Upon our arrival, our first impression of Tokyo was what a beautiful, very organized, busy but not overtly congested city it is. Japan's greatest metropolis is surprisingly clean even when there are very few garbage cans as people are encouraged to take garbage home or to their place of work. On our first night we relaxed and enjoyed dinner with a fantastic view of the spectacular Tokyo skyline.
We started our second morning in Tokyo with a sushi making class demonstration by a sushi chef who displayed his incredible knife skills on a whole fish! After watching the demonstration, we all emulated the demonstrated technique we had been shown using the samples of fresh fish provided. We all managed to avoid cutting ourselves and we successfully made our own sushi lunch! We are now all back safe and sound in Canada after a wonderful 10 days abroad. Thanks to Ms. Butterfield and Ms. Ameen for organizing a memorable adventure.
Our band of travelers navigated public transport and we made our way to the birthplace of Sumo Kehyayazawa, an old district outside of Osaka. We were warmly welcomed with Canadian flags and given insights by the elders in the Sumo community. We learned a little of the history of Sumo and its traditions.
The highlight of the day involved a demonstration of Sumo wrestling. Many students and Ms. Butterfield tried their luck and felt what it was like to try to push a human wall!! If we visit Japan again, we will need to bring some bigger students! It was truly an interactive and engaging immersion into the traditional Japanese sport. In the evening we returned to the bright lights and busy activities of downtown Osaka where we enjoyed a local specialty of cabbage pancakes topped with an assortment of seafood and beef, that was grilled at our tables.
Our excursion continued with a visit to the fifth station at Mount Fuji. Driving up to our destination the clouds broke and we captured a wonderful view of the snow tipped peak of Fuji which is known to be a very rare sight at this time of year. We visited the Fujisan Heritage Centre and then made our way to lunch. The non-vegetarians had beef additions to their menu and we then boarded the bus and set off for Tokyo.
Today we rode one of Japan's famous bullet trains to Mishima to enjoy the views from the Skywalk Bridge. Our sight seeing continued as we took the Komagatake Ropeway cable car to enjoy the vista from a height. It was an overcast day creating the effect that we were walking amongst the clouds due to our elevation. After enjoying the panorama we relaxed and delighted in our boat cruise on Lake Ashi which was almost fjord-like because of a crashing mountain.
After a very full day, we checked into our traditional Japanese hotel called a Ryokan. Located in Kakone and surrounded by mountains with stunning views, we enjoyed a feast of plenty the Japanese way, on the ground sans chairs and in our kimonos. After dinner, the therapeutic hot springs were savoured by many of the girls and provided a wonderful end to the evening and a marvelous day!
Our intrepid travellers on their second day in Japan took part in a traditional Taiko drumming class with a trained instructor and performers. Students started with a physical warm up, breathing exercises and then they took the drumsticks in hand and worked on developing a whole routine. All participants worked individually and then as a team moving from drum to drum. It was an energetic and exhilarating start to our day of immersion experiences.