I recently had the opportunity to visit Miyajima, an island less than an hour away from Hiroshima. It is known for its red tori gate standing free in the water. I came hoping to see the gate and find a little serenity on top of its modest mountain, Mount Misen.
Hiroshima needs little introduction. A busy port city before the war, the first city to succumb to an atomic bomb, and now a city with over a million residents. I spent only one day here, visiting museums and parks and eating Hiroshima’s famous dish, okonomiyaki.
Reading on the train in Ikebukuro station. Spaced out. Come to 40 minutes later.
Still in the station.
Obvious delays I know.
Read some more. 20 minutes later I get off the train still in the Ikebukuro station.
Take a different line.
Spaced out again.
Come to and am amazed by the sight through the window. When’s the last time I’ve seen somewhere not right under my nose?
Sometimes some of my students write statements like poetry. Here is a small selection from an essay on WWII and Vietnam.
The first picture is about
Publick Ocean War.
And I felt an effort
to keep the war
that still continued as when
it must be the human.
If we started war again,
we can’t play baseball,
and so on.
You made it to Kyoto! Woo-hoo! Now you have to get around. Luckily for you Kyoto is extraordinarily easy to navigate.
You can walk a good portion of the city, ride a bike, or take the bus, subway, or train. There are all sorts of deals for any combination of transportation, but I chose the bus.
Who doesn’t dream of visiting Kyoto while in Japan, especially during cherry blossom season? For me, this was my number one city to visit while living in Tokyo. I imagined this quaint city of wandering streets, of temples and geishas- a city known for its traditional elements. Tea ceremony and kimonos. Quiet reflection under the cherry trees. You know, a Japanese postcard.
Japanese students can be expressive when they want to be.
Unlike when I call on a student for an answer and they not only give me a stone faced expression, but give me the cold shoulder, when I return papers they somehow remember how to be an expressive human being again.