19 March 2010

Taste of Japan: Day -1



7 hours to go until the plane takes off from Logan, and about 20 hours after, we will be in Japan for a whirlwind trip. Yes, architecture students are fortunate enough to do some traveling for our studies, and although there are such things as free trips, the work we've done to get to this point still means there are no free lunches. Ah well.

There are 10 of us, plus Debbie (our TA) and Shun (our professor), who are flying over to meet with students from Keio University and local villagers. The goal? To see our project site, talk with villagers, make a presentation, and generally soak up the atmosphere of Japan. And to take many trips to the onsen, or hot spring spa. Yes, this is our research, since our project is to design an aqueous spa and sojourner inn as a community center of sorts. No sterile labs for us!

The agenda:
  • a couple days in Kyoto
  • a few days in the Tane valley area (with many trips to the onsen = hot spring spa)
  • a whirlwind day and a half in Tokyo
Japan has been on my list of countries to visit for a while now. There's something about the architecture, sense of design, and hyper density that are awesome - and who can forget the food? Or music? Or vending machines?

One issue: I don't speak Japanese. This makes me a little nervous, since when I travel I at least try to know something in the native language. It's time to conjure up the little Nihongo I learned in 6th grade and put those hours on the plane to good use...

If you have suggestions on what to do/see, let me know. I'm not the type of traveler to run around and see all the famous sites (although some are sort of necessary), so if there are cool neighborhoods to walk around, historic areas, or things that tourists wouldn't typically see, I'm all for it! My internet situation will be sort of sporadic, but I'll try to do some updates.