I am glad that I was able to make many memories on this trip to Himeji-Jo. Most of the time I do not like traveling in large groups, so I was worried. When traveling with groups, time is more limited. I think that I have very American thoughts when it comes to this. When traveling by oneself, you do not have to worry about other group member’s thoughts. Although I cannot take as many pictures with friends, I can study what I want to study, I do not have to worry about others interests, and I can go to the places that I want to go. I want to expand my knowledge of the subject area seriously, so in that case, solo travel is better for me. However, this was a great opportunity.
The first thing that surprised me while on this trip, was that we had to wear seatbelts on the bus. In America, most buses like that one, do not even have seatbelts. In America when riding in a car, one must wear seatbelts, but on most buses, it is not mandatory and even impossible to do so. I thought that this was an interesting difference, especially considering that at least in my host family’s car, they did not encourage or require passengers sitting in the back to wear seatbelts, but for a bus it is required.
建築の勉強が好きです が、端に興味がありませんでした。多分、他の人は楽しましたから、よかったです。でも私はちょっと好きじゃないと思いました。 今、ちょっとインタネットで垂教を調べています。前に、知っていましたら、多分、もっと興味がありました。だから、明石海峡大橋はちょっとつまらないでした。明石海峡のイルミネーションは多分面白いです。
I enjoy studying architecture a lot, but at the time, I did not have much interest in the bridge. Other students definitely enjoyed it, so I was glad. Just now, I started to look for information about the bridge, if I had done that before, I think I would be more interested. As a result, it was a little boring. However, it seems that the bridge’s illuminations would be very beautiful!
明石焼きは本当に美味しかったです。味はおオムレットようにです。その経験は素晴らしかったでっす。自分で作ったから、喜びました。でも、店員はちょっと怖いと思いました。私は2回たこ焼きを作ったから、今、プロです。でも、明石焼作り方は違うと言いました。店員は三回 教えてくれましたが、 まだたこ焼き作り方の方がいいです。
Akashiyaki was delicious! The flavor, and texture, reminded me of an omelet, except with octopus inside. I was very excited for the opportunity to learn to cook it ourselves. However, the women working were a little bit scary. I had made takoyaki twice before and due to my host family’s instructions I became quite good at making it. I thought akashiyaki was made in a similar manner, but apparently I was wrong. They kept telling me to make it differently, but I did not understand well, so I continued as I was doing before. However, it was still fun to make, and delicious!
Next, we went to Himeji castle. Himeji is a castle located on the Harima plain. The person who made this castle (utilized the surrounding area, such as the hills to build its defense. Due to this, the castle had both natural and man made defenses, rendering it nearly impenetrable for its enemies—even though this was never tested in battle. Due to the surrounding nature, it also appears like a bird, as its alternative name, Shirasagijo, suggests. I think it must look even more beautiful in the spring with the sakura blooming. When I go again, I am going to take the time to look at the other areas of the castle, rather than just the main structure.
Due to the impenetrable defense, mentioned previously, the castle has only been altered slightly in order to preserve its original state. 400 years ago the castle was built, but its condition is still good. This is due to the castle’s strength, and the vigilant efforts of the Japanese people to preserve it even today.
Although in Japan, it is rare to see such a pure form of a castle/fortress, in America it is impossible. Almost everything that was from the colonizing time, or before has disappeared. Even then, most of the remaining architecture is only 400 to 500 years old. In Japan, older architecture, or at least, older architecture styles, are preserved. America as a nation, is also a lot younger than Japan, so it is really cool to be here and able to actually feel where one’s ancestors came from—I think that could be one reason why many Japanese have such a strong national, and group oriented mentality.