Today I visited the Parthenon. Not the one in Athens as you might think I’m off topic and country, but the one in Tama city, Japan. Right on top of the redbrick pedestrian lane one can see a building resembling the ancient Greek monument. For this reason the people of Tama agreed on this name thirty years ago when their culture centre was first built.
Our group was guided around the main hall where opera, ballet, music and theatrical performances are held. We also had the chance of taking a look at the backstage areas, which honestly looked like a daedalus to me… The “irony” of more Greek words…
Off to our happy free hour where we wandered around before we went to the pot luck lunch party organized by the local international partners.
And the feast eventually begins! We got a chance to mingle with Japanese people who joined the event and cooked delicacies for us.
I had an excellent discussion about World War 2, Lefkadio Hern (aka Koizomi Yakumo in Japanese) and permaculture in Japan and Greece with elder people who sometimes spoke good English and sometimes used all possible language combos and gimmicks. And it was fun seeing their wide open eyes while I was eating octopus as normally as any Greek person would… I got a few pats on my back for that, which made me feel like home and think how stereotypes about Japanese manners have nothing to do with honesty and the light heart of people.
We played traditional Japanese games together, tried calligraphy, astonished them with weird fun facts from our home countries and enjoyed their honest responses.
All in all, yeap, delicious food and good company are all you need to have a nice day. And this does not only apply for the Greeks as proven today…
Today started out pretty grand as we practiced for the Arigato Event (always fun to sing and dance) and some of the university students joined in which made it more fun. I ate Italian which was super delicious! We also got to do country presentations. I learned a lot about the other countries, like how Finland and Norway have the chance to see the Northern Lights, Greece breaks ceramic pots on a certain holiday and Chine has sweets that I have to try!
There’s a lot more, but what I would really like to mention is the performance we got to watch. Elementary School children sang for us, which was both touching and amazing – no joke, these kids won a championship. I should mention that the Mayor also came and spoke a few words to us. It was really fun and I would say more, but I feel as though this is something that everyone should experience for themselves and I don’t want to spoil too much.
We met up with the students at 10:00 am. They were more than we expected. At first we took the train to a temple, but because a delay earlier, we had to cancel this and move on to Kamakura. A little sad, because the temple looked really beautiful.
We continued our long train ride to the Buddha statue. The actual train ride was very nice, since it was very relaxed and we had time to just sit down and talk with the other students and to get to know them better. After visiting the Buddha statue we had some delicious ice cream, but then we had to head back already because the day was nearing its end.
On the way back we watched the sea as it passed by the windows of the train. It was more beautiful than we had imagined and was a good end to the day.
Today started at Keisen University in Tama, which is a women’s only University. The university was surrounded by green scenery, and a big tower in the middle had bells that were ringing and a cross over the bells. We had an introduction and got to meet some of the student in small groups. We then went to the university’s chapel, where we heard a song from Bach being played on the organ, and got to know a little about the university’s history as well. We then got a small tour around outside of the university in groups. Everything was so pretty! We gathered together and collected herbs to make tea. My group got some different lemon herbs. Our tea didn’t taste of that much, but it was still fun, and we got to know the Japanese students in our group better. We were supposed to go dance in a gymnasium after that, but didn’t have time, so we quickly put on some music, and danced Soran Bushi where we were standing. It was a little chaotic and crowded, but very fun! I love dancing kind of silly dances. We then went to the cafeteria to eat the bento our host families had made. I found out they were selling matcha ice cream there, so of course I had to buy some.
After the University we went to Tsurumaki elementary school. We played a lot of fun children’s games, trivia, calligraphy and they also sang for us. It was a very fun experience, though it was very hot and humid in the gymnasium, with so many people running around.
We ended the day with a short meeting as usually, and we also shortly practiced our country presentation for Wednesday, and talked about our plans for our personal day tomorrow. I’m going to Yokohama with a group.
All in all it has been a very busy, but fun day, where I got to talk to a lot of different people. I ended the day with a relaxing evening with my host family, eating delicious food, and of course more matcha ice cream for dessert!