Thursday, November 16, 2017

Japanese myth and legend: Marvelous Japanese folktales

Do you like reading books? Also when you were child, did you enjoy stories? In Japan there are a bunch of folktales for children. Almost all Japanese children know the stories, because they read books. Also, some famous folktales are made into an animation and they are aired on the TV programs. Japanese folktales show the important foundations of Japanese values and traditions in an interesting way. Also they teach us a lot of meaning lessons. In this presentation, the presenter will introduce some Japanese folktales and what they show and also what we can learn from them. By understanding Japanese folktales, people will know some Japanese values and traditions.

Myths and Legends: Traditional Japanese Animal Gods

Do you know about Japanese animal gods? Japanese animal gods are messengers of the Japanese gods. Animal gods originated in the Ancient Orient and through China to Japan. Why are they important to Japanese culture? In Shintoism, Japanese gods do not show their appearance in front of humans. Because of this, animal gods tell us the message instead of Japanese gods because they are believed to have close relationship with the gods. At first, the animal gods were placed at the Imperial Court in Heian period, around 800 A.D. After that, they began to protect Japanese shrines. Today, they are still placed at Japanese Shrines. There are many kinds of animal gods in Japan. This presentation will explain their history and about two fascinating animal gods.

Japanese Gods and Their Mythical Stories

Have you ever heard of Japanese gods and their mythical stories? Japanese myths are wonderful stories comparable to Greek mythology and the Norse mythology. Japanese myths not only tell a story but also hide a message. There are many lessons to learn from Japanese myths. Because of this, it is enjoyable to study various mythical stories. Also, the stories were handed down to modern people today. Some of the stories are shared in shrines and some of the gods are characters in popular games. There are countless gods in Japan with many stories, so maybe you can share the same feelings as some of them. Japanese gods and their mythical stories are interesting and important for understanding the beginning of Japan.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Historical Tea Room, Konnichi-an

Do you know much about the Japanese tea ceremony? In this presentation, I will tell you about the origin and history of tea ceremony. Actually, tea ceremony divides into three types, such as Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushanokoji-senke. I will focus on and introduce the origin of Urasenke and its first tea room: Konnichi-an. This famous and historical tea ceremony room was built by Sen Sotan and this tea room has unique design. I will discuss the architecture and the unique interior design for tea ceremony customs. Konnichi-an spread common cultural tea ceremony practices throughout Japan. Today, many customs originate from Konnichi-an. My presentation will talk about the history and customs of Konnichi-an. I hope you will enjoy.

Historical Onsen: Kinosaki Onsen

Have you ever been to an onsen? Do you know about Kinosaki Onsen? Onsen means hot springs in English. I think almost all of foreigners come up with shrines, temples, or castles when they think about the famous places in Japan. However, Japan has more awesome places besides these. In the past four years, the number of foreigners who came to Kinosaki Onsen increased thirty times because it appeared on the Michelin Green Guide Japan. As you can see, this famous place is becoming more and more popular for not only Japanese but also foreigners. They come here to relax and enjoy Japanese history. This location is now one of the famous hot springs in Japan. Kinosaki Onsen has a long history, many special features and effects, and important rules to keep Japanese traditions.

Spectacular Cherry blossoms Attraction: Yoshino-zan

What is your image of cherry blossoms? Cherry blossoms are surprisingly beautiful flowers. You can see cherry blossoms all over the world today. There are over 600 kinds of cherry blossoms in Japan. The Japanese word for "cherry blossom" is "sakura". SA means god of rice field, and KURA means pedestal. The Japanese thought the goddess of the rice field came down from a mountain. That's why they congratulated the goddess by offering her food and alcohol at a shrine where there were cherry blossom trees. Because of this celebration, there seems to be something appealing to the heart also in the small cherry blossoms. Japanese people treasure special food, drink, and festivals during cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms are loved by many people. I hope you enjoy learning about the celebration and happiness of cherry blossoms throughout Japan.

