Posts from the ‘Communication’ Category

Shabu-Shabu

Tonight’s dinner was interesting to say the least.  After our company final company visit, our class was taken to a restaurant that was quite unique.  I guess you could say we made it ourselves.  We sat down at tables with boiling waiter in the center.  Large plates of raw pork and beef sit to the side looking as unappetizing as ever.  I could not think of anything more bizarre.  As we tossed the raw slices of meat in the water they cooked before our eyes, making a sort of stew.  After a few seconds the meal was edible and we could pick and choose what we wanted.  The most difficult part of the meal was not the food, but rather the waiters.  The language barriers kept us from receiving more water, rice and meat.  Eventually we were able to establish the most basic of hand gestures to receive or larger portions.  The mixture of steam, heat and frustration with the waiters made us happy that we only had a few days left in Japan.  Japan is great, but you need to understand the language to be able to live there for extended periods.

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Waseda University

Well, we are off to school.  Today we visited Waseda University.  Waseda University is Keio University’s rivals.  You can imagine the grief we received for visiting Keio first.  We had arranged visits with three separate classrooms.  Just by talking to the students you could tell their grade level.  The first class we visited held only freshman.  The whole meeting was very awkward as the students talked, but didn’t really communicate.  They answered the few questions that they understood, but did not say much more.  The second group was much more talkative, but the whole arrangement felt very hollow.  I received several compliments on my blue eyes and I’ll leave it at that.  The third and final group contained several grad students.  Personally, I enjoyed this group most of all, as most of the students could understand what we were saying and contribute to the conversation.  I realize that few students in our program actually speak Japanese and most of the confusion was brought on by us.  I feel that I should have taken at least one Japanese course before attempting to speak with the students at Waseda.

American Celebrities

We are celebrities in Japan.  It seems like everywhere we go, we are treated like celebs.  School children everywhere say “Hello” and want high fives.  One day in particular we were asked to give autographs.  At the shrine in Kyoto a group of school children spotted us out of the crowd.  We were swarmed with pictures.  Every kid wanted pictures with us.  Then on top of that, they had us write in their little journals and notebooks.  Thinking back on it, I hope they won’t use my signature in any illegal way.  Can you say identity theft?  No, but in all seriousness it was crazy.  I’ve never felt so popular in my life.  Even walking to Hiroshima, every kid on a field trip held out their hand to high five me.  Thinking back on it, that was a little weird considering where we were.  But I guess that’s the extent of of popularity.  They don’t care where you are, they just care that you are American.