Students spent the day with their host families. The chaperones explored the sights and sounds of Tokyo. Navigating the railway system, people watching and understanding just how vertical Tokyo is was all part of today;s education.
I found myself feeling quite uncomfortable navigating the city alone when I started out yesterday afternoon, but by this evening, I felt much more at ease with the “not knowing” aspect of being in a new place. Tokyo is densely populated, some sections are very loud and the railway system and subway systems can seem like an endless maze, but, really, once the senses adjust, it is as navigable as any other city.
It is easy to get overstimulated by lights and sounds, the pulsing beat of music blaring in different areas, the visuals that feel “Time Square-like” in lots of areas, and the vertical and horizontal miles of shopping. That combined with the gardens and temples and art and landscapes are all part of the experience.
Submerged in a new culture, learning happens at every level, from the very superficial, to the deeply visceral. It’s interesting and overwhelming and so enjoyable, in a kind of dizzying rotation.
More tomorrow as we have a free part of the day and then meet up with students and host families for our farewell assembly tomorrow afternoon.
I will be giving at least a portion of my farewell speech in Japanese. Just how much remains to be seen.
Sayonara for now…