The Amazing Tokyo Olympic Stadium

Do you know what will happen in Japan in the year 2020? This will be the Olympic year in Tokyo. The first Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Each country to host the Olympics since then has had awesome goals and dreams for the Olympic athletes and stadium. Among them, the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo has an interesting historical account and many important qualities. The 1964 Olympics was when the first Olympic stadium in Asia was built. The reason why Japan hosted the Olympics in 1964 is because they hoped it would made a recovery after the wer. During this time, Japan built a main stadium called the National Stadium. For the 2020 Olympics, Japan is building a new stadium at the same location in Tokyo. In this presentation, I will teach you about the history and significance of the old Olympic Stadium and about the new Tokyo Olympic Stadium. I hope you learn new facts about the amazing Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

Japanese Magnificent Shrines and Temples

Do you know about Japanese shrines and temples? These both have fabulous and old Japanese architecture. Millions of people including tourists visit the Shrines and Temples in Japan. There are differences between shrines and temples. For example, they can have different religions, gates, and so on. In addition, there are similarities, such as Chozuya (an area for washing hands and cleansing the mouth) and offertory boxes. It’s interesting, isn’t it? This presentation will explain Japanese shrines and temples deeply using two great examples. You will learn that shrines and temples are loved by Japanese people because of their historical importance and beautiful architectural design.

The Legendary Himeji Castle

 What do you know about Himeji castle? Now, there are only twelve Japanese castles considered original castles that survived with an intact main tower. In the old days, there were more than 25,000 castles in Japan. Japanese castles were built strategically in places considered easy to defend from upheaval. Why is Himeji castle especially famous among a number of castles? Himeji castle is totally different from other castles because of history, appearance, and design. It shows aesthetic expression of Japan and characterizes the city of Himeji. It is a time capsule of Japanese history and drama. I promise that your view of Himeji castle will be completely changed after the presentation.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Superb Southwest Trip

I had a wonderful time taking a trip to the Southwest by an airplane on October 9 to 15 with students who are studying abroad together for four months. I visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon to learn about the history and culture of the Southwest. It was my first time to go to such an amazing area. I actually have visited this area before so I was looking forward to going there again. There were three things that I enjoyed most on the trip.
Beautiful Santa Fe
First of all, the Plaza in Santa Fe was fabulous. I spent 2 days in Santa Fe so I was able to look around at everything. One of my goals was to communicate with Native people from Santa Fe because I am studying English. Surprisingly, before I went on this trip, I had thought anyone could sell jewelry in this area.  Although, only Native American can sell it. It is very traditional. I talked with a man who sells a lot of gorgeous jewelry about history of turquoise and stone. He talked me using easy English so I enjoyed it. I actually have been to Santa Fe 2 years ago. I was able to open a different angle compared with 2 years ago. I could not buy anything before, but I was able to get souvenirs and was really satisfied with everything this time. The cost of the jewelry was not expensive but reasonable. I hope I go to Santa Fe again. 

Second, in Santa Fe. I especially enjoyed Georgia O'keeffe museum. It is not such a big museum.  I couldn't wait to go. My teacher taught us about her before going on the trip in there. I like Georgia O'keeffe art. We used an app and saw her picture. If there was something I didn't know, I could press the rewind button and stop. It was very useful. I mainly like her pelvis series, red with yellow in 1945 because it represents sky. The sky is blue or white for our image. However, she painted orange and yellow. I was amazingly surprised. I took notes, While the guide explained people in the tour. You can see her pencil trace. After the tour guide spoke, I checked her information quickly. I was able to find the information. I also got goosebumps. It was really great. I will not be able to have insight like her.  I felt Santa Fe is a historical and artistic city. 

imaginative Georgia O'keeffe art 
Third, the Grand Canyon was awesome canyon. When I arrived at there, I could not believe the situation.  I wondered if this was the real Grand Canyon. The area was extremely huge so I rode a bicycle for the first 5 hours with some friends. When I researched the Grand Canyon on the Internet, it said to use a bicycle is the best way. Moreover, one of my hobbies is riding a bicycle so I was looking forward to riding it. I was very glad because there is a lot of nature and beautiful views. We had planned to go to Yaki point which is the best place to view the whole Grand Canyon. It usually takes about 30 minutes. Although, we stopped by many spots and took about an hour. As I expected it was surprisingly beautiful. I took about 50 pictures. These pictures are incredibly magnificent as if seeing real pictures. I spent all day at the Grand Canyon so I was able to see the sunrise. I cannot express how huge and considerable the sunrise is. I understood very much why everyone said you should go.

