TODAY’S THE DAY. THE SUN IS SHINING. THE SYMPOSIUM IS WAITING.
The symposium was today so we headed over to the University at about 9 am. (I’m getting really good at using the subway. I probably could get to somewhere really cool then get lost and never find my way home.) The symposium went well and we had about seven Kansai students present with us on stage. The audience really took an interest in the student responses and thoughts on our personal COIL experiences. I think our participation might have really influenced some of the other attending professors to participate in COIL themselves, which I love. I mean without COIL I wouldn’t be sitting next to Marissa on a hotel bed in Japan typing this blog post. (For the record, Marissa is only pretending to type hers next to me.)
After the presentation we took a tour of the University with some of the students in the class we worked with. The campus is so big compared to Oswego and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s winter in Japan but it’s about 50 degrees and most of the trees look like it’s fall, so the campus is full of color. We passed by students outside who were interpretive dancing in a group on the sidewalk. Also, there were students with their instruments just jamming in front of one of the buildings. Kansai has around 27,00 students. I feel like if most of the Japanese students didn’t commute like they do, the lines for the showers would take about thirty-seven years.
We left the University and headed down to the ShinSaiBashi-Suji which is an ENORMOUS outdoor shopping mall. The beginning of it looks like the Time Square of Japan. There were these Christmas lights that hung from the beginning of the street all the way down to the end. By the time we got there I was wearing these high heel dress shoes. (Let me give you some background info- I don’t wear heels. That’s enough background.) The problem was that I couldn’t buy a cheep pair of shoes to change into because most shoes come in three sizes- small, medium, and large. So it’s safe to say I bought no shoes. Also, most of the traditional Japanese clothing stores have sizes called feminine and male. It’s just one size for each. So again, I bought no clothing. But that’s okay! I bought two cool pairs of socks and a blueberry face mask. We put the face masks on and we looked like we are on our way to our Blue Man group auditions.
We went to the shopping center with Maho, Jenni, and Sofia which were three of the Kansai Students. (Maho is from Japan, Jenni is on exchange from Australia, and Sofia is on exchange from England.) I truly feel like meeting them was the entire reason COIL should be brought to other classrooms and people. You not only learn about cultures and whatnot, but it gives you the opportunity to meet and create relationships with people you would otherwise never meet. If I never took this class or participated in COIL I wouldn’t have made these friends or learned as much as I did. I’ve taken more away from this single class and this single experience than I have from anything else I have done in my entire educational career. This experience has given me such a wider perspective on the world and a better understanding of the people who live in it. Maybe it’s fair to say it didn’t give me the understanding, but really the curiosity to learn by going places to talk and ask questions. There’s so much to learn that can’t be found on google, which seems insane, but I think it’s true. I said it yesterday but I’m going say it again (because this is my blog and no one can stop me) I am so grateful for this experience. I have international friends that I can talk to and meet up with one day in the future. Or they can come to America and stay with me. If it wasn’t for COIL I would have never had the opportunity to meet these remarkable people. This semester might be finished but I think the doors and relationships that this experience has opened up to me are going to stay with me for a long, long time. I’m hopeful it will be forever.
Current face smell- Catastrophe Cosmetic Blueberry