schedule during the two weeks.

We had a wonderful trip to Japan thanks in large part to Yuji Sasaki who kept us on schedule during the two weeks.


My days have been long, as I would prefer them to be. I have been filling every moment of this journey with as much Japanese culture as is possible. Last weekend an last week was AMAZING. Every day is an adventure. The resort Lindsay mentioned exceeded expectations.


One of the first few things I want to note was the uncertainty everyone had about delving into the hot springs. Most students, from Technos college and from elsewhere internationally, had never been to a hot spring before-not even an artificial one. After day one though, everyone I’d spoken to had developed a great appreciation for the natural hot springs Mido No Mura had to offer. My muscles felt a sort of relaxation I’d never known of before. One of the days we spent at the resort we spent playing American and Japanese sports… multiple times throughout that day I thought to myself… “I am playing this game in Japan.” The awareness alone brought about a soothing sense of fulfillment. One of the sports we played there was one I’m certain you are all familiar with… Volleyball… My team took first in the volleyball tournament ūüėČ It was a lovely time.

We visited the highest mountain in Japan called Mount Fuji towards the end of the week last week. It has such a rich history.Image

This is one of the stops near the height of the mountain. It has been there for decades. It had various items with sacred ideals attached to them such as… A bell. Keeping the bell given out at Mount Fuji is said to make you capable to living 100 years. I can’t wait to talk to everyone who trekked to Mount Fuji with us at the turn of the next century about how pleasing Mount Fuji was.


Two nights ago we went to Shibuya. There is not one student that I have encountered on this trip that does not feel compelled to immerse themselves into the various shopping districts in and around Tokyo.Image

At Shibuya Station stands this statue… Image


This is a dog who would meet his owner every night at the Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo, Jaoan. One day, his owner did not appear at the train station one night because he was no longer living. Hachiko returned to the train station at the exact time his owner would ordinarily arrive every day for the next nine years straight. This is not fictitious. This is a truthful story of a kind of loyalty ordinarily only emulated in dreams.

I doubt my loyalty can compare… especially considering the fact that although I have been a resident of the United States my entire life, I have already been attempting to devise a way to escape back to Tokyo for the past few days. Await my next transmission for further details.

Three full days of sightseeing!

After a wonderful weekend which included a Giants win in the Tokyo Dome and a fascinating¬†Kabuki show, the faculty are being treated to three days of sightseeing while the students are busy with the Technos students.¬†We have visited lovely shrines, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, and the Sky Tree — one of the highest structures in the world.¬† The highlight of today’s Tokyo tour was a chance to try glass blowing.

In between activities, the faculty have discovered many great Japanese restaurants.  I have tried a large variety of new foods.  The fried eels were pretty good but I have to admit I could not finish the sea urchin sushi.

I will sign off and get to bed so I can be ready for another full day tomorrow including Koutoku-in Temple and the Big Buddha Statue.


Ready for the Weekend!

We are back from our trip to the Japanese countryside–it was an absolute blast! We not only enjoyed hot springs and the mountains, but good food and great friends. The few days were filled with both Japanese and American sports, and the nights were filled with awesome karaoke songs performed in many different languages. There were 7 girls in my room and in total we represented Japan, the U.S., England, and Taiwan; it was an incredible chance to learn from each other. It truly felt that the language barriers disappeared and we were just 7 friends enjoying a slumber party!

Last night we ate a wonderful BBQ with everybody and had fireworks! One of the best moments of the trip so far was playing with sparklers with all my new friends. I have learned that some experiences definitely transcend cultural differences.


Today we went to the Edo theme park, which celebrates the traditional culture of Japan. Many women wore traditional kimonos and there was even a beautiful woman in a parade who was dressed as a geisha–incredible! I saw an interesting short play performed in Japanese; although it was confusing, it was very enjoyable. We also saw a performance celebrating the “way of the ninja.” The men acting as ninjas were so talented and had the audience in awe. I bought many souvenirs for my family and some for myself!


Tomorrow the students get some free time, but we definitely won’t be relaxing! We are getting an early start tomorrow and heading to Akihabara. I am so excited to head out with all of my new friends from Japan and the other students participating in International Week.

More updates soon!


Just returned from Midori no Mura

We just returned to Tokyo from Midori no Mura, a hot springs retreat in the mountains near Mt. Fuji. We spent two and a half days in the region and packed many sights and activities into that time.¬† We visited Mt.Fuji, learned how to make Soba noodles, and inspected an ancient castle. We also spent time in the hot springs and in playing games with our Japanese hosts. My volleyball team lost but we were competitive. The differences between the Japanese dodgeball and American dodgeball matches were striking — the Japanese game has more strategy and team work while the American game relies on force. This morning we explored a replica village from the 1500 and saw a Samari fighting demonstration.¬† The students are getting along wonderfully with both the Japanese students and the students from other colleges–they appear to be making lifelong friends. This weekend we have some free time so I had better practice my singing for another round of faculty Karaoke.




I’ve grown accustomed to hearing this uttered on a constant basis due to the plethora of discoveries that Technos International Week visitors and Technos students have been making together. Although it takes many of us some time to understand one another because of our different cultural backgrounds, we all share one particular blissful feeling when we come to the realization that our message has been received and a conversation is proceeding. It’s so interesting to see the vast differences in customs and and habits that govern our lives and the similarities that can still be seen amongst them. Just last night I was speaking to my roommate about how while talking to some of the Japanese Technos students he would sometimes not know how to word questions of music in an easily decipherable way. He would then resort to simply mentioning the names of some American musicians he listened to and be amazed when they were familiar with names that the average American may not even be aware existed.