Amazingly The Grand CanyonTo sum up, compared with others states, south west is completely different. This is the first time for me to go many countries for a weak. I felt like it was only 3 days. I had the best excellent experience ever in my life.  My highlight is mostly the Grand Canyon. I will visit there one more time absolutely. It still inspires me so I will never forget this awesome memory.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Fabulous Southwest Trip

I had a wonderful time with all the extension students during the Southwest trip! I experienced a lot of things that I had never done before, such as talking with New Mexico college students, watching the Balloon Festival, enjoying Santa Fe, and going to see the sunrise and sunset at the Grand canyon. I had the best memories though this trip. In addition, there were three fabulous memories that I enjoyed most on the trip.

Wonderful view at the Grand Canyon
Have you ever seen such a beautiful view? I visited this admirable place at the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a wonderful place. We went there by bus to see the fabulous view. I couldn't go all over the Grand Canyon because it is huge and wide, but there were many bus stations so I went around the many stations. Everyplace has breathtaking and beautiful scenery. I tried to take pictures many times but each place was more beautiful when seen with the naked eye. So I imprinted these fabulous views in my mind. I was most surprised that the Grand Canyon is more deep and scary than I thought, because some locations don't have a protective rail and have sand and stones a lot on the ground. So I thought I was sliding down. I was so happy to go to the Grand Canyon.

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Fabulous architecture at Santa Fe

Second, Santa Fe had gorgeous
architecture and many fabulous sightseeing places and shops. Santa Fe's architecture is very stylish, so it is a picturesque place. I had a great time chatting with people and eating lunch with my friends at a great restaurant. This restaurant is recommended by excellent trip advisers. Moreover, this restaurant is on the second floor and has terrace tables. I thought that I was able to overlook the city during lunch so I wanted to sit down at an outside table. But it was full so I sat down inside the restaurant. I ordered a hamburger which was delicious. Because the food was delicious, I went to this restaurant again for dinner.

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Amazing the Ballon Festiva
Third, I want to share about the Balloon Festival because I was deeply moved by it. I have never seen a festival like this, so It touched my heart. I woke up at 4a.m.  The early morning sky was very beautiful because there were many bright stars. Furthermore, when they blew up the balloons, it was also beautiful because they used fire to blow up the balloons. Many people gathered at one place. There was a Coca Cola balloon. The Coca Cola staff wore costumes like clown's clothes. I had a fabulous experience at the balloon festival seeing the beautiful and large balloons.

To sum up, I made many fabulous memories with my friends and my teachers on the Southwest trip. The reason why I enjoyed the trip was because almost all these experiences were a first time for me. For example I went to see the Grand Canyon. Moreover I learned about the traditions and cultures in Santa Fe and I was able to see the Balloon Festival. I will never forget this trip! Additionally, I spent valuable time on the Southwest trip, and I would like to go there again, someday.

My Wonderful Time at Grand Canyon

Have you ever been to the South West? This is my first time to go there. I had a very good time on this trip. I saw many admirable views such as a sunset, sunrise, and daytime view and so on. I could wonderful experiences at Grand Canyon. I tell you about my wonderful South West trip. My memories at the Grand Canyon are awesome.

