Semester at Sea - Japan Update
I'm working on a cruise ship for the next 3.5 months through a program called Semester at Sea. You can check out more about the program here. Essentially, students take college classes on a cruise ship while traveling the world! How awesome is that?! Here's a bit more information about my experience in Japan:
-I’m doing great! My first international port (Japan) was a really awesome experience (see below for highlights). I’ll be at sea for just a few short days and will reach Shanghai, China on 1/31.
-The food on the ship is alright, I’m getting by. The other day I made an amazing breakfast sandwich! Although I miss home cooked meals, breakfast smoothies, grilled chicken, and kale.
-I survived 12 days of being at sea, from Hawaii to Japan! It’s the longest stretch of at sea days we will have on the voyage!
-We’ve only had rough seas a few times. Ginger candies have been my saving grace!
-In my last update, I mentioned I’m the lead for Diversity & Inclusion organizations on the ship. Things have really picked up with that group! We did two programs for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. One involved academics: one of the faculty members who teaches a Civil Rights course totally revamped his class the night before to incorporate a discussion about MLK and opened it up to the entire shipboard community. There were at least 60 people there (which was close to 3 times the size of his normal class)..it was amazing! We then did a program with a panel of students that involved a dialogue about multiculturalism, MLK, and the Semester at Sea experiences. Students in the Diversity & Inclusion Org and I put this program together VERY last minute (the night before/day of!), although it came across flawlessly and there were a bunch of people on the ship talking about it. It was a very proud moment. I’m definitely putting a lot of time and energy into the Diversity & Inclusion org- there are so many stories, and experiences that need to be heard. I’m doing my best to provide a platform for students to be heard and affirmed.
Yokohama, Japan for 2 days:
-Did a “Zen Temple Experience with Monks” where I did meditation for 1.5 hours. I learned a lot, and was able to put things into practice right at the temple. After meditating I had some green tea and delicious desserts.
-15 of my friends & colleagues rented a private karaoke room. It was SO fun and really hilarious. I laughed so much my cheeks hurt afterwards. All the good jams were involved, including some TLC, Justin Bieber, and Adele.
-I adventured into Tokyo with one of my students! We navigated the train into the city, which was about 45 minutes away from our Yokohama port. It took us about 30 minutes to figure out how to buy a train ticket, but we made it! While in Tokyo we went to the famous Shibuya area, which has one of the busiest crosswalk/intersections I’ve ever seen! Someone told me there are 100,000+ people who walk across that intersection every day. It reminds me of the equivalent of NYC Times Square.
-While in Yokohama, I ate so much ramen! One of the places involved placing my order in a vending-machine type thing then picking it up from the restaurant counter. It was a very authentic Japanese restaurant. It was lunchtime on a Monday. There were bunch of men in suits, eating noodles and slurping the noodle juice (which is not rude to do at all, in fact it's totally normal to do). So my student and I sat there and slurped our noodles. It was so funny!!
Kobe, Japan for 2 days:
-I explore Kobe with my resident, Amy. We wandered around the city and got lost in the sea of stores and shopping malls. We also ate sushi from a “conveyor belt” sushi place – the kind where we can pick the plate of sushi we want as it’s traveling around the restaurant.
-My roommate, Jenni, and I had a DELICIOUS Kobe steak dinner. It was absolutely amazing!
Next Port: China!
I’ll be going to Shanghai and Hong Kong. In Shanghai I’m doing a city tour that includes an acrobat show and dinner. In Hong Kong, I’ll be on call for the first day, then doing a Hong Kong Island Tour. There will also be lots of exploring and adventuring in between!
In Osaka, Japan I went to the top of one of the world’s tallest buildings (I think it’s in the world’s top 20). Going up the elevator I could see tops of buildings through the glass – my fear of heights kicked in and I was PETRIFIED! Two people I was with held my hand in the elevator the whole way down. Thank goodness for support. Have you done something you were scared of recently? If so, what was it??!
Looking forward to hearing from you!