Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back Home

I am almost over my jet lag after arriving home on Sunday around noon. I have lots more to comment on regarding this trip, but will let the pictures of our trip to the airport speak for me, for now.





In retrospect, we could not have asked for a better trip. We were gone from home a total of 8 days, but spent full day in the air. On Monday we had our sight seeing day, while working Tuesday - Saturday. We are looking forward to our Japanese friends visit in September 2009. I am still finding myself thinking of "good morning" and "thank you" in Japanese.

I should have some more pictures soon, as well as time to provide additional commentary.

I am off to our staff meeting. ;)

Aaron

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 4 from Tokyo

As I type this, it is 9:30 p.m. Tokyo time, 7:30 a.m. in Minnesota. This is the earliest I have been back to my hotel room since the first night we have been here. We only have two days left of conferences, so I am beginning to think sad thoughts about leaving.

Coming to Japan has been an amazing learning experience. I have so many thoughts running through my head that it is hard to prioritize.

The pictures in this blog are many because they include both my shots, along with Mary's.

1) Honestly, I feel completely guilty about many aspects of American cultures. Since we have been here, we have been treating insanely well. I am growing fond of many Japanese traditions. Every supper this week has been in our (Dee, Mary and I's) honor, with many different venues and guests. Our hosts have taken such good care of us. It is hard to think being treated this well in another country.

2) Education is a universal language. Both Japan and American people have a need to educate the youth of their countries to the best of their abilities. The Project Based Learning Workshop that has taken place this week is as about education as it is about advocating for the future of our societies. The world is shrinking and I commend our Japanese hosts for embracing this educational philosophy.

3) Japanese cuisine is much healthier. During every meal since arriving here, I have been completely satisfied. Portion sizes are much smaller here, than in America. When we go to to a coffee shop here, a large coffee is the same size as a small in America. Another thing regarding food/drink that I am growing fond of is that it is against norms to eat or drink in public. It is disrespectful to feed your face in venues other than a restaurant or home. Think about how much Americans eat in public. It definitely saves calories to only eat when you are at a meal/restaurant.

4) Believe it or not, Japan has more advertising than America. Even though I don't know many of the companies, Japan has advertising everywhere and it is hard to escape.

5) Public transportation is leaps and bounds above what we have in America. Granted, Tokyo is a city of 13,000,000 people, but their railway is especially impressive. We got to every destination we needed to go this week by train or short taxi ride. It makes me dream of life without a car payment and insurance.

6) Tokyo has proved to be very technologically advanced. I am able to check my email and make cheap calls to home while being 14 hours away. Cell phones here can pay for many things and I have seen many laptops that are smaller in size.

Here are many, 390 to be exact from Mary and I's camera the past few days:




I hope there aren't too many typos, because I wanted to get this posted before heading to bed. This has truly been a trip of a lifetime and I am hoping to bring both Cain and Broden here to experience Japanese culture.

Sayounara,

Aaron

Monday, August 18, 2008

In Tokyo - Check it out

The pictures will mostly likely do more justice than I can, so look at those first.

Today we road at least 6 trains and ran our tour guides (Soshi and Kazu) ragged. We had views from 3 skyscrapers today: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Plaza at 9:30 this morning, Tokyo Tower (similar to the Eiffel Tower) and had a 7 course supper on floor 50 of another building downtown.

The true purpose, besides learning a ton about Japanese culture begins tomorrow. We will be meeting with Elementary students to look at projects they have completed.

I have a feeling the week is going to fly by and I am going to sorely miss Tokyo. Let me just say, after seeing the plethora of skyscrapers and shear population density, Minneapolis is the sticks. :p






We are being treated like royalty. Our hosts have been ever so gracious. I am amazed by how selfless our hosts have been, to the point of guilt. Honestly, I could not dream up better treatment from hosts. When our Japanese friends come back, I have some work to do.

This has truly been a trip of a lifetime.

I will keep you posted with the upcoming EdVisions Institute and Symposium that begins tomorrow.