The introduction ceremony was extraordinary. All of the international students were so nervous as they were waiting in the wings to go out onto the red carpet and into the huge crowd. Our faces and school’s were about to be seen on a huge jumbo tron. As I looked out through the windows though, heard the music blasting and Technos dancing, it was quite clear that they were having fun. Why not relax and have some fun with them?



After we ran down the red carpet jumping and screaming we proceeded up the stairs. I saw a lot of the Technos international students standing off to the side. I began to walk toward them but I was instantly swarmed by a group of friends asking for pictures. This continued for about 15 more minutes. When one person would take a picture, their ask for one… then their friends… and so on. It was surprising, but it was fun =). I met quite a few really cool people that day… Including… Tiger San


Although we can barely understand each other when we talk. We both like to have fun and be goofy so we always end up laughing. He came to dinner with us a couple of nights ago. There was a huge pitcher of orange juice on a table at one point that people were using to pour themselves drinks. He raised the end of the pitcher to his lips, drank a few big gulps, set it back down on the table and said, “Enjoy!”. LOL. That is the funniest thing I have ever seen anyone do at a dinner table.

I wonder if he is going to the mountains with us today… I suppose I will find out soon… The thought reminds me that I really need to get ready to leave. I’ll try to update again as soon as I have time. We try to fill our days as much as we can because we all just love to explore and experience every aspect of Japan whenever we have the opportunity to. Time for me to prepare myself for my next voyage of exploration. I hope you are all well, and I will speak with you soon.



Wonderful Welcome and Gracious Hosts

After the wonderful welcome Lindsay described, the visiting faculty members officially met the Technos faculty.  They treated us to a traditional eight course Japanese meal and we compared teaching experiences.  Everyone is so gracious.  The first day was amazing РI cannot imagine what the rest of the two weeks will entail.


Welcome Ceremony

Today was the welcome ceremony at Technos College. It is hard to describe how exciting and crazy this ceremony was!! We were greeted with a red carpet, upbeat music, and a crowd of cheering students waving flags! Everybody was welcoming, friendly, and happy to meet us and help us. Professor Kasson tried to videotape this ceremony, so hopefully she will be able to upload it soon.

After the ceremony, the Technos students and the representatives from all the different colleges celebrated with a party. This party was especially important because Dr. Tanaka, the man behind the Technos trip, gave an beautiful speech on the purpose of such educational exchanges. His speech reminded us that although seeing the sights of Tokyo is exciting, the most exciting part about the Technos experience is building relationships and helping one another to gain new perspectives. Establishing this international dialogue is critical to peace and understanding, and I am so happy to be learning from the wonderful students of Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, and England.

After the party, we split up into groups to visit a shrine and go shopping. The shrine was beautiful and luckily I met many friends from Technos who were nice enough to translate the history of the shrine into English for me. It is clear that Japan has such a rich history that I cannot wait to learn more about.

All the students met up again for dinner and we ate a delicious Japanese meal! My new friends helped me learn to use chopsticks and sincerely cheered when my attempts resulted with my eating a bite of food.

Finally, we all went back to the hotel. From there, we decided to explore the streets surrounding our hotel. We found several convenient stores still opened and happily explored the aisles. I ended up buying maybe types of sweets that I have not tried before and cannot wait to eat some before bed. Tomorrow is another busy!

I would say the highlight of the first day was meeting my new friends, including a lovely girl named Emu, who arrived to pick us up at the airport. It is amazing how close everybody has become in such a short amount of time. The highlight of the second day was probably becoming closer to the other student representatives, and of course…the welcome ceremony! Technos truly treated us like royalty and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Meeting Dr. Tanaka was another inspirational moment.

I apologize for the lack of pictures–once I find a place with WiFi I will be able to upload some from my phone. Stephen has been taking photos, so I’m sure he will upload some in his next post! Can’t wait to update you all soon!!


First Night in Tokyo

We made it to Japan!!!

The flight from Chicago was incredibly long but we have finally arrived and the experience is amazing so far. The other students are very friendly and it is clear that Stephen and I will have a great time with them in the coming two weeks. I cannot wait to visit Technos College for the first time tomorrow and meet all of the students there. McKendree University received a warm welcome from representatives of the college at the airport today–we could not have asked for a better way to begin our experience in Tokyo!

I am exhausted and unfortunately having issues with my laptop, so I am going to go rest up for a big day tomorrow (the welcome ceremony)! Stephen, Professor Kasson, and I will continue to keep everybody updated.


My Last Night in STL

Hello all,

I cannot believe that (very early) tomorrow morning our journey will be officially underway! My bags are almost packed and now I’m just counting down the hours until I leave for the airport. Although some terrible storms are tearing through the area, I have faith that the currently closed airport will be reopened by our 7:15 flight. Hopefully the weather will clear up and the airport will soon be functioning!

One of the last things I have to pack is my Bogey the Bearcat. I’m sure Stephen, Professor Kasson, Bogey, and myself will have such a memorable time in Japan! Bogey and I bid our last farewells to McKendree before we travel to Tokyo:


The next time I update you will be from Japan–I look forward to sharing my experiences with you!

Go Bearcats!

Previous Older Entries