Today we begin blog posts by a few students each day. Jenny Beller shares her observations of Tokyo’s transportation system and Sage Alpert discusses her experience visiting Meiji Shrine yesterday.
–Traveling from Asakusa to Sangubashi by subway was quite an experience. Public transportation in Tokyo is clearly different from the loud, hustling environment of Grand Central Station in New York. In Japan, everything follows a punctual schedule, and when a train is to depart at noon, it leaves at noon. It is extremely rare to have delays. The stations are also fairly quiet, as people are soft-spoken, and clean, as there is no trash haphazardly lying about, which is unheard of to a New Yorker. The Japanese follow clear rules and protocol, especially during rush hour. Platform workers are assigned to push people into cars, packing people in so there is little elbow room. The proper etiquette in this situation is to stand still and be as passive as possible, and to avoid direct eye contact. Having good hygiene and not having body odor is essential. As we got off at the Sangubashi station and walked to the Olympic Village, we were greeted with a bow at the gate, as we entered our new home.
Note: Jenny has taken a special interest in the Japanese written and spoken language. She’s added a photo of our local train station name in hiragana as well as the exit sign in the cafeteria that is written using Chinese characters.
Now, Sage’s piece….
–Today / yesterday we visited the Meiji shrine. It was so beautiful, and it was amazing to see such a huge part of Japanese culture and Shinto practices. I’m very excited to write a wish / prayer on one of the wooden tablets (ema) – I would have done it, but I was worried that I would not be able to write a heartfelt enough message. I’m looking forward to Kyoto – where I will have more opportunities to do this.