The Grand Canyon View
First, we went to see the marvelous sunset at the Mother Point at the Grand Canyon. There were many people, especially there were many Japanese there. When I saw them at first, I was surprised because I didn’t think there were many Japanese at the Grand Canyon. The view of the sunset was marvelous. I took a lot of pictures and also a lot of other people took pictures too. I took pictures with friends. We took a group picture and it is one of my precious treasures. The sky was pink and blue, so it was great and gorgeous. I had never seen such a beautiful sky. It made me speechless. Of course, when I saw the sun set down, it was mystic. I could see the best sunset in my life.

Second, I saw the fabulous sunrise at the Grand Canyon. It was my first time to see the sunrise. The scenery was also gorgeous. However, it was so early in the morning, about 6 a.m., so it was very cold. I regret that I didn’t bring my down jacket. I just stood on the rock and I saw the scenery. Some people like to take pictures, so I depended on them. I think it was my first and last time to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, so I had an extremely precious experience. When I saw the scenery, I thought the nature was important for us. Without nature, we can’t live. I was impressed by the view of sunrise.

The Sunset view
Third, I did a cycling trip at the Grand Canyon and this experience made one of my precious memories. It was very hard for me to cycle because I didn’t do exercise at all before. However, I didn’t regret cycling. There were many slopes there, so I felt really tired. Also during cycling, I had already muscle soreness because I seldom do exercise in Japan. However, the view was really really awesome, so it didn’t matter. I can’t believe I was at Grand Canyon. We took a lot of pictures there and these pictures are my treasure.

In short, my experiences at the Grand Canyon were essential. I was really happy to have decided to join the extension. If I didn’t come to America again, I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Grand Canyon. I really wanted to see it, so I enjoyed the trip. This trip is one of my best memories in my life. I won’t forget it forever.

My Unforgettable Memory in the Southwest

Do you know what the Southwest is like? Have you been there? From October 9th to October 14th, we extension students went to the Southwest to learn their cultures, traditions and so on, and I had an awesome time. Why? In the Southwest they have unique cultures and traditions. The architecture of the Southwest, Montezuma Castle and the Grand Canyon were, especially, totally interesting and impressive to me.

Fascinating architecture
First, the architecture of the Southwest was really fascinating. In Santa Fe, the architecture is very different. Houses and buildings were made of Adobe bricks which is a kind of clay used as building material and it looks quadrangle but the corners of the house and buildings were curved. When I saw that architecture for the first time, I was so surprised because I have never seen such houses, and although it looks heavy, the windows and doors were not broken for long time. In addition almost all houses in Santa Fe have such a unique style, so they looks stunning. I want to see them again.

Amazing Montezuma Castle
Second, the Montezuma Castle in Arizona was amazing. Until I saw it, I thought castles were very huge and looked gorgeous like Japanese ones and European ones. However, what I saw was totally different from what I expected. The castle is set into the cliff about 80 feet up from the base, so I could not believe that actually people lived in that house. I think it was already hard to carve the houses in the cliff but it was built in a very high place. I heard the interesting reasons they built their castle in such a place. They were to protect themselves from enemies and from floods, and also to use all land for farming. It was built in the early 1100s by the Sinagua which is one of the tribe names. I was surprised they made magnificent houses despite so long ago. That is why I thought it was absolutely interesting that people lived in the cliff so many years ago. I am glad to learn such an awesome history.

Awesome Grand Canyon
Third, the Grand canyon made me really speechless. I was really impressed the scenery. It was magnificent and stunning, so I will never forget the scenery. We could see the stratums and many animals. I was overwhelmed by the greatness of the nature of the Grand Canyon. I went cycling for about five hours. It was the nice weather so I felt comfortable. Almost all the time I watched the scenery while I rode the bicycle but I was never tired of it. It was completely awesome especially the sunrise and sunset, Grand canyon was getting red and it was incredibly beautiful. I will never forget it.

To sum up, these three things, the architecture, Montezuma Castle and Grand canyon were amazingly wonderful. I am glad to learn many interesting cultures, traditions and so on from the Southwest. There are a lot of differences and their cultures traditions and histories were absolutely unique. This trip was an unforgettable memory for me and I want to learn about other culture and also I want to go there again someday.