Many people told me updating a blog would be hard, and you know what, those people were right. With all the hustle and bustle of school and activities I have found it quite troublesome and difficult to continuously update everyone of my status. I do apologize for the lack of communication, but rest assured I will try and write what I can with this update. Be warned, today I do want to share with everyone my happy experiences; however, I feel as if this is a topic that needs to be acknowledged by not just Japanese people but people from around the world.
These thoughts are not just from everyone, but I speak for myself when I say not everything is as happy as it seems. Did you know Japan has one of the highest suicidal rates? Check out this site for a recent article on the matter: : http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/04/national/japans-suicide-rate-exceeds-world-average-who-report/#.VEeYjIvLe1k
Why would this be happening in what seems like a fun happy country? Well, my guess is simply for one word, expectations. I learned in my Argument For Peace and Current Topics class students are expected certain life standards and morals to live by. Breaking such rules could result in a lack of job, which means you fail as a standard Japanese person. This could mean earning a decent wage, having a family, or just being an individual ‘person’. As a high school student you are expected to study day in and day out just to be accepted by your choice of university. If not, your chances of getting a job and being ‘successful’ is slim to none. What happens if you do accepted into your choice of college? Well, the chances of obtaining a job after college is also an issue. During your years as a university student you spend more time job hunting than effort involving school work. I was told students who did not find a job or internship would only have a degree yet a job itself is not easily obtained. While many students are happy I often wonder if this happiness is an honest face or just another mask. The reason why the Japanese are so nice, is this because of the country’s collectivism society or is this because of the person himself? The answer is in the eye of the beholder. I do not have my own answer to this question, but so long as my Japanese friends’ happiness is their own than that is enough to put my heart at ease. I have zero clue on the standing of people on this matter; nevertheless, I just have one frustration to let out. No matter who you were (are) or where you came from should not affect your happiness. If you feel lost or confused, take control and do something about it. I know everyone is different in his or own way, but you have the ability to think for yourself and determine your own happiness.
Putting aside the topic of the beginning half, I will move along my trip to Inuyama Castle. I typically enjoy the city life, but for me there is nothing better than living in the country side. You enjoy the smaller things in life and sometimes you could find out a task or hobby that you thoroughly enjoy without it involving electricity. Inuyama is not such a city which electricity if not available, but the scenery itself was nostalgic as it reminded me so much of Vietnam. Unfortunately the first time I went the area of the Aichi Prefecture was under a typhoon warning. However, the following week made up for the rain with a beautiful clear blue sky. Below are a couple pictures from my first trip to Inuyama:
On this very same day I was able to eat at a Kaiten sushi. What this is a restaurant with sushi on a conveyor belt. Each dish is about 1 USD so you could fill yourself up with about twenty US dollars. I tried many different ones, but apparently I only took pictures of about six of the dishes.
On my second trip to Inuyama I was able to enjoy quite a bit more of the scenery. Also, instead of just walking through the castle other students and I were given a tour and history lesson. Japan has over a thousand castles, yet there are only several hundred still standing and even few which are the original structures. Inuyama is luckily one of the few which holds its original structure, suffering only one major destruction and other minor scratches over the past three hundred years. Here are a few pictures from atop Inuyama Castle overlooking the city.
Next up on the map is the Nagano Prefecture. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip for its mountain scenery and the gorgeous weather. Lately, the Aichi Prefecture has been experiencing a series of rain and typhoon. So taking a break from the dreary rain was very much needed. I am not quite sure where the first area we went to is called, but I do recall it being a tourist area where you could see what the town was like several hundred years ago. Also, we were able to experience a lovely lunch provided by the restaurant the Chukyo University coordinators.
The entire day was filled with chances to talk with other Japanese students so I enjoyed most of the activities. Though I will say after hours of being on a bus I was excited to reach the hotel where we would spend the night. By the way, next time someone wants to climb steep mountains or go skiing you should head over to either the Gifu or Nagano Prefecture. The mountains are gorgeous and the weather is perfect for winter sports.
Finishing off the day was a lovely five course dinner provided by the staff and followed by a fun karaoke night:
Just as I thought the food supply could not get any better our coordinators surprise us with a large breakfast buffet. When I say large, I mean I do not think I have ever been so stuffed for breakfast in my eating career. Okay, my I exaggerated just a bit, but the food was absolutely fantastic. Here is what my morning consisted of:
Once breakfast was done and over with, the group headed towards the museum of Chihiro Iwasaki, a famous children’s author and artist. I was not able to take any pictures of her work, but the area itself was breathtaking and one which I will never forget.
Next up, we have the Matsumoto Castle. Most of the attraction you would like to see was located outside the castle; nonetheless, venturing into an original castle of Japan is and adventure in itself. Unlike the other castles we visited, this one was more for tourists from all over Japan. Fortunately I was able to get through the castle and get down to the ground for musket shootings and scenery viewing.
This is all I have for everyone at the moment. Hopefully I will be able to catch up on homework and balance out updates for my blog. I do want to try putting in a thought for everyone at the beginning of the post and get responses from people. I do not want to start wars or arguments, but simply gaining more knowledge is my goal. Hopefully this is a chance to learn from others, so until next time! ~~~