Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fukushima City and Minamisoma

On Sunday I packed my bag and left my lovely room at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo. It was finally time to head for our host cities! As you know, I was selected to go to the prefecture (state) of Fukushima. (If you want to learn more about Fukushima or any of the other cities I have visited be sure to visit my Japan Page and click on the Destinations button.)

There are 15 other teachers and administrators (principals and superintendents) in my group. We are so lucky to have a wonderful group leader named Megumi and an excellent translator named Mariko. They make it possible for us to communicate (speak) with people who only speak Japanese since we only speak English. They are teaching us so much about Japan and the Japanese culture. We are so thankful to have them guiding us along on this journey.

Our first stop was Fukushima City, the third largest city in the prefecture. In order to get to Fukushima, which is north of Tokyo, we traveled by bullet train. The train received this nickname because it speeds so quickly it looks like a bullet flying through the air! I enjoyed looking out the windows and seeing the homes, businesses, land, and cars. I learned so much about Japan during our train ride.

When we arrived in Fukushima City we checked into the hotel and then headed straight to the local art museum. I was surprised to see a Claude Monet painting on display. Also, there was a terrific special exhibition of Japanese textiles. They were absolutely beautiful!

The next morning we headed to Fukushima University. We had a chance to speak with the college professors and administrators. We learned about how their college teaches students to become teachers in Japan. First year college students who want to become teachers plan and run a special summer camp for Japanese students. Do you think that this sounds like a good idea? Please tell me your opinion.

Then, we jumped back on the bus and drove an hour and a half through the countryside to Minamisoma. We were greeted at the mayor’s office. We also met with the superintendent and the board of education. Press was present and took our pictures. We were featured in two local papers the next day! I have a copy that I will bring home and share with you.

I am SO EXCITED. Tomorrow I begin visiting schools. It is the moment I have been waiting for since I learned I was to be a part of the JFMF program! I can not wait to share with you what I observe and learn!


Anonymous said...

hi miss vecchione how is the wether ther is it sunny,chilly your friend gabi z

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am so jealous. I never got to ride the bullet train! How fast did it go? Second, I think working in a summer camp is a great way to get to know about children. Is the camp a sleep-away camp or a day camp?
I am eager to hear about your visit to schools. Send us pictures of the lunch. Do the children still serve their classmates? Do you think we should adopt this procedure at Lincoln School? I am eager to read your next blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Vecchione,
It sounds like you are having a wonderful trip. We will be looking forward to learning about what school is like in Japan, especially after the lesson that you taught our class before you left.
Mrs. Macken's Class

Miss Vecchione said...

There is more than one type of bullet train so I will need to do a little research and get back to you on the train's speed. We had reserved seats in a nice car with a good a deal of leg room. When we take the train back to Tokyo I will try to get more information for you.

I think that it might be fun to try things the Japanese way for a day. What do you think? I think that there is a great deal that students and teachers could learn about caring for their community of learning through this type of experience...we'll have to talk when about some possibilities when I am back in the USA!

Miss Vecchione said...

The camp is a sleep away camp. The students are there for no more than than a week, but I'm not sure that they told us exactly how many days. They spend many months planning for the camp!

Miss Vecchione said...

The weather in Japan has been a lot like New Jersey. In Tokyo it was a little warmer than it is in Fukushima or Minamisoma. It rained the first day I was in Japan but has been sunny or partly cloudy since then. I think right now is slightly colder in NJ than it is here.

Miss Vecchione said...

The weather in Japan is like the weather in NJ. Japan also has four seasons and right now fall has arrived. It has gotten cooler outside, but perhaps not as cold as NJ. It rained the first day my plane landed but it has not really rained since then.

Brendan said...

Hi, it is Brendan. How was it on a bullet train? Can you take a picture of a bus? Is Tokyo like San Fransisco?