Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 5,6 and 7 - Kyoto Adventures and brain muscles

Day 5
It's almost impossible to find time to write in this blog. I'm not going to go through the whole schedule but I'll talk about the highlighted events.

Today we basically had a very short introduction of each member and then traveled off to the Opening Ceremony at Shiran-Kaikan. We took public transportation and unlike the American opening this one was far more formal. We apparently received a message of opening written by Minister Abe himself  (delivered by someone else) but I suspect he just had someone write it for him. Afterwards we had networking and then RT time again. It's impossible to capture all the conversations and issues that are talked about so I'm thinking of opening another blog to specifically talk about the important issues we have discussed. The majority, and the focus of JASC is basically the conversations about the important political/social/economic issues we discuss anyways. At the very end of the day we had skit presentations. Our American skit that we put together in 2.5 hours was about 25 minutes long while the Japanese side had a 40 minute skit. The American version had a more...loose? plot while the Japanese clearly had a planned plot and line to follow. Either way, they were both amazing and hilarious and geezes I just love these people.

Day 6
Today we went to the Shimogamo Shrine which is a labeled as a World Heritage. We were lucky enough to witness a part of a wedding at the Shrine even though it was not wedding season. The traditional garb and procession was certainly a sight to see. In addition we also had a chance to worship and be "purified", it was a great experience. Oh, and we also encountered mosquito bites today. Nasty itching going on.

I forgot to mention that before we took a tour of the Shrine we had a chance to eat their tradition Kyoto bento. Can I just say that it was a privilege that even the Japadeles were amazed and  felt lucky too? I can't imagine how much it costs to be able to eat such traditional food at such a place. The bento was beautiful and tasted wonderful. Art in every taste.

After Shimogamo Shrine we had RT travel time, so we decided to visit the Kyoto center where the city was just bustling with people. We visited this tiny little street that contained tons of high quality restaurants and also walked along the Kamo river. The river was so well kept that kids were playing in the water. Compared to the green toxic water of rivers in Taiwan cities, the Kamo river was sparkling. I wonder how they keep it like that?

We bought dinner with our stipend and I happened to get this salmon rice roll sushi looking thing that tasted super amazing. Sigh. I want to document all the food I eat here but I think it would just make me miss it too much when I reread all this.

Day 7

So much discussing today I think my brain muscles are growing at 10x the normal rate. We went to the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto and had a quick tour before two of the staff members gave us a lecture about some environmental issues and possible solutions. He mentioned holocene and anthropocene, as well as the black mountain approach to the growing environmental issues. In addition there were also examples of ecovillages that seemed very successful but in my eyes were idealistic utopias that omit too many real factors to work. I'll probably blog about argument another time.

Afterwards we went to the Kansai Seminar House to visit the high school version of JASC known as....well I forgot the name but they are also a combination of Japadeles and Amadeles who discuss important issues. These kids are so cute and smart it just puts a smile on my face. Anyways, we split into groups and discussed with them the issues that revolve around the US military base in Okinawa.

Had dinner at the dining hall back in our dorms and boy... A simple ramen that was about $4 just tasted so good...

The remaining time slots are filled with transportation time, RT time, and food time. All of which contain the most profound discussions and debates that really is the point of this JASC trip and I just can't find the time to articulate in this blog at this moment.

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