By Henry, Participant of Session 2, from Norway
Today might be one of the most exciting and tiring days so far in session 2. It started off with us visiting the most known part of Isehara, Mt. Oyama. I decided to make the smart choice and take the cable car to the shrine we were visiting, Oyama Afuri, rather than taking the 45-minute hike up the mountain in the 30+ degree weather (While we were waiting for the ones who chose to hike, we got ice cream, but we were told to keep that a secret to prevent them from getting jealous, so shhh). At the shrine, we got to experience a Shinto ceremony, and we learnt a lot about Shintoism and the history of the shrines on Mt. Oyama. For lunch we stopped at a ryokan not too far from the Oyama cable car, where we got served tofu prepared in a vast variety of ways. I’m not usually a massive fan of tofu, but the expertise and variety made the dish an experience, and a delicious one at that.
After our excursion to Oyama, we went to city hall, where we met with city officials. Together we watched two of our counsellors give presentations on the livability of cities in the Netherlands and Joensuu, a city in Finland. The most interesting part of the visit however, was after the presentations, when we got split into groups and got to properly introduce ourselves to some of the city officials. We were all a bit shy at first, but quickly opened up to each other, before we all shared what our favorite aspect of our own cities were. We participants got to learn about Isehara, and the city officials got ideas on how to improve the livability of a city from all around the world.
At the end of the day, we got to try out replicas of samurai armor. This was the highlight of the day in my opinion. With a katana being part of the outfit, we got some absolutely amazing photos, and some great laughs with friends as we did cool and silly poses. It was a chill and fun way to cap off a great first activity day in a new city.