Ohayo gozaimasu mina san!
I’m crafting this blog post as I’m on the airplane to Fukuoka from Tokyo! The past two days in Japan have been great! Upon reaching Japan, we were given a warm welcome and a briefing on Japanese culture, the JENESYS 2.0 program and some emergency procedures.
Some of you might wonder: why is time hair? While telling us about Japan on the bus, our coordinator was telling us about how the Japanese value time and punctuality a lot. He quoted Benjamin Franklin that time is money, but also he did not really quite agree. He said that money can be earned and lost, but it is not so for time. In that way, time was more like hair he said, as he pointed to his own head, which made the whole bus laugh.
Although we haven’t seen much amazing places or things, the Japanese people were pretty amazing to me. There seems to be this deep sense of quiet pride that they have, as the speaker emphasized once again the importance of punctuality in Japan, by raising the example that the average delay of the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) is one minute, and also mentioned how much hard work was put into making the system as efficient as possible. It is also common that Japanese use punctuality as a gauge of how much respect to give a fellow colleague or superior.
On top of the deep sense of pride, there was also a sense of trust and community between the Japanese I felt was amazing too. As our coordinator handed our SOS cards for our purses and passports, she mentioned casually “Japanese people are very nice and reliable, if they find your missing items, they will call us, as written on the SOS cards is our number. Not to worry!” These guys live by their own silent honor code everyday!! Also, during our briefing on emergency procedures, one point on what to do when we experience tremors was “After checking the safety of your own family members, check if your neighbors are well too”. It’s like amidst all the natural disasters that strike them so frequently, they have learnt to place their trust not on their surroundings, nor circumstances, but on the people and the community.
In this JENESYS program, I am in Group I, Fukuoka group with Kevin and Immanuella. The theme our group is Science and Technology. The aim of this program is to let people from ASEAN countries learn more and foster bonds with one another and also the Japanese, so as we can better integrate our economies and improve trade in the future between our countries. I have got the chance to meet many youths from the different ASEAN countries and learn and experience Japan together.
For our actual itinerary, I will let the photos do the talking!
Day One lunch upon arrival. Not much of sightseeing though. We had to rush off for the orientation so we were given a lunch pack. Although instant noodles are kind of unhealthy, they balanced it out with fresh fruits and a salad sandwich and some snacks. Everything has a sense of balance here somehow. People are healthy as we often see people cycling around and jogging during lunch hours. I really think it’s made possible because of the cooling weather here! Not a drop of sweat yeahhhhh. I want to import their weather pretty please!
Snacks in a convenience store. Presentation is key I guess, a lot of pretty colours and everything look super delicious. There are also fresh food made available at every convenience store here, like desserts, bento sets, salads, fresh sandwiches and onigiri. Quite a healthy selection.
Kevin and Imma! Took a walk out of the hotel and went to a roadside ramen shop! Our mini escapade late at night with the intention of exploring around and trying everything. It was a pretty cool experience when we actually talked to a few strangers at the shop itself while waiting for space in the shop! They recognized that we were Singaporeans from the way we speak, and said the they love Singapore! They took a few photos with us, and I guess the photos are floating around somewhere on instagram sphere now, hahaha do tell us if you see us around!
My third dinner?! Oh the spoons were specially designed with grooves so that it wont slip into the soup. Simple but smart design!
Small sections of parks being inserted into the commercial/city areas. Sacrificed lunch time to explore the business area, try to buy stuff from the convenience store and vending machines, went to have a look at the subway stations, sat on a swing with the other kids, looking at people in very formal business suits walk past.
Went to walk around (I’m forever walking around), during our break time before dinner. One thing that I noticed that I love about Japan is that people always make time and space for flowers. There is always a patch/burst of colour here, there, everywhere!
Statue in one of the mini parks in the vicinity of Omori Art Hotel!
We actually do switch hotel almost every day since our arrival. Sometimes we do get wifi and sometimes we dont. Blog again next time when I get wifi!
By Yeo Xin Min