Although I’ve been back from Japan for almost a month, I hadn’t really shared photos yet, so here goes!
My trip to Japan was as a chaperone for my son’s eighth grade “Research Residency” class trip. The students had to survey 50 Japanese people, as well as conduct a number of videotaped in-depth interviews. Keep in mind, this was all in Japanese, and it was in addition to daily school assignments.
The first leg of our trip was to Hiroshima. We were honored to attend a talk from atomic bomb survivor Kejiro Matsushima, whose teenage life was forever changed on August 6, 1945. His harrowing, yet uplifting speech was unbearably moving. Sitting in his classroom, he clearly remembers The Enola Gay flying over the city. His words to describe the plane were “It looked like ice candy to this hungry boy. Who knew they were messengers from hell.”
I had really looked forward to trying all the local cuisine. Some foods were utterly heavenly. Others, less so. Japanese people seem to really like hot dogs, which appear to be served as breakfast food. I snapped this picture in a bakery case. Umm . . . no thank you.
And the most bizarre food I encountered was hot dog sushi. Apparently a favorite of Kyoko, my host family sister. Again, no thank you.
I did politely eat everything that was put in front of me, with an “Arigato gozaimasu” and a “Gochisosama deshita.”
Clotheslines were everywhere!
When everyone has a clothesline, it makes sense to have fun with it. And while I’m no fan of plastic, these rainbow-hued clothespins tickled my fancy.
One element of Japanese culture that surprised me was how utterly entertaining their advertising is. Bright and fun, I enjoyed the ever present commercials on my host family’s television. I have no idea what this commercial was for, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
This commercial speaks for itself.
It was hard being functionally illiterate. I wanted to independently wash my own clothing, but could not even begin to figure out what buttons to push.
Thank goodness the bathroom signs at the zoo were . . .
I liked these mesh soap holders from a middle school that we visited. I love the simplicity of design that uses up every last sliver from a bar of soap. Also, bar soap uses so much less packaging than liquid soap, as well as being less costly to ship. I could *totally* make one of these from some spare wire and mesh.
This poster on appropriate school dress was up at the middle school. I find it interesting that the “What Not to Wear” boy is wrinkled and dirty, while the girl is simply slutty. There is a world of gender-role discussion here.
A large portion of the trip was spent at a “Nature House” outside of the small town of Santo. It was located at the top of a mountain, and the town was at the bottom. We rode bikes for transportation. The completely downhill portion was glorious, and the uphill part kicked my middle-aged tuchus. However, the scenery made it worth every minute! See the reusable water bottle in the basket? This last minute inclusion to my packing list was one of the best decisions ever!
Although Hemeiji Castle was under wraps for an extensive refurbishing, I couldn’t resist posing for a picture with this little cutie. Much better souvenir to pose with him than to buy any one of the million souvenirs in the gift shop.
It goes without saying that I had a fantastic time on my Japan trip. I got to see the eighth graders expertly navigate their way through a foreign country, yet still got a sizable amount of time to myself. I would love to visit again soon, but impending college costs plus my younger son’s high school trip will most likely bar any big expenses in the near future.
Sorry if the multitude of picture was overwhelming, but believe me I actually winnowed this post down!
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”
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