We are down to our last fiew hours here is Japan. Yesterday at the farewell party, everyone’s words touched my heart and singing our theme song ‘Happiness’ brought tears to my eyes. I’ve made so many friends and I know I have a couch to stay on in almost every part of the world. Once again, thank you McKendree for giving me such an opportunity and thank you to Patti Daniels and the communications dept. for helping us prepare for the trip. Thank you to my family for letting me out of your reach to have the best two weeks of my life. Thank you to Teccnos for creating this wonderful program. Last but not least, thank you Technos and international students for giving me a reason to have such a hard goodbye!
Today was our last full day in Japan. And honestly leaving the Technos students was one of the hardest things to do. After a morning of a couple classes, we gathered down in the cafeteria to say our last goodbyes, share gifts, and, basically, cry (which I wholeheartedly admit I cried multiple times). I was asked to give a speech, and I was commended graciously by nearly everybody present, including Ms. Tanaka. The emotions are all over the place tonight, and I can definitely say this is very bittersweet to write. I’ll forever be grateful to Technos, McKendree, the Tanaka family, the sister schools, and specifically the international and Technos students for giving me these memories, opportunities, and aspirations for the future. I’ll never forget my new and wonderful friends, who I consider my Japan family. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Here’s some pictures from the bridal class, the voice dubbing class, and the party:
The last couple of days have been quite the adventure! All of us on the trip have grown to be really close to each other and to the Technos students. While Chloe and Dr. Barfield were at the Japanese baseball game on Saturday, I actually ventured out into Tokyo by myself. I first stopped in Roppongi, where I found huge skyscrapers, a TV studio, a couple of gardens, and a temple. It was a unique area! I tried my hand at praying for the first time; it was very cleansing.
On the way back to the station, I actually saw Tokyo Tower in the distance!
I then ventured to Shiodome and discovered Hama-rikyu gardens right on Tokyo Bay. I only had 45 minutes to walk around. I definitely made the most of it though!
The food in Japan has been delicious and fun. Here are some of our food adventures:
Soba (buckwheat) noodles
Crepes are available all over
Today, we saw Kabuki, which is a style of traditional Japanese theater. As you can imagine, being an actor myself, I was amazed by the theater and show. I warned the other students that I may cry while watching and I certainly did tear up a bit. We may not have understood the words they were saying, but the actors’ motions and the Kabuki movements told the story very well! Now it’s time to rest up for BASEBALL tomorrow!! I wonder if the game will live up to my Cardinals at Busch Stadium ❤️
We are still having a great time and learning so many things, including a few words of the Japanese language. One word in particular captures our experiences so far—omotenashi. Roughly, this is translated as hospitality. This means not only delivering great and friendly service, but also anticipating the needs of guests/customers. Our hosts, the Technos College faculty, staff, and students have done exactly this. They have thought of everything we could possibly want in a trip to Japan. Here are some examples of the great things we’ve done:
We spent the last three days at a resort in Midori no Mura in the Nagano prefecture. We saw Mount Fuji and later had a traditional lunch at Lake Kawaguchiko. We also made Japanese cuisine, played Japanese dodge ball, sang karaoke, and much more. We visited Matsumoto Castle on our way back to Tokyo today. Here are some of favorite pictures:
It’s been one day in Japan and it’s already been an adventure of a lifetime. We woke up yesterday and made our way to breakfast. We finally got to meet the international students and professors, that is, those others visiting Technos like we are. We had really great conversation as we are our breakfast of noodles, rice, seafood, and bread. Everyone was so excited to meet us, very sweet and friendly, enjoyable to talk to, and very sympathetic of our flight delays!! Before we headed to Technos, we explored around the hotel and found some cute little shops (We all bought an umbrella at 7/11 because it was rainy all day). When we arrived at Technos, we talked with both Technos students and international students. There I met Eric from Minnesota and two Technos students studying hospitality. We then all went downstairs where each school ran outside individually, and was interviewed by the students. When Dr. Barfield, Chloe, and I ran out, they played Flash by my favorite artist Perfume and I was instantly pumped. The students of Technos all high-fived and hugged us as we ran to the interview stage. Afterwards we had our welcoming ceremony and had a delicious lunch of sushi and other Japanese delights.
We also met the rest of the Technos students, including Meia who I had the pleasure of talking to for a while. She ended up translating for these boys who were struggling to speak English with me, and we have a lot in common. We even had a conversation in Spanish! After the party, we had tons of free time. A big group of kids, including Chloe and I, ventured to Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku, where we shopped, ate, and explored the city and neighborhoods.We saw so many fantastic cites and I personally feel I’ve already made some great connections. I can already tell it’s going to be very difficult to say goodbye to Tokyo, to Technos and their students, and to our International Week friends.
As I’m sitting in my hotel room exhausted from an eventful first day, I still can’t believe I get two whole weeks of Japan! Already I’ve learned so much. Today we had the welcome ceremony at Technos College. The students there were so welcoming and happy to see us! It was fun to talk to them and let them practice their English on us.