From Sarah Spence:
We started our day by getting on a crowded train at the metro station near Kichijo. All the seats and handles were taken by stressed-out businessmen and women on their way to work. Amongst the crowd were six year olds, who looked like they knew the metro more then the adults themselves, traveling alone to school. The train was absolutely quiet despite the number of people.
We got off the train relieved not to be sharing such a small space with strangers and went to the second train line which would take us to Shibuya station. We gasped as the doors of the train slid open and revealed a train cart with twice the number of passengers as the first train we had taken. We squished in. The cart was so full that there was not enough space for us to move our arms, let alone sit down.
Our experience at the metro helped me understand the Japanese culture better. Being one of the most crowded cities in the world, organization and efficiency become essential to their everyday life.
After three train rides, each twice as packed as the last, we finally arrived at the Mori Digital Design Lab Museum. There are no words to describe the magnitude and creativity of each installment. The museum is composed of many large rooms all connected by dark hallways. Entering into each installment is like entering into a different universe. My favorite was a maze made of hanging string lights, all coded to replicate different scenes in nature by acting together to change patterns in their small light bulbs. Mirrors cover the maze walls which help to give the impression that the lights go on forever in every direction. When combined with music, it gives the impression that the observer is in a magical alternate universe. (Photos may be slow to load.)
From Marissa Chow:
We have been in Japan for about five full days now and it has been an amazing time. Somehow, I didn’t come to the realization that I would be in Japan, until we were on the plane! Being in Japan is surreal. These past few days I have really tried to step outside of my comfort zone, whether it is doing sports I haven’t done in years, or trying new foods. Soccer and volleyball are for sure not my best sports, I am very bad at both, but the girls at Kichijo Girls School are so nice and they laugh, smile, and encourage us all the time. Two days ago, we had a free period and some girls and I sat in a circle, and we took turns asking each other questions. At first, I was worried that it would be awkward and weird, but instead the room was full of laughter. The girls at Joshigikuin were also very nice and welcoming! It was very easy to create conversation with them! My host family is amazing. The mother is very good at cooking and my host sister is so nice. I have tried many new foods, such as octopus, mushrooms, and sashimi, and I have liked them all! The culture here is very different from America and I have so much to learn. Everywhere is quiet, steering wheels are on the right side, and even the swimming pool is different. Today we went to teamLab (Mori Digital Design Museum) and it was an incredible experience. The rooms were very pretty and intriguing, there was so much to do with so little time. Overall, I have really enjoyed my experience and I cannot wait for more memories.