Living it up in Tokyo

This post is by Trish Makovsky, a recent alum of the International Education program at GW.

Today was our independent research day here in Japan. I was feeling sleepy until I got to the metro station and was bombarded by the mass of people – it was, in fact, rush hour in Tokyo. The chaos of the experience certainly woke me up! It was a complex commute to my first appointment at a primary school, as we had to take the metro, the train, then a bus. Luckily, our fabulous guide, Aki, was with me so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost (yet).

Here is a picture of Aki - what a lifesaver!

Here is a picture of Aki – what a lifesaver!

We arrived at the school and were immediately asked to take our shoes off and put on slippers. We proceeded to the Principal’s office, where we were served green tea. We were able to speak with him, take a tour of the school, talk with a fifth grade English language class, and eat lunch with the children.

The children at this primary school were very polite and well-behaved. According to the Principal, discipline is not a primary responsibility of the teacher; it is the family's role to discipline in Japan.

The children at this primary school were very polite and well-behaved. According to the Principal, discipline is not a primary responsibility of the teacher; it is the family’s role to discipline in Japan.

When arriving at lunch, we witnessed the meals being set up. Surprisingly, the children were the ones doing the lunch preparation. There they were, dressed in their white smocks, masks and hats, dishing out the food and distributing it among each table. I have never seen such efficiency, especially in young children! They even cleaned up after lunch was over. I was impressed by how much responsibility is taken on by these children.

IMG_4833

After the primary school visit ended, I attended meetings at Waseda University and the University of Tokyo. Even after such a busy day, the group and I wanted to make our second last night in Tokyo awesome. I was able to do a lot of things that are very typical of Japan:

Eat sushi off of a conveyor belt…

IMG_4850

Go to an arcade…

IMG_4847

and sing karaoke in a private room…

008

Finally, I learned about the story of Hachiko. Hachiko was an Akita dog that met his owner at the Shibuya metro station every evening after work. One day, Hachiko’s owner never returned home – he had experienced a stoke at his workplace and passed away. The story goes that Hachiko continued to go to the Shibuya metro station to wait for his owner to return after work. This went on for ten years. Today, Hachido is a symbol to the Japanese people of loyalty and devotion. This is a true story the turned into a legend.

A statue of Hachido can be found right outside of the Shibuya metro station

A statue of Hachido can be found right outside of the Shibuya metro station

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s